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Where Are The Israelite Patriarchs Buried?
by Wayne Blank
"Now these are the names of the children of Israel [see Children of Jacob], which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already" (Exodus 1:1-5 KJV)
It was in Egypt that Jacob and all of his sons, the Israelite Patriarchs, and their wives, died:
"And Joseph [see Coat Of Many Colors] died, and all his brethren, and all that generation" (Exodus 1:6 KJV)
Where Are They Buried?
Of them all, only Jacob (who God renamed Israel) and his son Joseph are known to have been buried in the land of Israel.
When Jacob died, his body was almost immediately transported back to Israel where he was buried in the family tomb in Hebron along with one of his wives, Leah (Jacob's other wife, Rachel, died before the Israelites entered Egypt and is buried near Bethlehem), his parents Isaac (see also Isaac's Faith And Obedience) and Rebekah, and his grandparents Abraham (see also Abraham Wasn't A Jew) and Sarah. After the funeral, Jacob's sons returned to Egypt.
"And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah." (Genesis 49:29-31 KJV)
Joseph's death and burial are also well documented in the Scriptures, although there was a great length of time between when he died in Egypt and when his body was placed in its final resting place. According to his instructions, his long-dead remains were taken out of Egypt at the time of the Exodus, transported for another 40 years during the Wilderness Journey, and only then finally laid to rest after the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land under Joshua.
"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. 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. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." (Genesis 50:24-26 KJV)
What about all of the others, and their wives, and their children and grandchildren who died in Egypt before the Exodus? The Bible doesn't say. However if any of their remains had been carried out of Egypt along with those of Joseph, it seems that some mention would have been made of that. But there isn't. They are, most likely, all buried in Egypt, awaiting their Resurrections.
Fact Finder: Why did it take the Israelites 40 years to walk from Egypt to Israel, a distance that could have been walked in a matter of days or weeks?