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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



GENESIS 50

 

CHAPTER L.

 

Ver. 1.  Kissing him, as it was then the custom, in testimony of an ardent affection.  M.

 

Ver. 2.  Physicians, whose business it was to embalm dead bodies, with a composition of myrrh, &c. in order to keep them from putrefaction, (M.) as the Egyptian mummies are treated.  H. --- The entrails are taken out, &c. by the embalmer during 30 days, and the body is left in salt and various drugs, for other 40, in all 70 days, as Herodotus informs us, (B. xi. 86,) and as Moses here insinuates, v. 3.  This was an honour peculiar to the kings.  Before any person was buried, his praises were rehearsed; and it was lawful on this occasion to declare, what evil even the kings themselves had done; which sometimes caused them to be deprived of funeral honours.  We have several funeral canticles preserved in Scripture, 2 K. i. 18. iii. 33.  2 Par. xxxv. 25.  C. --- The Lamentations of Jeremias were perhaps of this nature, on the death of K. Josias.  The usual time for mourning among the Jews, was 30 days for people of eminence, (Num. xx.  Deut. xxxiv. 8.  Procopius) and seven for the rest.  Eccli. xxii. 13.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Expired.  Before the corpse was interred, Joseph could not lay aside his mourning attire, in which it was not lawful to appear at court.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Digged, in the sepulchre which Abraham had purchased.  This circumstance, and the exact words here used by Joseph, are not mentioned elsewhere.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Ancients; chief officers.  C. --- This is a name of dignity; like our aldermen.  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Atad, which was so called, from being encompassed with thorns.  C. --- Beyond; with relation to Moses, (H.) or on the west side of the Jordan.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Mourning: Heb. "Ebel Mitsraim beyond the Jordan."  On this occasion they fasted till the evening: perhaps they also cut their flesh and plucked their hair, according to the manners of the Egyptians, which customs (Lev. xix. 28.  Deut. xiv. 1.) were prohibited to the Jews. T.

 

Ver. 16.  A message; perhaps by Benjamin.  M. --- They hope thus to obtain pardon for the sake of their deceased father, and for the sake of their common God.

 

Ver. 17.  Wept, that they should entertain no doubts respecting the reconciliation, which had taken place seventeen years before. H.

 

Ver. 19.  Resist, &c.  Heb. "Am I not subject to God; or, Am I a God," to oppose his will.  Sept. "I belong to the Lord."  You see that your designs against me have turned to our mutual advantage.  Can I, therefore, think of punishing you?  Repent, and obtain pardon of God: I certainly forgive you.  H. --- Thus God drew good out of the evil, in which he had no share. --- S. Aug. de C. D. xiv. 27.  S. Chrys. hom. 67.

 

Ver. 22.  And ten; consequently he had been governor of all the land eighty years; God having made him abundant recompense, even in this world, for a transient disgrace!  H. --- Knees.  Joseph adopted the only son of Machir.  See C. xxx. 3.; or, according to the Samaritan, "in the days of Joseph" he was born.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Visit you with various persecutions; or will fulfil his promises. --- Carry my bones.  He would have them to keep his bones till the time of their departure, as an earnest that they should certainly obtain the land of Chanaan; and thus his bones were visited, and after death, they prophesied.  Eccli. xlix. 18.  Perhaps the Egyptians would have been offended, (W.) if the corpse of Joseph had been removed out of the country immediately, as that of Jacob was; and they might have taken occasion hence to envy and persecute his brethren.  H.

 

Ver. 25.  Embalmed, like the Egyptian momies, or mummies, which is a Persian word, signifying a dried corpse.  Some of them are very magnificent, adorned with golden letters and hieroglyphics, various bandages, &c.  They are laid in coffins. Some pretend that Joseph was afterwards adored in Egypt, under the names of Serapis and Osiris: but the grounds of this supposition are only a few uncertain etymologies and emblems, which might agree with him as well as with those modern deities: (C.) at least it does not at all appear probable, that he was adored in Egypt before the departure of the Israelites, as the king who persecuted them did not know Joseph.  Ex. i. 8.  His greatest glory was, to have prefigured Jesus Christ in so wonderful a manner during the course of his life, and to have been replenished with all the graces which could form the character of a great man and a saint.  Some think, that the history of Joseph has been imitated in the fable of Proteus, or Cetes, king of Egypt.  See the True Hist. of Fabulous Times, by Juerin du Roche, a virtuous and learned ecclesiastic, who ws put to death for his faith, at Paris, Sept. 8, 1792.  See also Rollin's Abridgment.  H.

 

 








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