Death of a Saint

Jacob dies, and with a beautiful last twist, asks to be buried with Leah. It’s the same place where Abraham and Isaac and their wives are buried. But just before he dies, he passes on a blessing. A lot of stock is put into these blessings. I’m sure Jacob remembers all the trouble from the taking of Esau’s blessing.

Jacob continues to defy the traditional order of blessing and gives Joseph’s youngest son the greater blessing. He says that all of Israel will bless him by saying, “May you be as Ephraim and Manasseh.” Those are the names of Joseph’s two sons. And Israel does say that as a blessing to this day. It’s part of how Jews bless their sons at each Friday night Shabbat dinner.

We aren’t told these blessings are ordained by God. We are told that Jacob blessed them as he saw fit. He gives Judah and Joseph the best blessings. Judah is blessed with a ruling scepter, which is interesting as we know Jesus comes from this line and will reign.

The Levites are scattered among the people, which is interesting because the Levites become the priests of the Jews. They are not allowed to own land but live among the scattered people and serve them. Jacob is at least 130 years old. He recognizes that God has sustained him and brought redemption into his life. He thought he would never see Joseph again, but he not only sees him but gets to see his grandsons as well.

When Jacob finishes his task, he curls up and “gives up the ghost,” as the expression goes. He just dies. I think this is a beautiful picture of the death of a saint. Ideally, a Christian should just be whisked up to heaven like Elijah, lay down their lives like Jesus (and the apostles), or call their family together, bless them and the Lord and give yourself up to the Lord to go home. The death of a saint is a beautiful thing.