Genesis 49:29-50:26

 |  April 9, 2018

Gen. 49:29-50:26

  1. Locate the passage

The book of Genesis closes with Egyptian funerals for two Hebrew Patriarchs. Both will be permanently buried outside of Egypt. This pericope closes the book and finishes with the family of Israel (Jacob) completely committed to an undisclosed time in Egypt. Both Jacob and Joseph die with the hope of Jacob’s descendants one day returning to Egypt. This passage completes the occupants of the burial site purchased by Abraham, as Jacob is finally laid to rest in Canaan. Joseph was embalmed in Egypt and his bones were eventually laid to rest in Canaan in the territory purchased by Jacob from the sons of Hamor (Gen. 33:19).

  1. Genre

The passage is narrative and records Joseph’s conversation with his servants and with Pharaoh regarding his father; with his brothers after his father’s death; and with his brothers as his death approaches

  1. Determine the structure of the passage

49:29-33 – Jacob reiterates his instructions to be buried in the cave of Machpelah

50:1-13 – Joseph arranges the burial of his father

50:14-21 – Joseph assures his brothers (and assuages their fears) of his continued provision for them after Jacob’s death

50:22-26 – Joseph prepares for his own death

  1. Exegete the passage

As we come to the end of the book of Genesis, we close the door on two long journeys and open the door to another. The chapter records the closing of the chapters for Jacob and Joseph, but reveals the beginning of a new chapter for the nation of Israel. It’s a story of faithful endings and hopeful beginnings. Above all, the chapter reveals the goodness of God to His people and anticipates the salvation of God for His people. He is the wisdom that plans, the hand that feeds, the hope that sustains, and the heart that redeems.

This mini-series focusing on the life of Joseph began with a brash young man who dreamed big dreams and matured to a faithful Patriarch who trusted in the God who would make them come true. It traces Joseph’s involuntarily journey to Egypt that prepared the way for the voluntary journey there of his family. It begins with betrayal and ends with reconciliation.

This pericope begins with Jacob reiterating his request to be buried outside of the land of Egypt and in the cave of Machpelah where his wife Leah, his father, his mother, his grandfather, and his grandmother were all buried.

The amount of space dedicated in the text to the life and ministry of Joseph exceeds that of most men in Scripture and speaks to his significance.

This pericope unfolds in an ABCAB chiastic structure:

A – Jacob gave instructions regarding his death

B – Jacob died and was buried

C – Joseph reassured his brothers of his continual care

A – Joseph gave instructions regarding his death

B – Joseph died and was embalmed

49:29-33 – Jacob charges his sons to bury him in the cave of Machpelah

50:1-13 – Joseph arranged the burial of his father


  1. Let the structure of the text drive the sermon

The book of Genesis ends with Israel enjoying the provision and relying on the protection of God. But, the two nations would not be able to coexist in the same land forever. There would come a time when the memory of Joseph would fade (Exod. 1:8) and Israel would no longer be welcome guests in Egypt.

The same God who led Israel to Egypt would fulfill His promise to bring them back. Why God allowed the circumstances which brought Israel to Egypt is reserved for Divine apprehension. Though appreciation of God’s salvation begins with the belief in God and the recognition of our need for His deliverance. In other words, before we can understand our need to be saved, we must first accept that we need a Savior.

Thus, the book of beginnings ends with a new beginning.

The death-bed testimonies of Jacob and Joseph serve as vivid examples for all believers that you can take God’s promises to the grave. When the time of our departure arrives, we will discover that God is still faithful. His promises are sure and His grace becomes even more tangible.

God intends for the believer’s journey of faith to be:

Exp. Sometimes God’s provision comes in unusual packages
Exp. God used a famine, a dream, a Hebrew slave, and an Egyptian king to provide for His people
Exp. Wherever God leads you on the journey of faith, He will be faithful to provide

They had bad intentions, but God had good designs

Exp. We see in the text what Joseph had come to understand

Ill. Rom. 8:28 – We know God is able to bring good out of every evil

Exp. Paul reminded us in this verse that “we know” this to be true!

App. God doesn’t cause evil, but His plan is not thwarted by it. He can use evil to accomplish good.

Exp. Joseph wanted his brothers to keep their eyes on (don’t lose sight of) home

Exp. We hear it in the confidence of Jacob and the see it in the faith of Joseph

Exp. There is a place that God has for us

App. That’s what Jesus promises to us!

Ill. John 14:1-3 – I go to prepare a place for you

Exp. This world is not our home – just as Egypt was not Israel’s home

Exp. Egypt was where they lived, but Canaan was their home

App. Believers are called to be faithful to the Lord until He brings us home!

Exp. God will fulfill His word … Carry up my bones from here …

Exp. Joseph lived in Egypt, but his heart was in Israel!

He assured his brothers, “God has a place for us”

App. It is an ultimate picture of the hope believers have in life and in death

Exp. While the text reveals the hope of Jacob and Joseph at their deaths, it is silent on the hope of the brothers. The Bible records their obedience to Joseph’s wishes (Josh. 24:32), but leaves it up to the reader to speculate on the nature of their faith.

Exp. It is a reminder that I cannot give someone hope, I can only offer it to them …

App. Thus, while salvation is available to all, only those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.


  1. This passage models for us how to forgive the hurt that others may have caused us and trust that God can use the evil done to us to accomplish the good He has for us.
  2. This passage teaches us how to finish the journey in faith. Death is not the end. Believers have hope in God’s promise. We are reminded that there is a place God is preparing for us. He will surely visit us and bring us home!
    • How can my life, or even my death, point my family to the Lord?


Category: Sermon Structure
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