What does Genesis 50:26 mean?
ESV: So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
NIV: So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
NASB: So Joseph died at the age of 110 years; and they embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.
CSB: Joseph died at the age of 110. They embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.
NLT: So Joseph died at the age of 110. The Egyptians embalmed him, and his body was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
KJV: So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
NKJV: So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
Verse Commentary:
Nearing death, Joseph, has urgently communicated two messages to the "sons of Israel." This probably means the heads of the tribes, since Joseph is well over a hundred years old (Genesis 50:22), and was the second-youngest of his brothers.. The older brothers, themselves, have most likely passed away by now. First, he reminds them their people are not meant to live in Egypt forever. God will visit them when the time is right and take them to Canaan to give it to them (Genesis 17:5–8). This is as God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 50:24). Second, Joseph made them swear to take his remains with them to Canaan to bury him there (Genesis 50:25).

Now Joseph dies at the age of 110. It is said to be a good, long life, though lifespans are rapidly shrinking across the book of Genesis. The very early patriarchs, up through Noah, lived for centuries (Genesis 9:29), but after the flood those lifespans regularly decrease. Abraham lived to be 175 (Genesis 25:7), Isaac 187 (Genesis 35:28), and Jacob 147 (Genesis 47:28). After Joseph's death, very few people will be said to live beyond 120. Long life—relative to those changes—will continue to be seen as evidence of God's blessing for right living (Deuteronomy 5:16).

Joseph and his father Jacob are the only two people in the Old Testament described as being embalmed. Egyptian embalming—often called "mummification"—was not always reserved for the highly honored and wealthy in Egyptian society. However, just as is the case today, wealth and status were associated with more extensive preparations. In part, this was due to Egyptian beliefs about transferring one's life through the physical body into the afterlife. Joseph, as second only to Pharaoh, would have easily qualified for the greatest possible care. Mummification was an extensive process that involved removal of the brain and internal organs, insertion of spices, and soaking of the body in special fluids before wrapping the corpse in linen bandages.

Instead of placing Joseph's corpse in an ornate tomb or temple, however, it was placed in a coffin. Apparently, this container was kept in the possession of the Israelites in Goshen for the next 400 years: until the time of Moses. When the exodus finally comes, Moses will take Joseph's remains with him for the journey to the Promised Land (Exodus 13:19).
Verse Context:
Genesis 50:22–26 finds Joseph at the very end of his life. He is 110 years old and has lived to see his great-great-grandchildren. Before he dies, he assures his family that God's promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob still hold true. God will visit them and bring them to Canaan. Joseph makes his family swear to carry his remains back to the Promised Land, one day. After Joseph dies, his body is embalmed and placed in a coffin.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 50 begins with Joseph's weeping over his father's body, followed by the embalming of Jacob, a 70–day period of state mourning, and a trip to Canaan to bury Jacob with his fathers. Joseph's brothers, worried that he would take his revenge on them for selling him into slavery, seek Joseph's forgiveness. He assures them he will not harm them. The chapter skips to the end of Joseph's life. After assuring his people that God will return them to Canaan one day, Joseph dies and is embalmed.
Chapter Context:
After settling in Egypt, under his son's protection (Genesis 47—49), Jacob dies (Genesis 49:33). He is embalmed and all of Egypt mourns. Joseph buries his father in the family tomb in Canaan, then returns to Egypt. He asks that his body be taken back to Canaan someday. This sets up the events of the book of Exodus. Over centuries, Israel will grow into a prosperous people, only to be enslaved by a jealous Egyptian monarchy. This provides a context for God to rescue Israel and demonstrate His power.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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