“I beg you, let me go up and bury my father; I will return.’” Pharaoh responded, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.”-Genesis 50:5-6
After Jacob passed away, we are told that all of Egypt was ordered to go into mourning for him.
This was an honor normally only reserved for royalty.
So all seemed calm and peaceful in Egypt.
The great respect the Egyptian people had shown Joseph would also be transferred to his siblings and their families.
There didn’t seem to be any signs of trouble brewing nor any indication that one day Israel would be on the receiving end of Egypt’s wrath and turned into slaves.
Previously I showed how it was subtly communicated to us that Jacob being embalmed had nothing to do with Egyptian religious practices because we are given that tiny but key piece of information that Joseph had “physicians” perform the practice.
Likewise in verse 5, we are also given a hint that not all was well concerning Joseph’s relationship with Pharaoh.
It was a normal and respectful thing for Joseph to ask for Pharaoh’s permission to go and bury his father.
But notice how he had to reassure Pharaoh that after he buried his father he would indeed come back to Egypt.
Why was it necessary for Joseph to reassure Pharaoh that he would return?
I think it’s pretty obvious that Pharaoh was worried Joseph might NOT come back.
Pharaoh’s paranoia was also further demonstrated by the huge funeral procession he prepared for Joseph’s family containing high-ranking government officials and many Egyptian soldiers.
Certainly the pretense was that a strong military presence was needed to protect Joseph’s family during the long journey back to Canaan.
But make no bones about it, in addition to that role, the Egyptian military was also being used to ensure that Joseph returned back to Egypt.
Although Joseph was no longer needed to oversee the nation’s food supply since the famine had ended, he was Pharaoh’s right-hand man and considered a valued ally.
Also, don’t forget that this Pharaoh was NOT an Egyptian, he was a Semite like Joseph.
So no doubt this common genetic ancestry also served to intensify Pharaoh’s attachment to Joseph and his family.