(Calvin, Genesis 2. part 28)

superfluous care was not free from absurdity; acted rather from fear 
than from judgment, or from approval of their method. Perhaps he 
improperly imitated the Egyptians, lest the condition of his father 
might be worse than that of other men. But it would have been better, 
had he confined himself to the frugal practice of his fathers. 
Nevertheless though he might be excusable, the same practice is not now 
lawful for us. For unless we wish to subvert the glory of Christ, we 
must cultivate greater sobriety. 
  3. "And forty days were fulfilled for him." We have shown already that 
Moses is speaking of a ceremonial mourning; and therefore he does not 
prescribe it as a law, or produce it as an example which it is right for 
us to follow. For, by the laws, certain days were appointed, in order 
that time might be given for the moderating of grief in some degree; yet 
something also was conceded to ambition. Another rule, however, for 
restraining grief is given to us by the Lord. And Joseph stooped, more 
than he ought, to the perverted manners of the Egyptians; for the world 
affects to believe that whatever is customary is lawful; so that what 
generally prevails, carries along everything it meets, like a violent 
inundation. The seventy days which Moses sets apart to solemn mourning, 
Herodotus, in his second book, assigns to the embalming. But Diodorus 
writes that the seasoning of the body was completed in thirty days. Both 
authors diligently describe the method of embalming. And though I will 
not deny that, in the course of time, the skill and industry in 
practicing this art increased, yet it appears to me probable that this 
method of proceeding was handed down from the fathers. 
  4. "Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh." A brief narration is here 
inserted of the permission obtained for Joseph, that, with the goodwill 
and leave of the king, he might convey his father's remains to the 
sepulchre of "the double cave." Now, though he himself enjoyed no common 
decree of favour, he yet makes use of the courtiers as his intercessors. 
Why did he act thus, unless on the ground that the affair was in itself 
odious to the people? For nothing (as we have said before) was less 
tolerable to the Egyptians, than that their land, of the sanctity of 
which they made their especial boast, should be despised. Therefore 
Joseph, in order to transfer the offense from himself to another, pleads 
necessity: as if he would say, that the burying of his father was not 
left to his own choice, because Jacob had laid him under obligation as 
to the mode of doing it, by the imposition of an oath. Wherefore, we see 
that he was oppressed by servile fear, so that he did not dare frankly 
and boldly to profess his own faith; since he is compelled to act a 
part, in order to transfer to the deceased whatever odium might attend 
the transaction. Now, whereas a more simple and upright confession of 
faith is required of the sons of God, let none of us seek refuge under 
such pretexts: but rather let us learn to ask of the Lord the spirit of 
fortitude and constancy which shall direct us to bear our testimony to 
true religion. Yet if men allow us the free profession of religion, let 
us give thanks for it. Now, seeing that Joseph did not dare to move his 
foot, except by permission of the king, we infer hence, that he was 
bound by his splendid fortune, as by golden fetters. And truly, such is 
the condition of all who are advanced to honour and favour in royal 
courts; so that there is nothing better for men of sane mind, than to be 
content with a private condition. Joseph also mitigates the offense 
which he feared he was giving, by another circumstance, when he says, 
that the desire to be buried in the land of Canaan was not one which had 
recently entered into his father's mind, because he had dug his grave 
there long before; whence it follows that he had not been induced to do 
so by any disgust taken against the land of Egypt. 
  6. "And Pharaoh said." We have seen that Joseph adopts a middle 
course. For he was not willing utterly to fail in his duty; yet, by 
catching at a pretext founded on the command of his father, he did not 
conduct himself with sufficient firmness. It is possible that Pharaoh 
was inclined, by the modesty of his manner, more easily to assent to his 
requests. Yet this cowardice is not, on this account, so sanctioned that 
the sons of God are at liberty to indulge themselves in it: for if they 
intrepidly follow where duty calls, the Lord will give the issue which 
is desired, beyond all expectation. For, although, humanly speaking, 
Joseph's bland submission succeeded prosperously, it is nevertheless 
certain that the proud mind of the king was influenced by God to concede 
thus benignantly what had been desired. It is also to be observed, what 
great respect for an oath prevailed among blind unbelievers. For, though 
Pharaoh himself had not sworn, he still deemed it unlawful for him to 
violate, by his own authority, the pledge given by another. But at this 
day, reverence for God has become so far extinct, that men commonly 
regard it as a mere trifle to deceive, on one side or another, under the 
name of God. But such unbridled license, which even Pharaoh himself 
denounces, shall not escape the judgment of God with impunity. 
  7. "And Joseph went up." Moses gives a full account of the burial. 
What he relates concerning the renewed mourning of Joseph and his 
brethren, as well as of the Egyptians, ought by no means to be 
established as a rule among ourselves. For we know, that since our flesh 
has no self government, men commonly exceed bounds both in sorrowing and 
in rejoicing. The tumultuous glamour, which the inhabitants of the place 
admired, cannot be excused. And although Joseph had a right end in view, 
when he fixed the mourning to last through seven successive days, yet 
this excess was not free from blame. Nevertheless, it was not without 
reason that the Lord caused this funeral to be thus honorably 
celebrated: for it was of great consequence that a kind of sublime 
trophy should be raised, which might transmit to posterity the memory of 
Jacob's faith. If he had been buried privately, and in a common manner, 
his fame would soon have been extinguished; but now, unless men 
willfully blind themselves, they have continually before their eyes a 
noble example, which may cherish the hope of the promised inheritance: 
they perceive, as it were, the standard of that deliverance erected, 
Which shall take place in the fulness of time. Wherefore, we are not 
here to consider the honour of the deceased so much as the benefit of 
the living. Even the Egyptians, not knowing what they do, bear a torch 
before the Israelites, to teach them to keep the course of their divine 
calling: the Canaanites do the same, when they distinguish the place by 
a new name; for hence it came to pass that the knowledge of the covenant 
of the Lord flourished afresh. 
  14. "And Joseph returned." Although Joseph and the rest had left so 
many pledges in Egypt, that it would be necessary for them to return; it 
is yet probable that they were rather drawn back thither by the oracle 
of God. For God never permitted them to choose an abode at their own 
will; but as he had before led Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in their 
journeying, so he held their sons shut up in the land of Goshen, as 
within barriers. And there is no doubt that the holy fathers left that 
oracle which we have in the fifteenth chapter and the thirteenth verse, 
to their sons, to be kept in faithful custody as a precious treasure. 
They return, therefore, into Egypt, not only because they were compelled 
by present necessity, but because it was not lawful for them to shake 
off with the hand, the yoke which God had put upon their necks. But if 
the Lord does not hold all men bound by voluntary obedience to himself, 
he nevertheless holds their minds by his secret rein, that they may not 
withdraw themselves from his government; nor can we form any other 
conjecture than that they were restrained by his fear, so that even when 
admonished of the tyrannical oppression which was coming upon them, they 
did not attempt to make their escape. We know that their disposition was 
not so mild as to prevent them from rebelling against lighter burdens. 
Wherefore, on this point, a special sense of religious obligation 
subdued them, so that they prepared themselves quietly and silently to 
endure the hardest servitude. 
  15. "And when, Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead." 
Moses here relates, that the sons of Jacob, after the death of their 
father, were apprehensive lest Joseph should take vengeance for the 
injury they had done him. And whence this fear, but because they form 
their judgment of him according to their own disposition? That they had 
found him so placable they do not attribute to true piety towards God, 
nor do they account it a special gift of the Spirit: but rather, they 
imagine that, out of respect to his father alone, he had hitherto been 
so far restrained, as barely to postpone his revenge. But, by such 
perverse judgment, they do a great injury to one who, by the liberality 
of his treatment, had borne them witness that his mind was free from all 
hatred and malevolence. Part of the injurious surmise reflected even 
upon God, whose special grace had shone forth in the moderation of 
Joseph. Hence, however, we gather, that guilty consciences are so 
disturbed by blind and unreasonable fears, that they stumble in broad 
day-light. Joseph had absolved his brethren from the crime they had 
committed against him; but they are so agitated by guilty compunctions, 
that they voluntarily become their own tormentors. And they have not 
themselves to thank, that they did not bring down upon themselves the 
very punishment which had been remitted; because the mind of Joseph 
might well have been wounded by their distrust. For, what could they 
mean by still malignantly suspecting him to whose compassion they had 
again and again owed their lives? Yet I do not doubt, that long ago they 
had repented of their wickedness, but, perhaps, because they had not yet 
been sufficiently purified, the Lord suffered them to be tortured with 
anxiety and trouble: first, to make them a proof to others, that an evil 

conscience is its own tormentor, and, then, to humble them under a 
renewed sense of their own guilt; for, when they regard themselves as 
obnoxious to their brother's judgment, they cannot forget, unless they 
are worse than senseless, the celestial tribunal of God. What Solomon 
says, we see daily fulfilled, that "the wicked flee when no man 
pursueth;" (Prov. 28: 1;) but, in this way, God compels the fugitives to 
give up their account. They would desire, in their supine torpor, to 
deceive both God and men; and they bring upon their minds, as far as 
they are able, the callousness of obstinacy: in the mean time, whether 
they will or no, they are made to tremble at the sound of a falling 
leaf, lest their carnal security should obliterate their sense of the 
judgment of God. (Lev. 26: 36.) Nothing is more desirable than a 
tranquil mind. While God deprives the wicked of this singular benefit, 
which is desired by all, he invites us to cultivate integrity. But 
especially, seeing that the patriarchs, who were already affected with 
penitence for their wickedness, are yet thus severely awakened, a long 
time afterwards, let none of us yield to self-indulgence; but let each 
diligently examine himself, lest hypocrisy should inwardly cherish the 
secret stings of the wrath of God; and may that happy peace, which can 
find no place in a double heart, shine within our thoroughly purified 
breasts. For this due reward of their neglect remains for all those who 
do not draw nigh to God sincerely and with all their heart, that they 
are compelled to stand before the judgment-seat of mortal man. 
Wherefore, there is no other method which can free us from disquietude, 
but that of returning into favour with God. Whosoever shall despise this 
remedy, shall be afraid not only of man, but also of a shadow, or a 
breath of wind. 
  16. "And they sent a messenger." Because they are ashamed themselves 
to speak, they engage messengers of peace, in whom Joseph might have 
greater confidence. But here also we perceive that they who have an 
accusing conscience are destitute of counsel and of reason. For if Jacob 
had been solicitous on this point, why did he not effect reconciliation 
between the son who was so obedient unto himself, and his brethren? 
Besides, for what reason should they attempt to do that through 
mediators, which they could do so much better in their own persons? The 
Lord, therefore, suffers them to act like children; that we, being 
instructed by their example, may look for no advantage from the use of 
frivolous inventions. But it may be asked, where the sons of Jacob found 
men to whom they could venture to commit such a message; for it was no 
light thing to make known their execrable crime to strangers? And it 
would have been folly to subject themselves to this infamy among the 
Egyptians. The most probable conjecture is, that some domestic witnesses 
were chosen from the number of their own servants; for though Moses 
makes no mention of such, when he relates that Jacob departed into 
Egypt; yet that some were brought with him, may easily be gathered from 
certain considerations. 
  17. "Forgive, I pray thee now." They do not dissemble the fact that 
they had grievously sinned; and they are so far from extenuating their 
fault, that they freely heap up words in charging themselves with guilt. 
They do not, therefore, ask that pardon should be granted them as if the 
offense were light: but they place in opposition to the atrocity of 
their crime, first, the authority of their father, and then the sacred 
name of God. Their confession would have been worthy of commendation, 
had they proceeded directly, and without tortuous contrivances, to 
appease their brother. Now, since they have drawn from the fountain of 
piety the instruction that it is right for sin to be remitted to the 
servants of God; we may receive it as a common exhortation, that if we 
have been injured by the members of the Church, we must not be too rigid 
and immovable in pardoning the offense. This humanity indeed is 
generally enjoined upon us towards all men: but when the bond of 
religion is superadded, we are harder than iron, if we are not inclined 
to the exercise of compassion. And we must observe, that they expressly 
mention the God of Jacob: because the peculiar faith and worship by 
which they were distinguished from the rest of the nations, ought to 
unite them with each other in a closer bond: as if God, who had adopted 
that family, stood forth in the midst of them as engaged to produce 
  "And Joseph wept when they spake unto him." It cannot be ascertained 
with certainty from the words of Moses, whether the brethren of Joseph 
were present, and were speaking, at the time he wept. Some interpreters 
imagine that a part was here acted designedly; so that when the mind of 
Joseph had been sounded by others, the brethren, soon afterwards, came 
in, during the discourse. I rather incline to a different opinion; 
namely, that, when he knew, from the messengers, that their minds were 
tormented, and they were troubling themselves in vain, he was moved with 
sympathy towards them. Then, having sent for them, he set them free from 
all care and fear; and their speech, when they themselves were 
deprecating his anger, drew forth his tears. Moreover, by thus 
affectionately weeping over the sorrow and anxiety of his brethren, he 
affords us a remarkable example of compassion. But if we have an arduous 
conflict with the impetuosity of an angry temper, or the obstinacy of a 
disposition to hatred, we must pray to the Lord for a spirit of 
meekness, the force of which manifests itself not less effectually, at 
this day, in the members of Christ, than formerly in Joseph. 
  19. "Am I in the place of God?" Some think that, in these words, he 
was rejecting the honour paid him: as if he would say, that it was 
unjustly offered to him, because it was due to God alone. But this 
interpretation is destitute of probability, since he often permitted 
himself to be addressed in this manner, and knew that the minds of his 
brethren were utterly averse to transfer the worship of God to mortal 
man. And I equally disapprove another meaning given to the passage, 
which makes Joseph refuse to exact punishment, because he is not God: 
for he does not restrain himself from retaliating the injury, in the 
hope that God will prove his avenger. Others adduce a third 
signification; namely, that the whole affair was conducted by the 
counsel of God, and not by his own: which though I do not entirely 
reject, because it approaches the truth, yet I do not embrace the 
interpretation as true. For the word "tachat" sometimes signifies 
instead of, sometimes it means subjection. Therefore if the note of 
interrogation were not in the way, it might well be rendered, "Because I 
am under God;" and then the sense would be, "Fear not, for I am under 
God;" so that Joseph would teach them, that because he is subject to the 
authority of God, it is not his business to lead the way, but to follow. 
But, whereas "he", the note of interrogation, is prefixed to the word, 
it cannot be otherwise expounded than to mean that it would be wrong for 
him, a mortal man, to presume to thwart the counsel of God. But as to 
the sum of the matter, there is no ambiguity. For seeing that Joseph 
considers the design of divine providence, he restrains his feelings as 
with a bridle, lest they should carry him to excess. He was indeed of a 
mild and humane disposition; but nothing is better or more suitable to 
assuage his anger, than to submit himself to be governed by God. When, 

therefore, the desire of revenge urges us, let all our feelings be 
subjected to the same authority. Moreover, since he desires his brethren 
to be tranquil and secure, from the consideration, that he, ascribing 
due honour to God, willingly submits to obey the Divine command; let us 
learn, hence, that it is most to our advantage to deal with men of 
moderation, who set God before them as their leader, and who not only 
submit to his will, but also cheerfully obey him. For if any one is 
impotently carried away by the lust of the flesh, we must fear a 
thousand deaths from him, unless God should forcibly break his fury. Now 
as it is the one remedy for assuaging our anger, to acknowledge what we 
ourselves are, and what right God has over us; so, on the other hand, 
when this thought has taken full possession of our minds, there is no 
ardor, however furious, which it will not suffice to mitigate. 
  20. "Ye thought evil against me." Joseph well considers (as we have 
said) the providence of God; so that he imposes it on himself as a 
compulsory law, not only to grant pardon, but also to exercise 
beneficence. And although we have treated at large on this subjects in 
the forty-fifth chapter, yet it will be useful also to repeat something 
on it now. In the first place, we must notice this difference in his 
language: for whereas, in the former passage, Joseph, desiring to soothe 
the grief, and to alleviate the fear of his brethren, would cover their 
wickedness by every means which ingenuity could suggest; he now corrects 
them a little more openly and freely; perhaps because he is offended 
with their disingenousness. Yet he holds to the same principle as 
before. Seeing that, by the secret counsel of God, he was led into 
Egypt, for the purpose of preserving the life of his brethren, he must 
devote himself to this object, lest he should resist God. He says, in 
fact, by his action, "Since God has deposited your life with me, I 
should be engaged in war against him, if I were not to be the faithful 
dispenser of the grace which he had committed to my hands." Meanwhile, 
he skillfully distinguishes between the wicked counsels of men, and the 
admirable justice of God, by so ascribing the government of all things 
to God, as to preserve the divine administration free from contracting 
any stain from the vices of men. The selling of Joseph was a crime 
detestable for its cruelty and perfidy; yet he was not sold except by 
the decree of heaven. For neither did God merely remain at rest, and by 
conniving for a time, let loose the reins of human malice, in order that 
afterwards he might make use of this occasion; but, at his own will, he 
appointed the order of acting which he intended to be fixed and certain. 
Thus we may say with truth and propriety, that Joseph was sold by the 
wicked consent of his brethren, and by the secret providence of God. Yet 
it was not a work common to both, in such a sense that God sanctioned 
anything connected with or relating to their wicked cupidity: because 
while they are contriving the destruction of their brother, God is 
effecting their deliverance from on high. Whence also we conclude, that 
there are various methods of governing the world. This truly must be 
generally agreed, that nothing is done without his will; because he both 
governs the counsels of men, and sways their wills and turns their 
efforts at his pleasure, and regulates all events: but if men undertake 
anything right and just, he so actuates and moves them inwardly by his 
Spirit, that whatever is good in them, may justly be said to be received 
from him: but if Satan and ungodly men rage, he acts by their hands in 
such an inexpressible manner, that the wickedness of the deed belongs to 
them, and the blame of it is imputed to them. For they are not induced 
to sin, as the faithful are to act aright, by the impulse of the Spirit, 
but they are the authors of their own evil, and follow Satan as their 
leader. Thus we see that the justice of God shines brightly in the midst 
of the darkness of our iniquity. For as God is never without a just 
cause for his actions, so men are held in the chains of guilt by their 
own perverse will. When we hear that God frustrates the wicked 
expectations, and the injurious desires of men, we derive hence no 
common consolation. Let the impious busy themselves as they please, let 
them rage, let them mingle heaven and earth; yet they shall gain nothing 
by their ardor; and not only shall their impetuosity prove ineffectual, 
but shall be turned to an issue the reverse of that which they intended, 
so that they shall promote our salvation, though they do it reluctantly. 
So that whatever poison Satan produces, God turns it into medicine for 
his elect. And although in this place God is said to have "meant it unto 
good," because contrary to expectation, he had educed a joyful issue out 
of beginnings fraught with death: yet, with perfect rectitude and 
justice, he turns the food of reprobates into poison, their light into 
darkness, their table into a snare, and, in short, their life into 
death. If human minds cannot reach these depths, let them rather 
suppliantly adore the mysteries they do not comprehend, than, as vessels 
of clay, proudly exalt themselves against their Maker. 
  "To save much people alive." Joseph renders his office subservient to 
the design of God's providence; and this sobriety is always to be 
cultivated, that every one may behold, by faith, God from on high 
holding the helm of the government of the world, and may keep himself 
within the bounds of his vocation; and even, being admonished by the 
secret judgments of God, may descend into himself, and exhort himself to 
the discharge of his duty: and if the reason of this does not 
immediately appear, we must still take care that we do not fly in 
confused and erratic circuits, as fanatical men are wont to do. What 
Joseph says respecting his being divinely chosen "to save much people 
alive," some extend to the Egyptians. Without condemning such an 
extension, I would rather restrict the application of the words to the 
family of Jacob; for Joseph amplifies the goodness of God by this 
circumstance, that the seed of the Church would be rescued from 
destruction by his labour. And truly, from these few men, whose seed 
would otherwise have been extinct before their descendants had been 
multiplied, that vast multitude sprang into being, which God soon 
afterwards raised up. 
  21. "I will nourish you." It was a token of a solid and not a feigned 
reconciliation, not only to abstain from malice and injury, but also to 
"overcome evil with good," as Paul teaches, (Rom. 12: 21:) and truly, he 
who fails in his duty, when he possesses the power of giving help, and 
when the occasion demands his assistance, shows, by this very course, 
that he is not forgetful of injury. This requires to be the more 
diligently observed, because, commonly, the greater part weakly conclude 
that they forgive offenses if they do not retaliate them; as if indeed 
we were not taking revenge when we withdraw our hands from giving help. 
You would assist your brother if you thought him worthy: he implores 
your aid in necessity; you desert him because he has done you some 
unkindness; what hinders you from helping him but hatred? Therefore, we 
shall then only prove our minds to be free from malevolence, when we 
follow with kindness those enemies by whom we have been ill treated. 
Joseph is said to have spoken "to the heart of his brethren," because, 
by addressing them with suavity and kindness, he removed all their 
scruples; as we have before seen, that Shechem spoke to the heart of 
Dinah, when he attempted to console her with allurements, in order that, 
forgetting the dishonor he had done her, she might consent to marry him. 
  22. "And Joseph dwelt in Egypt." It is not without reason that Moses 
relates how long Joseph lived, because the length of the time shows the 
more clearly his unfailing constancy: for although he is raised to great 
honour and power among she Egyptians, he still is closely united with 
his father's house. Hence it is easy to conjecture, that he gradually 
took his leave of the treasures of the court, because he thought there 
was nothing better for him to do than to hold them in contempt, lest 
earthly dignity should separate him from the kingdom of God. He had 
before spurned all the allurements which might have occupied his mind in 
Egypt: he now counts it necessary to proceed further, that, laying aside 
his honour, he may descend to an ignoble condition, and wean his own 
sons from the hope of succeeding to his worldly rank. We know how 
anxiously others labour, both that they themselves may not be reduced in 
circumstances, and that they may leave their fortune entire to their 
posterity: but Joseph, during sixty years, employed all his efforts to 
bring himself and his children into a state of submission, lest his 
earthly greatness should alienate them from the little flock of the 
Lord. In short, he imitated the serpents, who cast off their exuviae, 
that, being stripped of their old age, they may gather new strength. He 
sees the children of his own grandchildren; why does not his solicitude 
to provide for them increase, as his children increase? Yet he has so 
little regard for worldly rank or opulence, that he would rather see 
them devoted to a pastoral life, and be despised by the Egyptians, if 
only they might be reckoned in the family of Israel. Besides, in a 
numerous offspring during his own life, the Lord afforded him some taste 
of his benediction, from which he might conceive the hope of future 
deliverance: for, among so many temptations, it was necessary for him to 
be encouraged and sustained, lest he should sink under them. 
  24. "And Joseph said unto his brethren." It is uncertain whether 
Joseph died the first or the last of the brethren, or whether a part of 
them survived him. Here indeed Moses includes, under the name of 
brethren, not only those who were really so, but other relations. I 
think, however, that certain of the chiefs of each family were called at 
his command, from whom the whole of the people might receive 
information: and although it is probable that the other patriarchs also 
gave the same command respecting themselves, since the bones of them all 
were, in like manner, conveyed into the land of Canaan; yet special 
mention is made of Joseph alone, for two reasons. First, since the eyes 
of them all were fixed upon him, on account of his high authority, it 
was his duty to lead their way, and cautiously to beware lest the 
splendor of his dignity should cast a stumbling block before any of 
them. Secondly, it was of great consequence, as an example, that it 
should be known to all the people, that he who held the second place in 
the kingdom of Egypt, regardless of so great an honour, was contented 
with his own coalition, which was only that of the heir of a bare 
  "I die." This expression has the force of a command to his brethren to 
be of good courage after his death, because the truth of God is 
immortal; for he does not wish them to depend upon his life or that of 
another man, so as to cause them to prescribe a limit to the power of 
God; but he would have them patiently to rest till the suitable time 
should arrive. But whence had he this great certainty, that he should be 
a witness and a surety of future redemption, except from his having been 
so taught by his father? For we do not read that God had appeared unto 
him, or that an oracle had been brought to him by an angel from heaven; 
but because he was certainly persuaded that Jacob was a divinely 
appointed teacher and prophet, who should transmit to his sons the 
covenant of salvation deposited with him; Joseph relies upon his 
testimony not less securely than if some vision had been presented to 
him, or he had seen angels descending to him from heaven: for unless the 
hearing of the word is sufficient for our faith, we deserve not that 
God, whom we then defraud of his honour, should condescend to deal with 
us: not that faith relies on human authority, but because it hears God 
speaking through the mouth of men, and by their external voice is drawn 
upwards; for what God pronounces through men, he seals on our hearts by 
his Spirit. Thus faith is built on no other foundation than God himself; 
and yet the preaching of men is not wanting in its claim of authority 
and reverence. This restraint is put upon the rash curiosity of those 
men, who, eagerly desiring visions, despise the ordinary ministry of the 
Church; as if it were absurd that God, who formerly showed himself to 
the fathers out of heaven, should send forth his voice out of the earth. 
But if they would reflect how gloriously he once descended to us in the 
person of his only-begotten Son, they would not so importunately desire 
that heaven should daily be opened unto them. But, not to insist upon 
these things; when the brethren saw that Joseph,--who in this respect 
was inferior to his fathers, as having been partaker of no oracle,--had 
been imbued by them with the doctrine of piety, so that he contended 
with a faith similar to theirs; they would at once be most ungrateful 
and malignant, if they rejected the participation of his grace. 
  25. "God will surely visit you." By these words he intimates that they 
would be buried as in oblivion, so long as they remained in Egypt: and 
truly that exile was as if God had turned his back on them for a season. 
Nevertheless, Joseph does not cease to fix the eyes of his mind on God; 
as it is written in the Prophet, "I will wait upon the Lord that hideth 
his face from the house of Jacob." (Is. 8: 17.) This passage also 
clearly teaches what was the design of this anxious choice of his 
sepulchre, namely, that it might be a seal of redemption: for after he 
has asserted that God was faithful, and would, in his own time, grant 
what he had promised, he immediately adjures his brethren to carry away 
his bones. These were useful relics, the sight of which plainly 
signified that, by the death of men, the eternal covenant in which 
Joseph commands his posterity safely to rest, had by no means become 
extinct; for he deems it sufficient to adduce the oath of God, to remove 
all their doubts respecting their deliverance. 
End of - Calvin, Genesis, Volume 2. 

(...end, Calvin, Commentary on Genesis, Vol.2)

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