I suppose when (if) I get to be 130 years old I too will think more about death. Perhaps a lot more. After all, at 130, it can’t be far away. Death has been on Jacob’s mind for a while. He mentioned it when Joseph went missing, and again when the boys returned from Egypt. The boys mention it to Joseph when they go back for the second trip and when Jacob gets the news Joseph is alive, he says: “I will go and see him before I die.” Likely, at this point, Jacob has only recently buried his father, Isaac.
In Genesis 15, God had revealed that Abraham’s ancestors would become slaves in a country not their own. In Genesis 46, God reveals the country is to be Egypt. Jacob has experienced four visions of God. The first was at Bethel, just after he left home. The second was while he was with Laban in Haran. The third was at the Jabbok where he and the Lord wrestled and the fourth was back at Bethel. On each occasion, God assured him of His protection and blessing. Now, at Beersheba, God tells Jacob He will travel with him as he goes to Egypt. The genealogy presented is there to assure us that everyone went. No one was left behind.
As children of God, we all live our lives in view of approaching death. Such a perspective helps to guide us and hem us in with holy boundaries. Peter reminds us of this when he writes of the end: “Since everything will be destroyed . . . what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God . . .” After all, we have the promise (and warning) of God’s company. He is always with us.