Manasseh and Ephraim
1Some time later Joseph was told, ‘Your father is ill.’ So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. 2When Jacob was told, ‘Your son Joseph has come to you,’ Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.
3Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty#3Hebrew El-Shaddai appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 4and said to me, “I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.”
5‘Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. 6Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers. 7As I was returning from Paddan,#7That is, North-west Mesopotamia to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath’ (that is, Bethlehem).
8When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, ‘Who are these?’
9‘They are the sons God has given me here,’ Joseph said to his father.
Then Israel said, ‘Bring them to me so that I may bless them.’
10Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.
11Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.’
12Then Joseph removed them from Israel’s knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right towards Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left towards Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. 14But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.
15Then he blessed Joseph and said,
‘May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life to this day,
16the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
– may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
on the earth.’
17When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18Joseph said to him, ‘No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.’
19But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.’ 20He blessed them that day and said,
‘In your#20The Hebrew is singular. name will Israel pronounce this blessing:
“May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.”’
So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
21Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘I am about to die, but God will be with you#21aThe Hebrew is plural. and take you#21bThe Hebrew is plural. back to the land of your#21cThe Hebrew is plural. fathers. 22And to you I give one more ridge of land#22The Hebrew for ridge of land is identical with the place name Shechem. than to your brothers, the ridge I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.’
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