Summary: A lesson in committment regarding the vow Joseph made with his brothers.

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The Journey of the Bones of Joseph

Grady Henley

November 2004


A few years back there was a story written about a two men from Texas. They were two old retired Texas rangers that moved to the Northwest. One of them died and on his death bed he caused the other to make an oath that he would return his body to a pecan orchard around Austin, Texas and bury his bones. Soon as the spring thaw set in the survivor set off with those bones in a buckboard. (“Lonesome Dove” was the name of the book.)

Folks that heard about such a thing laughed at the old ranger for being so ignorant. Why not just bury him somewhere along the way. He’ll never know where the words hurled at the old ranger.

The old ranger would not be deterred from his oath. By the time novel ends, the old ranger is buried in a pecan orchard, the one place where he found just a little bit of peace and one of which he fond memories.

What a unique story! Two men who thought so much of each other and had been together for so long that one would do this much for his friend. The story plot for that novel that was later made into a TV series came right out of the bible. The story in the bible has so much more than the one about the rangers.

Gen 50:24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Gen 50:25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.

Exo 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.

Have you given much thought to the story of the children of Israel caring for the bones of Joseph for so many years? Now think about that for a few moments! Some folks have their loved one cremated and cast their ashes to the wind. My ex-sister-in-law had her husband cremated and took half of his ashes to Arkansas and kept the other half in Pearland, Texas. Other folks keep the bones of their loved one in mauselums.

We do not know just where the bones of Joseph were kept for their day of departure, but we know for a fact that someone knew their location.

What made the bones of Joseph more important? Why not carry all the bones of other dead Jews back to the Holy Land? Why should Joseph’s bones receive such special treatment? Once we find the answer, we need to apply it to our lives.


Where you aware that it is quite possible they carried for his bones for over 600 years before burying them? Thinking about this story makes us realize that it was an unusual request on the part of Joseph, and dedicated duty on the nation of Israel.

Did you think the nation of Israel took care of those bones for 430 years? Did you based your thinking on Exodus 12:40 where we read: Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years? A closer reading of that passage tells us how long they were sojourners in Egypt, not how long they cared for his bones.

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