Jacob blesses Joseph's sons
1After some time, someone told Joseph, ‘Your father is ill.’ So Joseph went to see Jacob and he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, with him. 2Someone told Jacob, ‘Your son Joseph has come to see you.’ Jacob's body became stronger and he sat up on the bed. 3Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz, in Canaan. God blessed me there. 4He said to me, “I will give you many children, so that your descendants are many. In that way, you will become the ancestor of many nations. I will give this land to you so that it belongs to your descendants for ever.” ’
5Jacob continued to say to Joseph, ‘You have two sons that were born to you in Egypt before I came here. They will become my own sons. Ephraim and Manasseh will be my sons, just as Reuben and Simeon are my sons. #48:5 Ephraim and Manasseh became ancestors of two of the 12 Israelite tribes. 6Any children born to you after them will be your own children. They will receive part of the land that belongs to their brothers, Ephraim and Manasseh.
7As for me, I was very sad when your mother Rachel died on our journey from Paddan. She died near to Ephrath. So I buried her there, next to the road to Ephrath (that is now called Bethlehem).’
8Joseph brought Ephraim and Manasseh to his father, Jacob. Jacob asked him, ‘Who are these boys?’ 9Joseph replied, ‘They are the sons that God has given to me here in Egypt.’ Then Israel said, ‘Bring them near to me so that I can bless them.’
10Jacob's eyes had become weak because he was very old. He was almost blind. So Joseph brought his sons near to his father. His father kissed them and he hugged them. 11Jacob said to Joseph, ‘I never thought that I would see you again. But now God has let me see your children too.’
12Then Joseph removed his sons from Jacob's knees. He bent down low, with his face towards the ground. 13He took his two sons near to Jacob. With his right hand, he put Ephraim beside Jacob's left hand. With his left hand, he put Manasseh beside Jacob's right hand. #48:13 Manasseh was Joseph's firstborn son. This son usually received the blessing from his father. The father put his right hand on the head of the son who would receive his blessing.
14Jacob then put out his right hand. But he put it on Ephraim's head, even though Ephraim was the younger son. Jacob crossed his arms so that he put his left hand on Manasseh's head. Manasseh was Joseph's firstborn son.
15Then Jacob blessed Joseph. He said,
‘May God bless these two boys.
He is the God that my ancestors, Abraham and Isaac, served.
Like a shepherd takes care of his sheep,
God has taken care of me all my life, until this day.
16He is the Angel who has kept me safe. #48:16 God appeared to Jacob as an angel. See Genesis 32:29.
I pray that he will bless these boys.
I pray that, because of them, people will remember my name,
and the names of my ancestors, Abraham and Isaac.
I pray that they will have many descendants who live all over the earth.’
17Joseph saw that his father had put his right hand on Ephraim's head. This made Joseph upset. So he took hold of his father's right hand. He moved it from Ephraim's head on to Manasseh's head. 18Joseph said to Jacob, ‘No, my father. This boy is the firstborn son. Put your right hand on his head.’
19But Jacob refused to change. He said, ‘I know, my son. I know what I am doing. Manasseh will also have many descendants who become a great nation. But his younger brother, Ephraim, will become even greater. Ephraim's descendants will become many great nations.’
20So Jacob blessed both of Joseph's sons that day. He said, ‘In your name Israel's people will give this blessing:
“May God be good to you, just like he was to Ephraim and Manasseh.” ’ #48:20 Jacob is saying that God will do good things for Ephraim and Manasseh. And people will remember how good God was to them.
In this way, Jacob put Ephraim before Manasseh when he blessed them.
21Then Jacob said to Joseph, ‘I will die soon. But God will be with you. He will take you back to the land where your ancestors lived. 22I give to you more than I give to your brothers. I give to you the good part of the land that I took from the Amorites. #48:22 Jacob is giving to Joseph an extra part of the land of Canaan. I fought against them with my weapons to take that land.’