Jacob Blesses Manasseh and Ephraim
1One day not long after this, word came to Joseph, “Your father is failing rapidly.” So Joseph went to visit his father, and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
2When Joseph arrived, Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to see you.” So Jacob#48:2 Hebrew Israel; also in 48:8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 21. See note on 35:21. gathered his strength and sat up in his bed.
3Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty#48:3 Hebrew El-Shaddai. appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. 4He said to me, ‘I will make you fruitful, and I will multiply your descendants. I will make you a multitude of nations. And I will give this land of Canaan to your descendants#48:4 Hebrew seed; also in 48:19. after you as an everlasting possession.’
5“Now I am claiming as my own sons these two boys of yours, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born here in the land of Egypt before I arrived. They will be my sons, just as Reuben and Simeon are. 6But any children born to you in the future will be your own, and they will inherit land within the territories of their brothers Ephraim and Manasseh.
7“Long ago, as I was returning from Paddan-aram,#48:7 Hebrew Paddan, referring to Paddan-aram; compare Gen 35:9. Rachel died in the land of Canaan. We were still on the way, some distance from Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). So with great sorrow I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath.”
8Then Jacob looked over at the two boys. “Are these your sons?” he asked.
9“Yes,” Joseph told him, “these are the sons God has given me here in Egypt.”
And Jacob said, “Bring them closer to me, so I can bless them.”
10Jacob was half blind because of his age and could hardly see. So Joseph brought the boys close to him, and Jacob kissed and embraced them. 11Then Jacob said to Joseph, “I never thought I would see your face again, but now God has let me see your children, too!”
12Joseph moved the boys, who were at their grandfather’s knees, and he bowed with his face to the ground. 13Then he positioned the boys in front of Jacob. With his right hand he directed Ephraim toward Jacob’s left hand, and with his left hand he put Manasseh at Jacob’s right hand. 14But Jacob crossed his arms as he reached out to lay his hands on the boys’ heads. He put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, though he was the younger boy, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, though he was the firstborn. 15Then he blessed Joseph and said,
“May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham
and my father, Isaac, walked—
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life, to this very day,
16the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm—
may he bless these boys.
May they preserve my name
and the names of Abraham and Isaac.
And may their descendants multiply greatly
throughout the earth.”
17But Joseph was upset when he saw that his father placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head. So Joseph lifted it to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18“No, my father,” he said. “This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.”
19But his father refused. “I know, my son; I know,” he replied. “Manasseh will also become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater. And his descendants will become a multitude of nations.”
20So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: “The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing. They will say, ‘May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh.’” In this way, Jacob put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
21Then Jacob said to Joseph, “Look, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will take you back to Canaan, the land of your ancestors. 22And beyond what I have given your brothers, I am giving you an extra portion of the land#48:22 Or an extra ridge of land. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. that I took from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”
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Blessings for Manasseh and Ephraim
1Some time later Joseph learned that his father was very sick. So he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and went to his father. 2When Joseph arrived, someone told Israel, “Your son Joseph has come to see you.” Israel was very weak, but he tried hard and sat up in his bed.
3Then Israel said to Joseph, “God All-Powerful appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan. God blessed me there. 4He said to me, ‘I will make you a great family. I will give you many children and you will be a great people. Your family will own this land forever.’ 5Now you have two sons. These two sons were born here in the country of Egypt before I came. Your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, will be like my own sons. They will be like Reuben and Simeon to me. 6So these two boys will be my sons. They will share in everything I own. But if you have other sons, they will be your sons. But they will also be like sons to Ephraim and Manasseh—that is, in the future, they will share in everything that Ephraim and Manasseh own. 7On the trip from Paddan Aram, Rachel died in the land of Canaan. This made me very sad. We were still traveling toward Ephrath. I buried her there on the road to Ephrath.” (Ephrath is Bethlehem.)
8Then Israel saw Joseph’s sons. Israel said, “Who are these boys?”
9Joseph said to his father, “These are my sons. These are the boys God gave me.”
Israel said, “Bring your sons to me. I will bless them.”
10Israel was old and his eyes were not good. So Joseph brought the boys close to his father. Israel kissed and hugged the boys. 11Then Israel said to Joseph, “I never thought I would see your face again. But look! God has let me see you and your children.”
12Then Joseph took the boys off Israel’s lap, and they bowed down in front of his father. 13Joseph put Ephraim on his right side and Manasseh on his left side. (So Ephraim was on Israel’s left side, and Manasseh was on Israel’s right side.) 14But Israel crossed his hands and put his right hand on the head of the younger boy Ephraim. Then he put his left hand on Manasseh, even though Manasseh was the firstborn. 15And Israel blessed Joseph and said,
“My ancestors, Abraham and Isaac, worshiped our God,
and that God has led me all my life.
16He was the Angel who saved me from all my troubles.
And I pray that he will bless these boys.
Now they will have my name
and the name of our ancestors, Abraham and Isaac.
I pray that they will grow to become great families and nations
17Joseph saw that his father put his right hand on Ephraim’s head. This didn’t make Joseph happy. Joseph took his father’s hand because he wanted to move it from Ephraim’s head and put it on Manasseh’s head. 18Joseph said to his father, “You have your right hand on the wrong boy. Manasseh is the firstborn. Put your right hand on him.”
19But his father refused and said, “I know, son. I know. Manasseh is the firstborn. He will be great and will be the father of many people. But his younger brother will be greater than he is. And the younger brother’s family will be much larger.”
20So Israel blessed them that day. He said,
“The Israelites will use your names
whenever they bless someone.
They will say, ‘May God make you
like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”
In this way Israel made Ephraim greater than Manasseh.
21Then Israel said to Joseph, “Look, my time to die is almost here, but God will still be with you. He will lead you back to the land of your ancestors. 22I have given you one portion more than I gave to your brothers. I gave you the land that I won from the Amorites. I used my sword and bow to take that land.”
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