years, and that was due to the virtues of Jacob.[411]

Joseph ordered the physicians to embalm the corpse. This
he should have refrained from doing, for it was displeasing
to God, who spoke, saying: "Have I not the power to preserve
the corpse of this pious man from corruption? Was it
not I that spoke the reassuring words, Fear not the worm, O
Jacob, thou dead Israel?" Joseph's punishment for this
useless precaution was that he was the first of the sons of
Jacob to suffer death.[412] The Egyptians, on the other
hand, who devoted forty days to embalming the corpse
and preparing it for burial, were rewarded for the veneration
they showed. Before He destroyed their city, God
gave the Ninevites a forty days' respite on account of
their king, who was the Pharaoh of Egypt. And for the

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