Monday, February 09, 2009

Yosef’s Bones

Yosef’s Bones « The Noy G Show

In an interesting post, Noy G, a previous guest blogger at DovBear, asks some questions about this verse:
כִּי הַשְׁבֵּעַ הִשְׁבִּיעַ אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֵאמֹר, פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד אֱלֹהִים אֶתְכֶם, וְהַעֲלִיתֶם אֶת-עַצְמֹתַי מִזֶּה אִתְּכֶם.
for [Joseph] had sworn the children of Israel, saying: ‘God will surely remember you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you
1) Why did Joseph think to make this request of his descendants? At the time of his death, the Israelites were happily settled in Egypt. (a) An answer, not given by Noy G., is that Joseph and his brothers were willing actors in something like a pageant. Their great-grandfather Abraham had been told that his descendants were meant to serve as slaves in a foreign land for 400 years. one the trip south, their father Jacob has been told "I will go down with thee to Egypt, and I will also bring thee up" According to Torah-true tradition the brothers knew all, foresaw all, and were willing and eager participants in an Egyptian experience they considered necessary. (b) One might also ask why Joseph described his remains as "bones" when he knew the Egyptian practice was to create mummies. Perhaps he was still thinking in Hebrew terms, despite his Egyptian achievements.

2) Why weren't other corpses exhumed? Why is Joseph's body the only one taken?

3) Why did Moshe complete this assignment himself instead of delegating it to someone lower in the Hebrew hierarchy, someone like a leader from Ephraim or Menashe?

Read the whole post

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