1And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. 3And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, 4and said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. 5And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. 6And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance. 7And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Beth-lehem.
8And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these? 9And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. 10Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. 11And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed. 12And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 13And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him. 14And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, 16the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
17And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. 18And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. 19And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. 20And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. 21And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. 22Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.
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Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons
1Not long afterward, Joseph received the news that his father’s health was failing, so he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. 2When Jacob heard that they had come to see him, Israel rallied his strength and sat up in bed.
3Jacob said to Joseph, “The God who is more than enough appeared to me at Bethel # 48:3 Or “Luz,” the ancient name of Bethel. Jacob was referring to the appearance of the heavenly stairway reaching into heaven. See Gen. 28:10–19. in the land of Canaan where he blessed me! 4He said to me, ‘I will make you fruitful and multiply your descendants until I have made you a company of nations. And I will give this land to your descendants for an everlasting possession.’ 5Furthermore, I will adopt as my very own your two sons who were born in the land of Egypt before I came here. Yes, I claim Ephraim and Manasseh as mine, no less than my two oldest, Reuben and Simeon. 6As for any children born after them, they will be considered yours. They will receive their portion of the inheritance in the same territory as their brothers. 7For when I was returning from Paddan-Aram, my beloved Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan while we were still on our way, not far from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”
8When Israel noticed Joseph’s two sons, he said, “Who are these?”
9“They are the sons that God has graciously given me here,” Joseph said to his father.
“Please bring them closer,” he said, “so that I may bless them.”
10Now Israel could barely see, for his eyes were failing because of old age. So, Joseph brought his sons closer to him, and Joseph’s father, their grandfather, hugged and kissed them.
11Tearfully, Israel said to Joseph, “I never thought I’d see your face again, and now, God has let me see my grandchildren as well!”
Jacob Blesses His Grandchildren
12Joseph then removed them from his father’s knees and bowed low in respect before his father with his face to the ground. 13And Joseph took his sons and had them stand facing their grandfather Israel, # 48:13 By placing them before him like this, Israel recognized Joseph’s sons as his own by adoption. By adopting Joseph’s sons, Jacob removed the firstborn blessing from Reuben and gave it to Joseph’s sons. Ephraim at Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh at Israel’s right hand. # 48:13 Joseph positioned his sons so that Jacob’s right hand would rest on the firstborn, Manasseh. 14But Israel crossed his arms, and stretched out his right hand on the head of the younger son, Ephraim, and his left hand on the head of the firstborn son, Manasseh. 15He spoke this blessing over them: # 48:15 Or “Joseph.” The Septuagint reads “them.”
“May the God of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, who lived devoted to him,
the God who has been my Shepherd from my birth until this day,
16the Angel who has delivered me from all harm, # 48:16 The Lord had visited Jacob as an Angel, the midnight wrestling Man, his true Friend. At the end of Jacob’s life, he could say that his Shepherd-Friend had delivered him from all harm. Instead of moaning and complaining about his hardships, this servant of God declared the mercy that had preserved him. Christ, the Angel of the Covenant, redeems us from all evil.
may he bless these boys!
May their lives echo my name,
and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac.
May they multiply into teeming multitudes throughout the earth!”
17When Joseph saw his father place his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he was not happy, so he tried to move his father’s hand from Ephraim to Manasseh’s head. 18“Not that way,” Joseph said to his father, “Here, father, put your right hand on the firstborn’s head.” 19But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. Manasseh’s descendants will also multiply and become a great people. His younger brother will become even greater than he, and his tribe will one day give rise to many nations.” # 48:19 As the Spirit of Prophecy fell upon Jacob, he knew that it was God’s will to bless and honor Ephraim above his brother Manasseh. Once again, the younger was set above the older and was given a greater blessing and a greater work. Maneuvering is our choosing, our selecting. Blessing is God’s choice. It had taken Jacob a lifetime to learn this lesson: It is far better to wait until the blessing of God is seen and give up our maneuvering to have our own way.
20So Jacob blessed them that day, saying,
“Israel will use your names when they pronounce blessings!
They will say, ‘May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh!’ ” # 48:20 Ephraim and Manasseh became strong leaders in Israel. Their descendants multiplied and grew mighty. Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim, and so was Jeroboam. The tribe of Manasseh was divided after the conquest with one half on one side of the Jordan and the other half on the other side of the river. Jacob, foreseeing this division would weaken the tribe, “crossed” his arms! This blessing spoken by Jacob endured and still endures. When the Lord blesses, no one can revoke it (see Num. 23:8, 20). Jacob’s hands that had deceived and grasped what was not his now became the hands that blessed out of an overflow of life. The “heel grabber” became the “blessing giver.” The day will come when this transformation will take place in you as well.
So the crossing of his arms during Jacob’s blessing put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. 21Then Israel said to Joseph, “Son, I will die soon, but God’s presence will go with you, and one day, he will take you back to the land of your ancestors. 22I give you one mountain slope more than your brothers, the mountain slope of Shechem, the fertile region I took from the Amorites with my own sword and my own bow.” # 48:22 The Hebrew text is somewhat ambiguous, for the word for “mountain slope” can also mean “Shechem.” The translator has chosen to leave both possibilities in the text. Additionally, it may be a reference to Mt. Gerizim, which stands above Shechem. The implication is that because Joseph was raised up, he would inherit the higher ground.
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