Old Testament Survey - Lesson 6

Covenant with Abraham

Explore the stories within the life of Abraham. The lesson details Abraham's interactions with God, including significant events like the call to leave his homeland, the covenant of circumcision, the transformation of Abram to Abraham, the negotiation over Sodom, and the eventual non-sacrifice of Isaac, which underscores the depth of Abraham's faith and the depth of his relationship with God. 

Daniel Block
Old Testament Survey
Lesson 6
Watching Now
Covenant with Abraham

I. Introduction to the Covenant

A. Overview of covenant in the Hebrew Bible

B. Focus on the covenant with Abraham

C. Biblical text coverage from Genesis 11, 27 to 50, 26

II. Abraham's Covenant Journey

A. Early life and promises to Abraham

1. Abram to Abraham transformation

2. Involvement of Sarah in the narrative

B. Key events and themes in Abraham’s journey

1. Separation from family members

2. Covenant and interactions with God and others

3. Rescue and protection episodes

4. Promises of offspring and their implications

III. Highlights of Abraham's Story

A. Major textual highlights and their theological implications

1. Call of Abraham and his response

2. God’s covenant with Abraham and symbolic acts

3. Covenant of circumcision

4. Test of Abraham’s faith

IV. The Test of Abraham's Faith

A. Detailed analysis of the test

1. Nature of the test and its significance

2. Abraham's response and journey

3. Dramatic climax and divine intervention

4. Lessons learned from the test

V. Continuation of the Covenant Legacy

A. Securing Abraham's legacy through his descendants

1. Acquiring burial land and ensuring lineage continuity

2. Challenges and confirmations of the promise to Isaac

3. Role of Jacob in the covenant narrative

VI. The Jacob Document

A. Exploration of Jacob's role in the covenant promise

1. Detailed breakdown of Jacob's covenant journey

2. Impact and implications of Jacob's actions and experiences

B. Transition from Jacob to Joseph

1. Introduction to the Joseph narrative

2. Significance of Joseph’s story in the covenant context

  • Learning about the First Testament's language, geographical, and cultural contexts, and how these factors contribute to its frequent misinterpretation and underappreciation in modern times.
  • Gain insights into the literary and cosmic foundations of grace and glory in the Torah, understanding its role as more than law.
  • Learn that to be made in God's image entails embodying divine qualities and functioning as His representative on Earth, which extends a universal dignity upon all humans and shapes a theological ethic that influences how you treat others.
  • Genesis 1-3 frames human response to divine creation, emphasizing human dignity, work's moral role, free will's consequences, and the persistent grace amid sin.
  • This lesson reviews the Israelite covenant, understanding its stages, implications, and its role in God's redemptive plan.
  • Gain insights into Abraham's covenant with God, exploring his faith and God's promises.
  • Learn how the Exodus from Egypt marked Israel's transformation from a family to a nation under Yahweh.
  • Understand how the covenant at Sinai transforms Israel from slaves into a treasured nation destined for a divine mission, fulfilling God's ancient promises.
  • This lesson covers the covenantal expectations at Sinai. The covenantal agreement provided a constitutional and ethical framework for societal living, focusing on community rights and responsibilities.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into how the tabernacle was both a physical manifestation of God's presence and a profound symbol of His grace, emphasizing the holiness and detailed guidance He provided to the Israelites for worship and daily life.
  • Gain insights into Deuteronomy, recognizing its focus on teaching rather than legislation, and understanding Moses' role as an instructor of Yahweh's will.
  • In this lesson, you explore how to interpret the First Testament's historiographic writings, emphasizing the divine inspiration and literary artistry that guide the selective storytelling and theological themes.
  • Learn how the books of Joshua and Judges illustrate the fulfillment and failure of Israel's covenant with Yahweh, highlighting divine promise, cultural assimilation, and the cyclical nature of faith and apostasy.
  • The Book of Ruth, highlights divine providence, social justice, and personal righteousness while exploring the role of Boaz as a pivotal figure in maintaining the lineage of King David.
  • Samuel had a significant yet complex role in Israel's history; judge, priest, prophet, and crucial figure in establishing monarchy.
  • Learn of David's central role in the Bible, understanding his unique portrayal and the extensive attention he receives compared to other figures.
  • Learn about the Davidic covenant's role in shaping biblical history and theology, emphasizing its eternal impact on Israel and beyond.
  • The books of Kings and Chronicles use historical events to underline theological themes, highlighting the role of scribes in documenting Israel’s history.
  • In this lesson on 1 and 2 Kings, review the downfall of Israel through kings' forgetfulness of God's covenants.
  • Learn about Solomon's temple's historical and theological significance, its divine design and purpose, and its role in Israelite worship and communal life.
  • Gain insights into the transformation and resilience of the Judean people during their exile in Babylon from 586-539 BC, exploring their struggles and adaptations in a new socio-political and religious context.
  • Learn about Daniel's exemplary life in Babylon, his integrity, and his prophetic visions, which highlight divine sovereignty and the vindication of the faithful amidst calamities.
  • Review the Persian period's impact on the Jewish diaspora, analyze the Book of Esther's literary and theological significance, and reflect on divine providence and cultural identity.
  • Explore the crucial roles of Ezra and Nehemiah in reconstructing the Jewish community and faith post-exile, understanding their historical significance, source materials, and theological insights.
  • Gain insight into the roles and significance of prophets in ancient Israel, learning about their historical context, and their critical function in guiding and correcting the nation through direct communication from Yahweh.
  • Learn about the lives and ministries of prophets Amos and Hosea, their calls for justice and return to divine covenant amidst Israel's political and spiritual turmoil, through prophetic books that blend personal biography with national prophecy.
  • This lesson reviews Jonah's struggle with divine grace and Micah's advocacy for justice and the messianic hope.
  • In this lesson, you learn how Isaiah's vision portrays the Messiah as king, servant, and conqueror, emphasizing his divine roles and global mission.
  • Learn of the political and social contexts of Jeremiah and Ezekiel's exile, including Babylon's rise, Jerusalem's fall, and the crisis of faith portrayed in Lamentations, emphasizing hope amid despair through God's faithfulness.
  • Learn about Jeremiah's life and prophetic ministry, navigating challenges with kings, themes in the Book of Jeremiah, and profound passages on true religion and a future covenant, offering lessons on prophetic burdens, God's faithfulness, and spiritual transformation.
  • Explore Ezekiel's life as a priest in exile, his bizarre actions, and profound messages revealing Yahweh's passion and eternal promises of judgment and restoration.
  • Learn about Nahum and Joel's prophecies on judgment, hope, and Yahweh's character. Explore the day of the Lord and the expansion of the covenant community.
  • Explore Obadiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah's prophecies. Discover themes of judgment, faith, and restoration in God's plan.
  • Gain insight into Haggai's role in motivating temple rebuilding during the Persian rule. His brief yet impactful ministry fosters hope and action amid community disillusionment, recoginizing God's presence and reign.
  • Gain deep insight into Hebrew poetry: its forms, parallelism, acrostics, and emotional depth. Explore its celebration and lamentation of Yahweh's glory.
  • Gain insight into Psalms which reflect diverse emotions and experiences. Structured into five divisions, attributed to various authors, their interpretation involves understanding Torah context, literary devices, and applying timeless principles to life.
  • Explore biblical wisdom's depth: from practical skill to moral insight, rooted in the fear of Yahweh. It contrasts with secular knowledge, emphasizing God's order and universal application.
  • Engage with Proverbs to unravel its diverse wisdom, from aphorisms to discourses. Understand its practical guidance for righteous living and leadership.
  • Discover the Song of Songs, a rich exploration of love's nature. From its allegorical interpretations to its celebration of covenantal love, it examines human relationships with wisdom and depth.
  • The book of Job offers insights into faith and suffering, exploring theological themes and character dynamics. It emphasizes trust in God amid life's most difficult trials.
  • Uncover Ecclesiastes' profound journey from despair to hope. Koheleth's existential ponderings contrast with the narrator's faith, urging a shift from worldly pursuits to finding fulfillment in God's sovereignty.

This Old Testament Survey course offers a deep exploration of the Old Testament's literary structure, divine covenants, and historical context. Lessons cover the Pentateuch, emphasizing its narrative over legalistic interpretations, and extend through key biblical figures like Abraham and Moses. Topics such as the covenant at Sinai, the concept of imago Dei, and the tabernacle rituals highlight the continuity of God's grace and the ethical implications of divine laws. The course critically addresses common misconceptions, the role of the Torah as instruction, and the portrayal of God’s plan, underscoring the relevance and complexity of these ancient texts.

Dr. Daniel Block 
Old Testament Survey
Covenant with Abraham
Lesson Transcript


In the last session, we were introduced generally to the notion of covenant in the Hebrew Bible, in the First Testament, and generally also to the covenant that God made, first of all, with Abraham and the ancestors of Israel. Let's devote a little bit more attention to this one, and this will take us from Genesis 11, 27 to 50, verse 26. This section is divided into several parts.

It begins, of course, with Abraham, the father of the promises, or we should say the father of the promises, the covenant benefactions, the blessings that God gives. We'll outline Abraham's life briefly. First, first of all, we recognize the Abraham, no, the Abram, Avram to Avraham cycle.

Jonathan Grossman has recognized this very well in Genesis 11, 27 to 22, 24. We have the first big part of Abraham, the transformation of this man, and we should add, and of his wife, Sarah, whose name was also changed, and I refer people here to Jonathan Grossman's cycle structure in the book, Abram to Abraham, the literary analysis of the Abraham narrative. This is a fascinating study that he has done for us, and the whole thing from 12, 11, 27 to 12, 22, 19, the whole thing is a massive, complicated, complex chiasm in which the line of Terah at Abraham, Nahor, and Haran at the beginning is answered at the end with the line of Abraham and his sons.

B, Abraham's separation from his father is matched by Abraham's separation from his son in 22, 19. C, Abraham's journey through the invoking of the name of God, 12, 6 to 9, is matched by the covenant of Abraham and Abimelech. Abraham invokes the name of God in Genesis 21.

D, Abraham's separation from family members, Pharaoh took Sarah but returned her to Abraham, and Lot departed from Sodom. This is Genesis 13. That matches Abraham's separation from family members.

Abimelech took Sarah and returned her to Abraham, and Abraham expelled Ishmael to the desert of Paran. He did not return. This is chapter 21.

E, Abraham rescued Lot from captivity, chapter 14. This is matched by the angels rescue Lot from Sodom's destruction, responding to Abraham's intercession, 19, chapter 19. F, the promise of offspring in 15, Abraham had complained, what can you give me? And the word righteousness is used in that context of his belief in God.

This is answered in chapter 18, verses 16 to 3, debate over the destruction of the land. Abraham complained, far be it from you to do such a thing, and the word righteousness is used in the context of God's decision to reveal his plan. And then G, the angels' tidings to Hagar regarding the birth of Ishmael, 16, 1 to 16.

That is answered by the angels' tidings to Hagar regarding the birth of Isaac, 18, 1 to 15. And then right in the middle, the covenant of circumcision, Abraham's and Sarah's names were changed, hence the name of his book, From Avram to Avraham. Right in the middle, chapter 17, the changing of the names when Abraham accepts the covenant by being circumcised.

Well, this is an amazing story, this story of Abraham. But there are four key texts that we could spend a lot of time on. These, in my mind, are the highlights.

First, the call of Abraham and his response. God, in chapter 12, verses 1 to 9, out of the blue, Abraham hears the Lord saying to him, get up and go, leave your house, your family, and your homeland, and go to the land that I will show you, and I will make you a blessing to all the peoples. And Abraham responds with remarkable faith.

That's the first highlight. The second highlight, the Lord's making, Karath, his covenant with Abraham. We talked about this in the previous session.

Abraham cuts up that animal, and Abraham sees the torch of God passing between the two parts as a symbolic gesture by which God binds himself to Abraham. The fourth, the third highlight, is Abraham signing on to that covenant, chapter 17, verses 1 to 27. This is where circumcision is instituted.

God had bound himself in chapter 15. Now God is asking Abraham, it's time for you to sign on, and he gives him the circumcision as the means of signing on to the covenant. This is chapter 17.

And then we come to the climax of Abraham's life, the test of his faith in Yahweh's covenant promise. This is in Genesis chapter 22, and I would like to have spent a few minutes on this text. This is the test of Abraham's faith in Yahweh's covenant promise.

Notice how it divides into five parts. The nature of the test, 21, 1 to 2. The Lord tested Abraham, saying, take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and offer him as an offering. And we have to ask ourselves, what is he being tested about? We'll bring that up in a moment.

That's part one. Part two, Abraham's response to the test, the journey of Abraham, and then the dilemma of Abraham. The journey takes us verses 3 to 4. Now it's one thing to respond to God's command immediately and impulsively, and get up and go.

And so the next morning after Abraham had heard the Lord say, take your son, your only son, and go offer him as a whole burnt offering, Abraham got up early in the morning, and he saddled his donkey. But God put him on a journey three days. It took him three days to get from Beersheba to Jerusalem, Mount Moriah.

Abraham had three days to change his mind. I mean, this is a horrible test. There is no right answer here, and he could have changed his mind.

Three days later, he gets to the mountain, and then he tells his servants at the bottom of Mount Moriah, he says, you stay here. We're going up to worship. It's the first occurrence of that word in the Bible, and it means to demonstrate homage and submission to somebody greater than yourself, specifically by acts of prostration before that person.

This is what Abraham says he's doing. But interestingly, he says, we'll come back. Then you have Abraham's incredible act.

The narrator slows the pace of this drama right down in detail. He forces us readers to agonize with Abraham as he has Isaac say, look, Dad, here is the fire and the wood, but where's the offering? And Abraham says, you're it, buddy. Well, actually, he doesn't say that.

Abraham is silent. He simply builds the altar, lays the wood on it, puts Isaac, and he's about to stab him, and the angel grabs his hand and said, stop, stop. The Lord's response to Abraham in verses 11 to 18 is amazing.

You have his evaluation, 11 to 12, now I know, his resolution, 13 to 14, his reward, 15 to 18, and then the epilogue to the test, verse 19. Why is this account so important? I learned several lessons here. First, while God's demand of Abraham looks like a grotesque and cruel affirmation of child sacrifice, in the end, such an act is actually repudiated.

God doesn't let him do it. Two, God demands unqualified and unreserved obedience from those whom he chooses to grant the privilege of being bearers, agents of his message of grace and glory to a world under the curse. God often deliberately pushes his servants into boxes without windows or doors, forcing them to cast themselves on him.

I mean, this is a case where you lose if you do it, and you lose if you don't. If he offers his son Isaac, the promise is gone because God had just said, in Isaac, the promise will be maintained. But if he doesn't, he's disqualified himself from this grand plan that God has in mind.

A third lesson, faith has not really been tested until we are asked to give up that which is most precious to us, Isaac, your only son. Four, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. God presented Abraham with two impossible choices, both of which threw the promise in jeopardy.

He could slay his son, thereby aborting the course on which he was traveling, or he could refuse to slay his son, Abraham that is, ostensibly in the interest of the promise, and then disqualify himself by his disobedience and unbelief. He chose the more difficult course, and he left the solution to this impossible puzzle with God. It's his problem.

Five, if God's promise is ever realized from start to finish, it is God's work. God rescued Isaac. Six, while the sacrifice of the ram caught in the thicket has nothing to do with atonement, with sin, or forgiveness, its substitutionary function clearly foreshadows the Passover lamb of the Exodus and ultimately the Passover lamb of Calvary.

But I would like to look at one additional part to this. In verse 12, when the angel of the Lord grabs Abraham's hand and stops him from stabbing his beloved son, what does he say? What is God's assessment of Abraham? Now I know that you fear me, seeing you have not withheld from me your one and only son. What has God been testing? Now at the beginning of this chapter, the narrator says, now it happened after these things that the Lord tested Abraham.

After what things? What happened in chapter 21? Well, the answer is clear. In 21, the Lord tells Abraham, get rid of Hagar and Ishmael. They're a complication to the program here.

In Isaac, in Isaac, in Isaac your seed shall be named. After God had told Abraham that specifically that the plan hangs on Isaac, God tested him saying, all right, now go take Isaac. And what does Abraham do? We thought he was testing his faith, but the narrator or God interprets this as proof of fear.

In English, these are two different words, but now we need to realize as Walter Moberly says, in the Hebrew Bible, in the first Testament, the word for fear is often used in the sense of pistis, faith in the New Testament, and this is one of those cases. We'll come back to talk about the word for fear when we come to the book of Proverbs and other places where we encounter it, but in this case, God was testing Abraham's faith and he declares, now I know that you fear me. One of the meanings of fear, Hebrew yare, is trusting awe, or should we say awed, trust, a-w-e-d.

That's what Abraham demonstrated, a plus plus. What else can we say about Abraham? Well, the rest of the story, chapter 23 to 25, is about securing Abraham's legacy. Machpelah, he has to buy a piece of property so he can bury his wife.

They have no title to any land. Chapter 24, 1 to 67, that's the longest narrative in the whole book of Genesis, finding a wife for Isaac so that we can have kids in this picture. Three, putting the ancestral house in order, the death of Abraham in 25, 1 to 11, and with that, we have the ending of the Abrahamic phase of this story, securing Abraham's legacy.

We move on quickly then, just in summary form, chapter 25, 12 to 18, as we've mentioned earlier, these are the generations of Ishmael. This is the Ishmael document. Then you have Isaac, chapter 25, 19 to 29.

This is the Isaac document, the son of the promise. It's interesting, not much new is happening in the life of Isaac, though there's a clear outline here, the promise in Crisis, 25, 19 to 34. Why does God keep doing this? He complicates the program himself by having Isaac's wife, Rebecca, be pregnant with two guys, and of course, the older one is not the son of the promise.

Why does God do that? And the question becomes, which of these two guys is going to be the bearer of the promise? Chapter 26, it's about the promise confirmed, Isaac, not Esau, and then in 26, 34 to 28, 9, you have the transmission of the promise. As in chapter 2, within the company of the patriarchs, Isaac is a rather passive figure. As with Abraham, in order for the promise to move forward, God must overcome the barrenness of patriarchs' wives.

But when Rebecca conceives, she gives birth to twins, which complicated the plot, the second of whom, in a prenatal oracle, Yahweh identifies as the bearer of the promise. Hereafter, the primary issue in Isaac's life will be transferring the privilege of the promise from the elder to the younger son. In fact, except for chapter 26, where the figure of Abraham towers over Isaac throughout, Jacob already plays a primary role.

So, in a sense, I feel sorry for Isaac. He gets short shrift in this whole story. What else can we say about Abraham? I think we need to see in Abraham a model of covenant righteousness, and the way the story is told, Abraham is the model of covenant righteousness as defined in Deuteronomy.

We often hear people contrasting the Abrahamic covenant with the Mosaic covenant. I don't call that Mosaic covenant with Moses. He's not the covenant partner.

It's the Israelite covenant at Sinai. We often contrast the two as if the one is a covenant of promise, the other one is a covenant of obligation. But in this case, I think we need to recognize that these are one and the same covenant.

And in Deuteronomy, we have the explication of what righteousness means, and the narrator of Genesis 12 through 25 paints Abraham as the model of Deuteronomic faith and righteousness. Here's the text, Genesis 26, that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give to your descendants all these lands.

And in your descendants, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Because Abraham listened to my voice, Abraham kept my mandate, mishmereth, Abraham kept my commands, and my ordinances, and my instructions. What? Because people who think that the Abrahamic covenant was not conditional absolutely disregard, dismiss, overlook this text.

The promise is passed on to Isaac precisely because Abraham listened to my voice and kept my mandate. Those expressions for mandate, commands, and ordinances appear only once in all of scripture, and that's Deuteronomy 11.1, where Moses instructs his people, so you must demonstrate love for Yahweh your God, and keep his mandate, mishmereth, his ordinances, and his stipulations, and his commands. What does that tell you about Abraham? In the author of Genesis' mind, Abraham was the model of what Moses was talking about here.

Don't separate Abraham from the Israel that God called to faith and to righteousness. All covenants are both irrevocable and eternal and conditional. Now how do we explain this? They are irrevocable in that God never takes his word back.

God doesn't say in one place, I am making an eternal covenant with you, and then change his mind and say it's off. It's never off. Oh, but it's not, it's always operative, but not the same things are operative in it.

For instance, if you are faithful to the covenant, the Israelites, Abraham, the rest, if they are faithful to the covenant, then God will bless them. The people's experience, the vassal's experience of the covenant blessings or curses depends. It all depends.

They are contingent on the fidelity. If the person disbelieves, rejects, is unfaithful to the suzerain, the covenant continues. But for this person, it's the curses that the person experiences rather than the blessings.

And we need to be aware that in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, where the curses are spelled out in detail and the blessings, that the curses are part of the covenant. God must curse those who reject him. So let's talk about Jacob and Israel, the nation of promise.

This takes us from chapter 28, 10 to 35, 29, and as well as 37, 1 to 2a. Unlike most of these titles, these are the generations of Jacob in 37, 2a. This functions as a colophon and ending to a document that starts at 28, 10 and continues actually to 35, 29.

The Esau, Edom genealogy stuck in there after chapter 35 represent an editorial insertion after which 37, 1 to 2, links the Joseph stories that follow to the Jacob stories that proceed. So there's a parenthesis dealing with Edom in chapter 37 and the story of Jacob, Israel continues in 37. While the character of Joseph dominates the narrative from chapters 37 to 50, the prominence of Jacob and its ending with the death and state funeral of Jacob in the promised land remind us that the covenantal implications of the intervening events were uppermost in the author's mind.

After Jacob's death, the people of the covenant and of the promises were all in Egypt in danger of disappearing, and the promised land was in the hand of the Canaanites, and we are left wondering what's with the promise? Where is the covenant? The only link to what remained of the chosen family by the end of the book was the site that housed their bones, Genesis 50, 1 to 21. Now the Jacob document that goes on from 28 all the way through 35, there are five parts to it, the promise given, the promise applied, the promise demanded, the promise forgotten, the promise renewed and fulfilled. But you see the theme? It's all about the covenant.

It's all about the covenant promises. The promises of land in particular were jeopardized by the exile of Jacob because of his own misdeeds when he ran to Haran after he had cheated his brother. But as he left through a special revelation at Bethel, Yahweh reassured Jacob, I will be with you, and he says, I will bring you back to this place.

Ironically, it was while he was away from the home promised land that the promise of numerous descendants began to be fulfilled. Up there in Haran, he married two wives who had two housemaids, and through them, he had these 13 children, 12 sons who represented the ethnic foundations on which the nations would be built. And this is reflected in the family tree listed in 35, 22 to 27.

Much of the plot in this revolves around extricating Jacob from his father-in-law Laban, and dealing with the guilt incurred when he cheated his brother Esau of the birthright and the patriarchal blessing. But in the end, chapter 35, the promise was secured. Just a brief comment about the Esau document in 36, 1 to 8, and 36, 9 to 23.

These are actually two documents. Like Ishmael, 25, 12 to 18, Esau represents a byline to the covenant and its promises. As we've observed repeatedly, historical bylines to the primary story are often dealt with through genealogies, and that's what you have here.

It's a way of giving history, but it's not the focus of our history. The text declares the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham that he will be the father of many nations. That's what God had promised Esau as well.

Then the last part of the book is about Joseph, the preserver of the promise. This is part two of the Jacob document, 37 to 45, or actually to 50. The stage is set in chapter 37 with the treachery of Joseph's brothers.

Then you have the interlude, the story of Judah and the blessing of Yahweh on Jacob in 39 as he is heading to Egypt to join his family there, or Joseph, and the famine in 41, 53 to 45, 28. But in chapter 46, 1 to 47, 26, we have the preservation of the promise, which is then transmitted to the 12 sons with Jacob's blessing, 47, 27 to 49, 33, and finally the epilogue, the death of Jacob. Critical scholars tend to treat the story of Joseph as a separate literary unit.

On the surface, this long section, 37 through 50, looks like an independent novella, a little novel with an intriguing plot and a colorful cast of characters, but it is clear that the author's primary interest lay in the implications of this story for the promise, the blessing, the covenant, the oath. The move of Jacob and his family to Egypt left the reader wondering what would become of God's program of salvation. Would the Israelites be swallowed up in the general population of Egypt like thousands of other immigrant families had been when they moved to a new land? But God's hand was in it all.

God was taking his chosen family down there so that they could grow and develop into a nation he wanted them to be. As Joseph declared to his brothers on two occasions, 45, 1 to 11, and 50, 19 to 21, he was God's agent sent ahead to make arrangements so they could outlive the famine. And as it turned out, they would outlive it by 400 years and eventually return to Canaan in fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 15, 12 to 21.

Although Joseph had been brutally mistreated by his brothers, he never lost sight of the promise, and he requested that when the family returned to the land promised them. What's the significance of Jacob and Joseph wanting their bones to be actually buried in a certain place? Well, that's a fabulous, I mean, the interesting thing is when Jacob is buried at Machpelah along with in the family tomb, what do the Canaanites say? It's very interesting. The Canaanites say, wow, some great tragedy must have hit Egypt because they see this as an Egyptian memorial service.

It's Jacob gets a royal burial in Machpelah. Where is it? Yes. So Joseph went up to bury his father and with him went all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household and the elders of the land of Egypt.

All of Egypt is going to the funeral of Jacob and all the household of Joseph and his brothers and his father's house. They left only their little ones. They also went up with him both chariots and horsemen and a great company.

And when they came to the threshing floor of Attad, which is beyond the Jordan, that's on the other side, they lamented there with a great sorrowful lament, seven days mourning their father. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites saw the mourning in the threshing floor at Attad, they said, this is a grievous mourning for the Egyptians. So they named it Abel Mitzrayim, the mourning of Egypt to them.

I mean, this is to the Canaanites. This is not an order to the Egyptians. This is not an ordinary funeral in the providence of God.

I mean, Jacob has his struggles, but it's a homecoming analogous to Moses. Whom God buries. Come home.

I mean, this is an amazing story. But Joseph too has his bones transferred, and that is a very physical gesture by which the person declares his faith in the promises of God. Egypt is not my home.

I'm just passing through. 400 years later, he got his wish. It's an amazing story.