This is the first of only two references to embalming in the Bible. Like his father, Jacob, Joseph was also embalmed after his death (Genesis 50:26).

The word embalming apparently refers to the unique method of preparing a body for burial used by the ancient Egyptians. Different methods of embalming were used, depending on the person’s status.

An Egyptian illustration depicting the embalming of Ramses ill. The bodies of Jacob and Joseph were both prepared for burial in this manner.



The bodies of kings and people of great distinction were put through a sophisticated process that involved removing the internal organs and soaking the body for many days in a special chemical. Finally, the body was wrapped tightly in strips of linen cloth and placed in a wooden coffin.

Bodies like this (unknown as mummies) have been discovered in the ancient royal tombs of Egypt. Many have been in a remarkable state of reservation, even after more than three thousand years in their tombs.

After he was embalmed, Jacob was returned to Canaan for burial by Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 50:4-13).

GENESIS 50:2-3- Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel (Jacob). And forty days were fulfilled for him: for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed.

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