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Genesis 48

48
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.”
48
1#Jacob continues his preparations for death. In a scene that evokes the nearly blind Isaac blessing Jacob and Esau (chap. 27), Jacob blesses Joseph’s two sons. He adopts them, elevating them to a status equal to that of Jacob’s first sons Reuben and Simeon (cf. 1 Chr 5:1). The adoption is one more instance of Jacob’s favoring Rachel and those born of her. The mention of Jacob’s failing eyesight and his selection of the younger son over the older evokes the great deathbed scene in chap. 27. He reaffirms to Joseph the ancient divine promise of progeny and land. Some time afterward, Joseph was informed, “Your father is failing.” So he took along with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up in bed.
3#Gn 28:12–15; 35:6. Jacob then said to Joseph: “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz#Luz: an older name of Bethel (28:19). in the land of Canaan, and blessing me, 4he said, ‘I will make you fertile and multiply you and make you into an assembly of peoples, and I will give this land to your descendants after you as a permanent possession.’ 5So now your two sons who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I joined you here, shall be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine as much as Reuben and Simeon are mine. 6Progeny born to you after them shall remain yours; but their heritage shall be recorded in the names of their brothers. 7#Gn 35:19. I do this because, when I was returning from Paddan, your mother Rachel died, to my sorrow, during the journey in Canaan, while we were still a short distance from Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath [now Bethlehem].”#Since her early death prevented Rachel from bearing more than two sons, Jacob feels justified in treating her two grandsons as if they were her own offspring.
8When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he asked, “Who are these?” 9“They are my sons,” Joseph answered his father, “whom God has given me here.” “Bring them to me,” said his father, “that I may bless them.” 10Now Israel’s eyes were dim from age; he could not see well. When Joseph brought his sons close to him, he kissed and embraced them. 11Then Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your descendants as well!”
12Joseph removed them from his father’s knees and bowed down before him with his face to the ground. 13Then Joseph took the two, Ephraim with his right hand, to Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand, to Israel’s right, and brought them up to him. 14But Israel, crossing his hands, put out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, although he was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, although he was the firstborn. 15Then he blessed them with these words:
“May the God in whose presence
my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has been my shepherd
from my birth to this day,#Heb 11:21.
16The angel who has delivered me from all harm,
bless these boys
That in them my name be recalled,
and the names of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac,
And they may become teeming multitudes
upon the earth!”
17When Joseph saw that his father had laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, this seemed wrong to him; so he took hold of his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s, 18saying, “That is not right, father; the other one is the firstborn; lay your right hand on his head!” 19But his father refused. “I know it, son,” he said, “I know. That one too shall become a people, and he too shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall surpass him, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” 20So he blessed them that day and said, “By you shall the people of Israel pronounce blessings, saying, ‘God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’” Thus he placed Ephraim before Manasseh.#Heb 11:21.
21Then Israel said to Joseph: “I am about to die. But God will be with you and will restore you to the land of your ancestors. 22#Jos 17:14, 17–18; Jn 4:5. As for me, I give to you, as to the one above his brothers, Shechem, which I captured from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”#Both the meaning of the Hebrew and the historical reference in this verse are obscure. By taking the Hebrew word for Shechem as a common noun meaning shoulder or mountain slope, some translators render the verse, “I give you one portion more than your brothers, which I captured…” The reference may be to the capture of Shechem by the sons of Jacob (34:24–29). Shechem lay near the border separating the tribal territory of Manasseh from that of Ephraim (Jos 16:4–9; 17:1–2, 7).