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Genesis 48

48
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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