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Genesis 48

48
Ephraim and Manasseh
1Some time later Joseph was told, “Your father is sick.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. 2Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you.” So Israel became stronger and sat up in bed.
3Jacob said to Joseph, “The Mighty God appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan. He blessed me there. 4He said to me, ‘I am going to give you children. I will make your family very large. I will make you a community of nations. And I will give this land to your children after you. It will belong to them forever.’
5“Now then, two sons were born to you in Egypt. It happened before I came to you here. They will be counted as my own sons. Ephraim and Manasseh will belong to me, in the same way that Reuben and Simeon belong to me. 6Any children born to you after them will belong to you. Any territory they receive will come from the land that will be given to Ephraim and Manasseh. 7As I was returning from Paddan, Rachel died. It made me very sad. She died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way. We weren’t very far away from Ephrath. So I buried her body there beside the road to Ephrath.” Ephrath was also called Bethlehem.
8Israel saw Joseph’s sons. He asked, “Who are they?”
9“They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father.
Then Israel said, “Bring them to me. I want to give them my blessing.”
10Israel’s eyes were weak because he was old. He couldn’t see very well. So Joseph brought his sons close to him. His father kissed them and hugged them.
11Israel said to Joseph, “I never thought I’d see your face again. But now God has let me see your children too.”
12Then Joseph lifted his sons off Israel’s knees. Joseph bowed down with his face to the ground. 13He placed Ephraim on his right, toward Israel’s left hand. He placed Manasseh on his left, toward Israel’s right hand. Then he brought them close to Israel. 14But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head. He did it even though Ephraim was the younger son. He crossed his arms and put his left hand on Manasseh’s head. He did it even though Manasseh was the older son.
15Then Israel gave Joseph his blessing. He said,
“May God bless these boys.
He is the God of my grandfather Abraham and my father Isaac.
They walked faithfully with him.
He is the God who has been my shepherd
all my life right up to this day.
16He is the Angel who has saved me from all harm.
May he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name.
May they also be called by the names of my grandfather Abraham and my father Isaac.
And may the number of them greatly increase
on the earth.”
17Joseph saw his father putting his right hand on Ephraim’s head. And Joseph didn’t like it. So he took hold of his father’s hand to move it over to Manasseh’s head. 18Joseph said to him, “No, my father. Here’s my older son. Put your right hand on his head.”
19But his father wouldn’t do it. He said, “I know, my son. I know. He too will become a nation. He too will become great. But his younger brother will be greater than he is. His children after him will become a group of nations.” 20On that day, Jacob gave them his blessing. He said,
“The people of Israel will bless others in your name.
They will say, ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’ ”
So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
21Then Israel said to Joseph, “I’m about to die. But God will be with all of you. He’ll take you back to the land of your fathers. 22But to you, Joseph, I am giving more land than your brothers. I’m giving you the land I took from the Amorites. I took it with my sword and bow.”
48
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
on earth.”
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.”