Joseph in the Book of Beginnings

Genesis 50:25-26
“And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”

Genesis is a big book. There are strong reasons why this book has always been considered to be one book rather than two. One reason for creationists to be glad of this is that chapters 12 through 50 are clearly written in a historical narrative style. And chapters 1 through 11 are in the same style. So it is not consistent to consider chapters 12 through 50 to be history while interpreting the early chapters as poetry or allegory.

From chapter 12 onward, the narrative is about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God made an important covenant with Abraham, which He then renewed with Isaac and Jacob. So many commentators can see the point of these accounts in this book of beginnings. But what about Joseph? God did not restate His covenant for Joseph – though clearly it was still in force. Not only that, but God’s purposes in salvation were not even to be through Joseph’s descendants – that honor would go to Joseph’s brother Judah.

For me, it seems that the account about Joseph was about God using Abraham’s descendants within what would become a normal world setting. Joseph’s ancestors had lived much longer than he did. Joseph was 110 when he died – not an excessive age when compared to today. His age fits into the patriarchal curve that we can develop from Genesis 11 and shows how the truth of the creation account is vital to our understanding of the rest of biblical history.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that every account we read in Your wonderful Bible is true and is there for a reason. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Morris, H.M.M. (1976), The Genesis Record, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), p. 668. Image: Joseph recognizes his brothers, Musée Municipal Frédéric Blandin, Nevers, France, Public Domain.

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