Jacob/Israel’s final days are described at more length and more fully than those of any other biblical character except Jesus Christ. They tell a straightforward story of the end of a man’s life. What are we to make of this amount of both space and detail? What makes Jacob’s death stand out from those of his ancestors and descendants?
Jacob's 'blessings' on his twelve sons are actually prophecies about the future of their descendants, which raises a number of questions, such as the role our ancestors play in our own lives, the effect that we in our turn have on the lives of our descendants, and the providence of God that brings his plan to fruition.
In Genesis 48 we read the story of the second and third acts of Jacob as death nears: his bequest to Joseph of a double portion of his property through the adoption and blessing of his oldest sons, Manasseh and Ephraim - a story that raises questions about the meaning of family and stories, and our recognition of and response to change, as well as alluding to our adoption in Christ.
Dr. Fred Putnam prayerfully speaks on the last seven sayings of Christ on the Cross.
When Jacob asked Joseph, his favorite son, to bury him in Canaan rather than in Egypt, he was expressing his faith and confidence in the God whom he had followed all his life. In a culture that tends to marginalize the elderly and dying, and often denies our mortality, how ought Christians think about and prepare for the one event that we shall all face—our deaths?