Joseph, when he died - Τελευτων, When he was dying, gave commandment concerning his bones. On this subject I refer the reader to the notes on Genesis 50:25; (note). And I have this to add to the account I have given of the sarcophagus now in the British Museum, vulgarly called Alexander's coffin, that it is more probably the coffin of Joseph himself; and, should the time ever arrive in which the hieroglyphics on it shall he interpreted, this conjecture may appear to have had its foundation in truth.
By faith Joseph, when he died - When about to die; see Genesis 50:24-25.
Made mention of the departing of the children of Israel - Margin, “remembered.” The meaning is, that he called this to their mind; he spake of it. “And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die; and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” This prediction of Joseph could have rested only on faith in the promise of God. There were no events then occurring which would be likely to lead to this, and nothing which could be a basis of calculation that it would be so, except what God had spoken. The faith of Joseph, then, was simple confidence in God; and its strength was seen in his firm conviction that what had been promised would be fulfilled, even when there were no appearances that to human view justified it.
And gave commandment concerning his bones - Genesis 50:25. “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.” He had such a firm belief that they would possess the land of promise, that he exacted an oath of them that they would remove his remains with them, that he might be buried in the land of his fathers. He could not have exacted this oaths, nor could they have taken it, unless both he and they had a sure confidence that what God had spoken would be performed.
Joseph outlived his father fifty-four years. He lived to see “Ephraim's children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph's knees.” He witnessed the increase and prosperity of his people, and through all the years his faith in God's restoration of Israel to the Land of Promise was unshaken. PP 240.1
When he saw that his end was near, he summoned his kinsmen about him. Honored as he had been in the land of the Pharaohs, Egypt was to him but the place of his exile; his last act was to signify that his lot was cast with Israel. His last words were, “God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which He sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” And he took a solemn oath of the children of Israel that they would carry up his bones with them to the land of Canaan. “So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” And through the centuries of toil which followed, the coffin, a reminder of the dying words of Joseph, testified to Israel that they were only sojourners in Egypt, and bade them keep their hopes fixed upon the Land of Promise, for the time of deliverance would surely come. PP 240.2Read in context »
Instead of pursuing the direct route to Canaan, which lay through the country of the Philistines, the Lord directed their course southward, toward the shores of the Red Sea. “For God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt.” Had they attempted to pass through Philistia, their progress would have been opposed; for the Philistines, regarding them as slaves escaping from their masters, would not have hesitated to make war upon them. The Israelites were poorly prepared for an encounter with that powerful and warlike people. They had little knowledge of God and little faith in Him, and they would have become terrified and disheartened. They were unarmed and unaccustomed to war, their spirits were depressed by long bondage, and they were encumbered with women and children, flocks and herds. In leading them by the way of the Red Sea, the Lord revealed Himself as a God of compassion as well as of judgment. PP 282.1
“And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Says the psalmist, “He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.” Psalm 105:39. See also 1 Corinthians 10:1, 2. The standard of their invisible Leader was ever with them. By day the cloud directed their journeyings or spread as a canopy above the host. It served as a protection from the burning heat, and by its coolness and moisture afforded grateful refreshment in the parched, thirsty desert. By night it became a pillar of fire, illuminating their encampment and constantly assuring them of the divine presence. PP 282.2Read in context »