28 ¶ All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them. 29 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, 30 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. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. 32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth. 33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.
The twelve tribes of Israel play a very important part in God’s ministry of reconciling mankind to Himself as a vehicle, although flawed and more often in error than not, through which His salvation of mankind from eternal agony and suffering, it’s natural destination based on the rebellion we inherited from Adam, comes. Humans are, of all creatures, most miserable if they do not believe or receive Christ as their Saviour when offered.
Jacob is going to die now. He ordains where he will be buried, in a cave in the field that Abraham, his grandfather purchased. See comments on 23:1-20.
Here, we see an interesting event. Jacob does not suffer a long ordeal of disease breathing hard in agony on a bed of suffering. He finishes his blessings and then pulls his feet up into his bed and surrenders his spirit and dies.
I have already gone over the euphemisms for death as evidenced in verse 33 and from its usage the phrase gathered unto his people refers to going to the place where his ancestors went when they died. Jacob is said to have yielded up the ghost. This is a reference to his spirit. Here is a reference to Jesus’s, who was fully man and fully God, human spirit or ghost, lowercase s and g. Here the human spirit belongs to and ascends to God.
Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
Again, not only the soul leaves the flesh at death but here we see the spirit leaves, as well. Notice Solomon’s question in Ecclesiastes that suggests mankind doesn’t know what he thinks he knows.
Ecclesiastes 3:21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
God uses the spirit of man as one means to examine him from the inside-out.
Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
The Godhead consists of a soul (God the Father), the seat of self-identity and will, a Spirit (the Holy Ghost called the Holy Spirit or Spirit of God when referencing acting on physical reality), and a body, a physical presence, (Christ or the Word by which all things were created and are held together) it is important to understand that only God’s three parts can act independently although guided by one will. If either our soul or spirit leave us as humans we physically die. Jesus, being fully man and fully God, was not only the physical image of the invisible God but, as a human, possessed a lowercase spirit or ghost which He surrendered when He gave up his brief temporal existence before rising from the dead.