In Genesis, Jacob (or Israel) asked Joseph to not bury him in Egypt.

Genesis 47:29

And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:

Was there a reason for that?

1 Answer 1


There are probably several reasons for Jacob's desire to buried, not in Egypt, but back in Cainan as expressed in Gen 47:2.:

  • Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, were all buried in the cave of Macphelah in Cainan near Mamre, Gen 23:17, 19, 25:9, 49:30-32.
  • Jacob wanted to identify with the land that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Gen 12:1-3, 13:14-17, 15:1-17, 17:1-27, 18:9-15, 22:15-18, 26:2-5, 28:13. Being buried in Egypt might lead his descendants to stay in Egypt. Thus, Jacob was buried with his ancestors, Gen 49:29-31 in the cave of Macphelah.
  • The same idea is expressed by Joseph in Gen 50:24, 25.
  • Jacob wanted his sons and the rest of the Israelites to remember that they were "strangers and pilgrims" in Egypt and thus were there only temporarily.
  • The ancient regularly went to some trouble to be buried "at home" and Jacob was signaling that Egypt was NOT his home, but that Cainan was his home.

Thus, it was important that Jacob be buried in Cainan.

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