He Dies at the End
Joseph threw himself onto his father’s body with a loud crunch as his decrepit bones shattered beneath him.
‘Well, if he weren’t dead, that would’ve killed him,’ remarked Zebulun.
2 Then Joseph asked his mortician to reconstruct Jacob’s body and embalm it. His mortician took one look and said, ‘The state that body’s in, you’ll need a taxidermist!’
3 It took them a full forty days to put Jacob together again, and even after that the sight of his corpse was so horrific that it took anyone who saw him took a few months to recover from the ordeal.
4 After a while, Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Look, your dad’s corpse is really freaking people out. Why don’t you take him and bury him somewhere?’
5 ‘It’s funny you should say that,’ replied Joseph. ‘I did promise Dad I’d bury him in the Cave of Machpelah.’
6 ‘Well, do it!’ insisted Pharaoh. ‘Do you want to do it quietly on your own, or would you like a massive parade of wailing mourners?’
7 So, Joseph returned to Canaan accompanied by his brothers, and all of Pharaoh’s slaves and dignitaries. 8 They left the kids at home in Goshen to look after the flocks. 9 They also had chariots and horsemen forming a long funerary procession.
10 As soon as they reached the threshing floor of Atad by the Jordan River, the hired mourners began to lament and weep loudly. The Canaanites who worked at Atad heard this and grumbled, ‘Ergh! There go the bloody Egyptians with one of their ostentatious funeral marches!’
‘There’s one every fucking week!’ commented another.
‘Why do they always wait until they’re passing us to start screeching?’ asked another.
11 ‘It’s no wonder they call this place Abel Mizraim (meaning ‘moaning Egyptians’)’ remarked yet another.
12 Soon, they reached the Cave of Machpelah in Mamre, 13 that place that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite fair and square. 14 Joseph and his brothers buried Jacob in the cave, and they set off back to Egypt.
15 Now, for some reason, up until this moment, Joseph’s brothers hadn’t realised that their father was dead even though they were all there when he kicked the bucket. They suddenly became panicked, and started to ask each other, ‘Now that Dad’s dead, is Joseph going to take revenge on us even though he’s treated us well for the past seventeen years we’ve lived here.’
16 So, the brothers sent someone over to Joseph, whose chariot was right beside theirs on its way back to Egypt, and told him to tell Joseph, 17 ‘Before he died, your father told your brothers to tell you not to hold the whole selling you into slavery thing against them.’
‘Why didn’t he tell me himself?’ quizzed Joseph. Then he called across to his brothers, ‘Why didn’t Dad tell me himself?’
The brothers looked at each other, and Reuben piped up, ‘He said he was going to after he read the poem, but he ended up dying before he had a chance.’
18 Joseph burst into tears. The brothers didn’t know whether this was a good sign or a bad sign.
19 A little while later, Joseph called across to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m not like God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.’
The brothers breathed a sigh of relief, and felt momentarily reassured.
20 Joseph continued, ‘Though you did plot against me and seek to do me harm. What kind of brother would I be if I, say, for example, had you brutally beaten and fed to the crocodiles? 21 So, don’t be afraid or anything.’
The brothers felt less reassured.
22 Joseph and his family remained in Egypt for the rest of their lives. He lived 110 years, and he was alive long enough to see his great-grandchildren. 23 Manasseh’s son Makir’s wife even gave birth right at Joseph’s knees!
24 When Joseph was close to death, he gathered his brothers around him and said, ‘I’m going to die soon.’
His brothers remembered this weird theatrical bit from when their father was old.
25 Joseph continued, ‘Please, do me a favour, and carry my corpse back to Canaan, back to the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’
26 His brothers swore that they’d return his body to Canaan, but instead, they had him embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.