Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the people of Isra’el swear an oath when he said, “God will certainly remember you; and you are to carry my bones up with you, away from here.”-Exodus 13:19
We are told the Israelites took Joseph’s mummified body with them when they left Egypt.
This event while symbolizing a final goodbye to Egypt is also a poignant reminder of Israel’s past.
Let’s rewind the tape back to chapter 50 of Genesis when Joseph made his family promise to bring his corpse with them when they left Egypt.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”-Genesis 50:25
This oath that Joseph made his brothers swear to him reveals much about Joseph’s faithfulness and Godly character.
He fully trusted in God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
He fully believed that Israel’s stay in Egypt would only be as sojourners and NOT as permanent citizens.
He had 100% faith that God would return to rescue his brothers and he wanted to go with them.
And here in Exodus 13, we are told that is exactly what happened.
Now let’s turn this around to YOU the reader.
Do you fully trust in the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
Do you believe your stay in this world (as symbolized by “Egypt” in Scripture) is only temporary and you are not a permanent citizen here?
Do you have 100% faith that God is going to return to rescue His people and do you want to go with them?
Let us not forget that the historical events depicted in Scripture are not just for our information but also contain key spiritual truths we would do well to internalize.
Joseph’s bones also bring to remembrance another important God principle first established in Genesis.
Recall the following statement that God made to Abraham so long ago.
“I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
Recall that when Egypt blessed Joseph, God also blessed Egypt by using Joseph to rescue Egypt during the worldwide famine.
If it wasn’t for Joseph, Egypt would surely have perished for lack of food.
Paradoxically, this same historical incident also served to bring about Egyptian enmity towards Israel which led to them cursing and enslaving the Hebrews.
Because it was at this time that Joseph in cooperation with the Semitic Pharaoh who ruled Egypt at the time ended up taking all of the Egyptian people’s wealth and eventually their independence as payment for the stored grain they needed in order to survive.
This hatred that Egypt harbored towards Israel caused them to be cursed by God.
After the Exodus, Egypt would never again regain its former glory.
In closing, there are two great spiritual takeaways I get from Joseph’s bones being carried out of Egypt.
First, know that God keeps His promises.
Though it may seem a long time in coming (it took over 400 years in this case), in His perfect timing, the Lord will bring about His perfect will.
Second, to me this is a perfect reminder that our final resting place is NOT to be in Egypt or this world.
For those who trust in the Lord, He will surely come down, rescue us and bring us into the Promised Land.