Jacob’s Death (February 8, 2021)

Jacob ordered them, “I am soon to join my people. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave that’s in the field of Ephron the Hittite; in the cave that’s in the field of Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial property. That is where Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried, and where Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried, and where I buried Leah. It is the field and the cave in it that belonged to the Hittites.” After he finished giving orders to his sons, he put his feet up on the bed, took his last breath, and joined his people.

Jacob’s Death (February 8, 2021)

Genesis 48:1–50:21, CEB

After this happened, Joseph was told, “Your father is getting weaker,” so he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him. When Jacob was informed, “Your son Joseph is here now,” he pulled himself together and sat up in bed. Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me in Luz in the land of Canaan. He blessed me and said to me, ‘I am about to give you many children, to increase your numbers, and to make you a large group of peoples. I will give this land to your descendants following you as an enduring possession.’ Now, your two sons born to you in the land of Egypt before I arrived in Egypt are my own. Ephraim and Manasseh are just like Reuben and Simeon to me. Your family who is born to you after them are yours, but their inheritance will be determined under their brothers’ names. When I came back from Paddan-aram, Rachel died, to my sorrow, on the road in the land of Canaan, with some distance yet to go to Ephrathah, so I buried her there near the road to Ephrathah, which is Bethlehem.”

When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?”

Joseph told his father, “They’re my sons, whom God gave me here.”

Israel said, “Bring them to me and I will bless them.” Because Israel’s eyesight had failed from old age and he wasn’t able to see, Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed and embraced them.

Israel said to Joseph, “I didn’t expect I’d see your face, but now God has shown me your children too.” Then Joseph took them from Israel’s knees, and he bowed low with his face to the ground. Joseph took both of them, Ephraim in his right hand at Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand at Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. But Israel put out his right hand and placed it on the head of Ephraim, the younger one, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands because Manasseh was the oldest son. He blessed them and said,

“May the God before whom my fathers

Abraham and Isaac walked,

may the God who was my shepherd

from the beginning until this day,

may the divine messenger

who protected me from all harm,

bless the young men.

Through them may my name be kept alive

and the names of my fathers

Abraham and Isaac.

May they grow into a great multitude

throughout the land.”

When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he was upset and grasped his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to his father, “No, my father! This is the oldest son. Put your right hand on his head.”

But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He’ll become a people too, and he’ll also be great. But his younger brother will be greater than he will, and his descendants will become many nations.” Israel blessed them that day, saying,

“Through you, Israel will pronounce

blessings, saying,

‘May God make you

like Ephraim and Manasseh.’ ”

So Israel put Ephraim before Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph, “I’m about to die. God will be with you and return you to the land of your fathers. I’m giving you one portion more than to your brothers, a portion that I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”

Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Gather around so that I can tell you what will happen to you in the coming days.

Assemble yourselves and listen,

sons of Jacob;

listen to Israel your father.

Reuben, you are my oldest son,

my strength and my first contender,

superior in status and superior in might.

As wild as the waters, you won’t endure,

for you went up to your father’s bed,

you went up and violated my couch.

Simeon and Levi are brothers,

weapons of violence their stock in trade.

May I myself never enter their council.

May my honor never be linked

to their group;

for when they were angry,

they killed men,

and whenever they wished,

they maimed oxen.

Cursed be their anger; it is violent,

their rage; it is relentless.

I’ll divide them up within Jacob

and disperse them within Israel.

Judah, you are the one

your brothers will honor;

your hand will be

on the neck of your enemies;

your father’s sons will bow down to you.

Judah is a lion’s cub;

from the prey, my son, you rise up.

He lies down and crouches like a lion;

like a lioness—

who dares disturb him?

The scepter won’t depart from Judah,

nor the ruler’s staff

from among his banners.

Gifts will be brought to him;

people will obey him.

He ties his male donkey to the vine,

the colt of his female donkey

to the vine’s branches.

He washes his clothes in wine,

his garments in the blood of grapes.

His eyes are darker than wine,

and his teeth whiter than milk.

Zebulun will live at the seashore;

he’ll live at the harbor of ships,

his border will be at Sidon.

Issachar is a sturdy donkey,

bedding down

beside the village hearths.

He saw that a resting place was good

and that the land was pleasant.

He lowered his shoulder to haul loads

and joined the work gangs.

Dan will settle disputes for his people,

as one of Israel’s tribes.

Dan will be a snake on the road,

a serpent on the path,

biting a horse’s heels,

so its rider falls backward.

I long for your victory, Lord.

Gad will be attacked by attackers,

but he’ll attack their back.

Asher grows fine foods,

and he will supply the king’s delicacies.

Naphtali is a wild doe

that gives birth to beautiful fawns.

Joseph is a young bull,

a young bull by a spring,

who strides with oxen.

They attacked him fiercely

and fired arrows;

the archers attacked him furiously.

But his bow stayed strong,

and his forearms were nimble,

by the hands

of the strong one of Jacob,

by the name of the shepherd,

the rock of Israel,

by God, your father, who supports you,

by the Almighty who blesses you

with blessings from the skies above

and blessings

from the deep sea below,

blessings from breasts and womb.

The blessings of your father exceed

the blessings

of the eternal mountains,

the wealth of the everlasting hills.

May they all rest on Joseph’s head,

on the forehead of the one

set apart from his brothers.

Benjamin is a wolf who hunts:

in the morning he devours the prey;

in the evening he divides the plunder.”

These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them. He blessed them by giving each man his own particular blessing.

Jacob ordered them, “I am soon to join my people. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave that’s in the field of Ephron the Hittite; in the cave that’s in the field of Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial property. That is where Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried, and where Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried, and where I buried Leah. It is the field and the cave in it that belonged to the Hittites.” After he finished giving orders to his sons, he put his feet up on the bed, took his last breath, and joined his people.

Joseph fell across his father’s body, wept over him, and kissed him. Joseph then ordered the physicians in his service to embalm his father, and the physicians embalmed Israel. They mourned for him forty days because that is the period required for embalming. Then the Egyptians mourned him for seventy days. After the period of mourning had passed, Joseph spoke to Pharaoh’s household: “If you approve my request, give Pharaoh this message: My father made me promise, telling me, ‘I’m about to die. You must bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan.’ Now, let me leave and let me bury my father, and then I will return.”

Pharaoh replied, “Go, bury your father as you promised.”

So Joseph left to bury his father. All of Pharaoh’s servants went with him, together with the elder statesmen in his household and all of the elder statesmen in the land of Egypt, Joseph’s entire household, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only the children, flocks, and cattle remained in the land of Goshen. Even chariots and horsemen went with him; it was a huge collection of people. When they arrived at the threshing floor of Atad on the other side of the Jordan River, they observed a solemn, deeply sorrowful period of mourning. He grieved seven days for his father.

When the Canaanites who lived in the land saw the observance of grief on Atad’s threshing floor, they said, “This is a solemn observance of grief by the Egyptians.” Therefore, its name is Abel-mizraim. It is on the other side of the Jordan River. Israel’s sons did for him just as he had ordered. His sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre, which Abraham had purchased as burial property from Ephron the Hittite. Then Joseph returned to Egypt, he, his brothers, and everyone who left with him to bury his father.

When Joseph’s brothers realized that their father was now dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us, and wants to pay us back seriously for all of the terrible things we did to him?” So they approached Joseph and said, “Your father gave orders before he died, telling us, ‘This is what you should say to Joseph. “Please, forgive your brothers’ sins and misdeeds, for they did terrible things to you. Now, please forgive the sins of the servants of your father’s God.” ’ ” Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

His brothers wept too, fell down in front of him, and said, “We’re here as your slaves.”

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I God?” You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it, in order to save the lives of many people, just as he’s doing today. Now, don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.” So he put them at ease and spoke reassuringly to them.

Job 19:1–29, MEV

Then Job answered:

“How long will you torment my soul

and break me in pieces with words?

These ten times you have reproached me;

you are not ashamed that you have wronged me.

And if indeed I have erred,

my error remains with me.

If indeed you exalt yourselves against me

and plead against me with my disgrace,

know now that God has bent me

and has surrounded me with His net.

“Look, I cry out concerning wrong, but I am not heard;

I cry aloud, but there is no justice.

He has fenced up my way that I cannot pass,

and He has set darkness in my paths.

He has stripped me of my glory

and taken the crown from my head.

He has destroyed me on every side, and I am gone;

my hope He has uprooted like a tree.

He has also kindled His wrath against me,

and He counts me as one of His enemies.

His troops come together

and build up their road against me;

they set up camp all around my tent.

“He has removed my brothers far from me,

and my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.

My relatives have failed,

and my close friends have forgotten me.

Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants,

count me for a stranger;

I am a foreigner in their sight.

I called my servant, but he gave me no answer;

I begged him with my mouth.

My breath is offensive to my wife;

I am loathsome to the children of my own body.

Yes, young children despise me;

I arose, and they spoke against me.

All my close friends abhorred me,

and they whom I love are turned against me.

My bones cling to my skin and to my flesh,

and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

“Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O you my friends,

for the hand of God has struck me!

Why do you persecute me as God does,

and are not satisfied with my flesh?

“Oh, that my words were written!

Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!

That they were engraved with an iron pen

and lead in the rock forever!

For I know that my Redeemer lives,

and He will stand at last on the earth;

and after my skin is destroyed,

yet in my flesh I will see God,

whom I will see for myself,

and my eyes will behold, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me.

“If you should say, ‘How shall we persecute him?’

since the root of the matter is found in me,

be afraid of the sword for yourselves;

for wrath brings the punishments of the sword,

that you may know there is a judgment.”

Isaiah 26–27, NLT

In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song:

Our city is strong!

We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation.

Open the gates to all who are righteous;

allow the faithful to enter.

You will keep in perfect peace

all who trust in you,

all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Trust in the Lord always,

for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.

He humbles the proud

and brings down the arrogant city.

He brings it down to the dust.

The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot,

and the needy walk all over it.

But for those who are righteous,

the way is not steep and rough.

You are a God who does what is right,

and you smooth out the path ahead of them.

Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws;

our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.

In the night I search for you;

in the morning I earnestly seek you.

For only when you come to judge the earth

will people learn what is right.

Your kindness to the wicked

does not make them do good.

Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong

and take no notice of the Lord’s majesty.

O Lord, they pay no attention to your upraised fist.

Show them your eagerness to defend your people.

Then they will be ashamed.

Let your fire consume your enemies.

Lord, you will grant us peace;

all we have accomplished is really from you.

O Lord our God, others have ruled us,

but you alone are the one we worship.

Those we served before are dead and gone.

Their departed spirits will never return!

You attacked them and destroyed them,

and they are long forgotten.

O Lord, you have made our nation great;

yes, you have made us great.

You have extended our borders,

and we give you the glory!

Lord, in distress we searched for you.

We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline.

Just as a pregnant woman

writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth,

so were we in your presence, Lord.

We, too, writhe in agony,

but nothing comes of our suffering.

We have not given salvation to the earth,

nor brought life into the world.

But those who die in the Lord will live;

their bodies will rise again!

Those who sleep in the earth

will rise up and sing for joy!

For your life-giving light will fall like dew

on your people in the place of the dead!

Go home, my people,

and lock your doors!

Hide yourselves for a little while

until the Lord’s anger has passed.

Look! The Lord is coming from heaven

to punish the people of the earth for their sins.

The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed.

They will be brought out for all to see.

In that day the Lord will take his terrible, swift sword and punish Leviathan, the swiftly moving serpent, the coiling, writhing serpent. He will kill the dragon of the sea.

“In that day,

sing about the fruitful vineyard.

I, the Lord, will watch over it,

watering it carefully.

Day and night I will watch so no one can harm it.

My anger will be gone.

If I find briers and thorns growing,

I will attack them;

I will burn them up—

unless they turn to me for help.

Let them make peace with me;

yes, let them make peace with me.”

The time is coming when Jacob’s descendants will take root.

Israel will bud and blossom

and fill the whole earth with fruit!

Has the Lord struck Israel

as he struck her enemies?

Has he punished her

as he punished them?

No, but he exiled Israel to call her to account.

She was exiled from her land

as though blown away in a storm from the east.

The Lord did this to purge Israel’s wickedness,

to take away all her sin.

As a result, all the pagan altars will be crushed to dust.

No Asherah pole or pagan shrine will be left standing.

The fortified towns will be silent and empty,

the houses abandoned, the streets overgrown with weeds.

Calves will graze there,

chewing on twigs and branches.

The people are like the dead branches of a tree,

broken off and used for kindling beneath the cooking pots.

Israel is a foolish and stupid nation,

for its people have turned away from God.

Therefore, the one who made them

will show them no pity or mercy.

Yet the time will come when the Lord will gather them together like handpicked grain. One by one he will gather them—from the Euphrates River in the east to the Brook of Egypt in the west. In that day the great trumpet will sound. Many who were dying in exile in Assyria and Egypt will return to Jerusalem to worship the Lord on his holy mountain.

Matthew 13:24–43, The Bible for Everyone: A New Translation

He put another parable to them.

The kingdom of heaven’, he said, ‘is like this! Once upon a time a man sowed good seed in his field. While the workers were asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds in among the wheat, and went away. When the crop came up and produced corn, then the weeds appeared as well.

‘So the farmer’s servants came to him.

‘ “Master,” they said, “didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?”

‘ “This is the work of an enemy,” he replied.

‘ “So,” the servants said to him, “do you want us to go and pull them up?”

‘ “No,” he replied. “If you do that you’ll probably pull up the wheat as well, while you’re collecting the weeds. Let them both grow together until the harvest. Then, when it’s time for harvest, I will give the reapers this instruction: ‘First gather the weeds and tie them up in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’

He put another parable to them.

‘The kingdom of heaven’, he said, ‘is like a grain of mustard seed, which someone took and sowed in his field. It’s the smallest of all the seeds, but when it grows it turns into the biggest of the shrubs. It becomes a tree, and the birds in the sky can then come and nest in its branches.’

He told them another parable.

‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven,’ he said, ‘which a woman took and hid inside three measures of flour, until the whole thing was leavened.’

Jesus said all these things to the crowds in parables. He didn’t speak to them without a parable. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet:

I will open my mouth in parables,

I will tell the things that were hidden

since the very foundation of the world.

Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. His disciples came and joined him.

‘Explain to us’, they said, ‘the parable of the weeds in the field.’

‘The one who sows the good seed’, said Jesus, ‘is the son of man. The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels.

‘So: when the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, that’s what it will be like at the close of the age. The son of man will send out his angels, and they will collect together out of his kingdom everything that causes offence, and everyone who acts wickedly. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father. If you have ears, then hear!’

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