Joseph wept at his father’s side and kissed his pallid face. Then he brought in his physicians and ordered them to commence with the embalming process, which took forty days. The Egyptians in Joseph’s company mourned Israel for seventy days.
Joseph returned to the palace complex and addressed Pharaoh in the presence of his household.
“If I’ve found favor in your eyes, please grant me leave so that I may bury my father with his people in the land of Canaan. I’ll return after I’ve fulfilled my oath to my father.”
“Go and bury your father with my blessing,” Pharaoh answered.
Joseph enlisted all of Pharaoh’s servants and elders, and every elder in the land to go with him. This included every male member of Joseph’s household, his father’s family, and his brothers.
The women of Israel’s household stayed behind with the children to tend the flocks and herds in Goshen.
An army of chariots escorted the retinue of hundreds. They crossed the Jordan River and stopped at the threshing floor at Atad to conduct a solemn lamentation. This time of profound sadness lasted seven days.
The Canaanite passersby observed the mourning ceremony and named the place “Abel-mizraim,” Mourning of Egypt.
When they finished the ceremony, the caravan continued on to the field at Machpelah, to the cave that Abraham purchased as a burial site for his family.
The mourners returned to their homes, and all the land was quiet.
Joseph’s brothers began to wonder if he was secretly holding a grudge against them. Realizing they’d no longer have their father to protect them, they began to worry. Gathering themselves together, they went into the city to address Joseph.
“Our father gave us a message to deliver to you before he died,” Gad said. “He said, ‘Tell Joseph to forgive you for harming him.’”
Joseph’s eyes welled up with tears. Then his brothers began to weep. “We’re here at your service, lord,” Issachar said.
Joseph shook his head and stood. “It’s true that you tried to hurt me, but God intended for this to happen for good. He caused all these things to come to pass so that I could save the entire land from death. As long as I’m alive, I’ll continue to provide for you and protect you.”
Joseph continued his post as Pharaoh’s viceroy for the remainder of his life. Before he passed away, he bid his brothers farewell.
“I’m preparing to die, but God isn’t finished with you yet. He will bring you safely to the land he swore to our great-grandfather, our grandfather, and our father. When God comes for you, collect my bones and carry them with you to the land promised to us.”
After his death, Joseph was embalmed and placed in an Egyptian sarcophagus. He lived one hundred and ten years.