Genesis 46:4 MEANING

Genesis 46:4
(4) Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.--Both among the Jews and Greeks it was the duty of those nearest in blood to close the eyes of a deceased relative. The promise conveyed the assurance that Jacob would die peacefully, surrounded by his friends. For the fulfilment see Genesis 1:1.

Verse 4. - I will go down with thee into Egypt; - not a proof that the Hebrews believed in a local deity following them when they changed their abodes, and confined to the district in which they happened for tire time being to reside (Tuch, Bohlen), but simply a metaphorical expression for the efficiency and completeness of the Divine protection (Kalisch) - and I will also surely bring thee up again (literally, and I will bring thee up also, bringing thee up; a double emphasis lying in the use of the infinitive absolute, with גַּם preceding, as in Genesis 31:15, meaning that God would assuredly recover his body for interment in Canaan should he die in Egypt, and his descendants for settlement in the land of their inheritance): and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes - i.e. will perform for thee the last offices of affection by closing thine eyes in death, a service upon which the human heart in all ages and countries has set the highest value (vide Homer, ' I1 .' 11. 453; 'Odys.,' 24:294; Virg., 'AEn.,' 9:487; Ovid, ' Epist.,' 1:162). "A father at the point of death is always very desirous that his wife, children, and grandchildren should be with him. Should there be one at a distance, he will be immediately sent for, and until he arrive the father will mourn and complain, 'My son, will you not come? I cannot die without you.' When he arrives, he will take the hands of his son, and kiss them, and place them on his eyes, his face, and mouth, and say, ' Now I die.'" (Roberts' 'Oriental Illustrations,' p. 52).

46:1-4 Even as to those events and undertakings which appear most joyful, we should seek counsel, assistance, and a blessing from the Lord. Attending on his ordinances, and receiving the pledges of his covenant love, we expect his presence, and that peace which it confers. In all removals we should be reminded of our removal out of this world. Nothing can encourage us to fear no evil when passing through the valley of the shadow of death, but the presence of Christ.I will go down with thee into Egypt,.... Which was enough to silence all his fears; for if the presence of God went with him to protect and defend hide, to bless and prosper him, and to direct, support, and comfort, he had nothing to fear from any quarter:

and I will also surely bring thee up again: Jarchi takes this to be a promise that he should be buried in the land of Canaan, which had its fulfilment, when his corpse was carried out of Egypt to Machpelah, and there interred; but rather this refers to the bringing up of his posterity from thence in due time, for which Jacob might be most solicitous, and so the Targum of Jonathan,"and I will bring up thy children from thence:"

and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes: and so close them when he was dead; this, as Aben Ezra says, was a custom of the living to the dead, and it used to be done by the nearest relations and friends, though now with us commonly by strangers, or those that are not akin: this was a custom among the Greeks and Romans, as appears from Homer (o), Virgil (p), Ovid (q), and other writers (r); and so, among the Jews, Tobias is said to shut the eyes of his wife's father and mother, and to bury them honourably,"Where he became old with honour, and he buried his father and mother in law honourably, and he inherited their substance, and his father Tobit's.'' (Tobit 14:13)Of the Vulgate Latin version: Maimonides (s) reckons this of closing the eyes of the dead, among the rites used towards them, and so in the Talmud (t): now by this expression Jacob was assured that Joseph was alive, and that he should live to see him, and that Joseph would outlive him, and do this last office for him; and, as Ben Melech observes, by this he had the good news told him that Joseph should remain behind him, to sustain and support his sons, and his sons' sons, all the years that he should live after him.

(o) Odyss. 11. (p) Aeneid. l. 9. (q) Trist. l. 1. Eleg. 2.((r) Vid. Kirchman, de Funer. Rom. l. 1. c. 6. & Kipping. Rom. Antiqu. l. 4. c. 6. (s) Hilchot Ebel, l. 4. sect. 1.((t) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 151. 2.

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