Daily Word

Don’t bury me here | Genesis 47:27-31

27 Now Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in Goshen, and they acquired property in it and were fruitful and became very numerous. 28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years; so the length of Jacob’s life was 147 years.

29 When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place your hand under my thigh now and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness: please do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” And he said, “I will do as you have said.” 31 And he said, “Swear to me.” So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed.

Genesis 47:27-31 (NASB)

Israelites get land

As we discussed yesterday, all the Egyptians willingly gave their property and themselves to Pharaoh so they could live. All except the priests – and the Israelites, as we see today. 

Jacob lasted 17 more years in Egypt and made it to 147. He was one of the last Bible characters to live to almost 150. This picture shows the rapid decline in lifespan after the flood down to Abraham who lived 175 years. Later, Moses and Aaron lived to 120 and 123 (respectively).

Bible – declining age at death. Image from answersingenesis.org *

Don’t bury me here

As Israel’s (Jacob) time draws near, he calls Joseph to his bedside to make a promise. It’s a somewhat strange request that will cause not a little trouble for Joseph. He asks him to promise to not bury him in Egypt, but carry his body back to Canaan, the promised land, to bury him with his fathers.

I wondered why he made this request. Why does he care where his body is after he’s dead? My sense is that God put this thought and desire in him. This is the promised land. In Genesis 46:4 God promised Jacob that He would be with him as he went to Egypt and would bring him (his family) back.

Swearing & Bowing

He has Joseph swear to him to do this. This is a very personal promise when they “place your hand under my thigh”. It happened one other time, in Genesis 24:2, when Abraham asked his servant to go get a wife for Isaac from his own people and to by no means allow him to marry a local gal. The servant swore he would do that. 

Did Jacob bow in worship of Joseph his son? No. Rather, “Jacob evidently “bowed in worship at the head of the bed” in prayer and thanksgiving to Yahweh for granting his wish to be buried in Canaan.” (planobiblechapel.org) Again, this reveals the faith of Jacob, first demonstrated in his grandfather Abraham.


  • Israel, in his final years, as he sees God’s faithfulness to Joseph (and to him), confirms his faith in the Lord with worship. We have the opportunity now. Let’s take it!
Bury cyclist in snow. Image from Pxfuel.com

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