Yaakov had been in Egypt for 17 years and was 147 years old. Knowing that he would soon die, he asked Yosef to take an oath to bury him in Cana’an (Israel) in the Cave of the Machpela, where his forefathers are buried. Yosef promised. Yaakov became ill and Yosef visited him, together with sons Ephraim and Menashe. Yaakov told Yosef that these two grandsons will be like the other tribes and will receive their own portion of the Land.

Yaakov’s sight was failing. Yosef placed his younger son Ephraim to Yaakov’s left and his older son Menashe to Yaakov’s right. However, Yaakov crossed his arms, putting his right hand on Ephraim’s head and his left hand on Menashe’s head. He blessed them with his hands in this position. Yosef tried to switch Yaakov’s hands back but Yaakov resisted. He told Yosef that Menashe will be great, but Ephraim will be greater still. Yaakov told Yosef that God will eventually bring the people back to Cana’an.

Yaakov gathered together his sons to deliver a final message to them. Reuven was criticised for behaving impulsively; Shimon and Levi were criticised for aggression; Yehuda was given a leadership role; Zevulun would be successful as a sea merchant; Yissachar would bear the ‘yoke’ of Torah learning and Dan would be as great as Yehuda.

The tribe of Gad’s battalions would fight wars successfully. Asher would receive a fertile portion of land and prosper, as would Naftali. Yaakov praised Yosef for overcoming his many challenges.

Yaakov hinted that King Saul, Mordechai and Esther would descend from Binyamin. Yaakov reiterated his burial instructions to his children and then died. Yosef fell on his dead father in tears. Yosef instructed doctors to embalm Yaakov. This process took 40 days, followed by 30 days of the Egyptians mourning Yaakov’s death. Yosef asked for permission from Pharaoh to bury his father in Cana’an. Pharaoh granted permission and sent a large entourage to accompany Yosef and his relatives. The brothers observed seven days of mourning. Yosef reassured his anxious brothers that he is still at peace with them.

Yosef committed to providing food for his brothers and their families. He made them take an oath to take his bones out of Egypt when the nation eventually leaves. Yosef died, aged 110. He is embalmed and placed in a coffin.

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