The Burial Of Jacob A New Correlation Between Genesis 50 And An Egyptian Inscription -- By: William H. Shea

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 05:2 (Spring 1992)
Article: The Burial Of Jacob A New Correlation Between Genesis 50 And An Egyptian Inscription
Author: William H. Shea


The Burial Of Jacob
A New Correlation Between Genesis 50 And An Egyptian Inscription

William H. Sheaa

Introduction

A pivotal event in Bible history is the death and burial of Jacob as described in Genesis 50:1–14. This marks the end of the Patriarchal age. The purpose of the present study is to suggest that there may be a record outside the Bible which bears on this event. We will first look at a general overview of the story and then concentrate on some important details in historical geography. With the Biblical data in mind, we will then examine an Egyptian text which seems to relate to the burial of Jacob in Canaan.

Jacob in Egypt

According to Genesis 47:9, Jacob was 130 years old when he appeared before Pharaoh at the time of his arrival in Egypt. Because of Joseph’s service to the crown, Jacob was given the prosperous and fertile land of Goshen in which to settle. This was located in the region of the eastern Delta of Egypt. We are told in Genesis 47:28 that Jacob lived in Egypt for another 17 years, dying at the age of 147.

Shortly before his death, Jacob became ill. Joseph, realizing that the end was near, took his sons Ephraim and Manasseh to his aged father in order to have him bless them (Gn 48). At that time, Jacob recounted to Joseph the family history, including the burial place of Joseph’s mother Rachel (vs 7; see Gn 35:16–20). After the blessing was pronounced on Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob willed to Joseph the plot of land which he had purchased in Shechem (vs 22; see Gn 33:18–20).

As the time of his death approached, Jacob gathered his sons about him to make his last will and testament and to pronounce a blessing upon his children (Gn 49). As a part of his charge to his sons he requested that they, and especially Joseph, bury him in the land of Canaan, in the Cave of Machpelah in the vicinity of Hebron, where his ancestors were buried (Gn 49:30–33). After he died, the appropriate ceremonies and procedures of embalming were carried out (Gn 50:1–3), and the sons of Jacob and their families mourned their loss (vs

4). But their task was not complete, for they had yet to comply with their fat...

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