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Genesis 48

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 Jacob, also called Israel, “Your son Joseph has come to see you.” Jacob was weak. So he used all his strength and sat up on his bed.
3Then Jacob 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 give you many children. I will make you the father of many peoples. And I will give your descendants this land forever.’ 5Your two sons were born here in Egypt before I came. They will be counted as my own sons. Ephraim and Manasseh will be my sons just as Reuben and Simeon are my sons. 6But if you have other children, they will be your own. But their land will be part of the land given to Ephraim and Manasseh. 7When I came from Northwest Mesopotamia, Rachel died in the land of Canaan. We were traveling toward Ephrath. This made me very sad. I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath.” (Today Ephrath is Bethlehem.)
8Then Israel saw Joseph’s sons. He said, “Who are these boys?”
9Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons. God has given them to me here in Egypt.”
Israel said, “Bring your sons to me so I may bless them.”
10At this time Israel’s eyesight was bad because he was old. So Joseph brought the boys close to him. Israel kissed the boys and put his arms around them. 11He said to Joseph, “I thought I would never see you alive again. And now God has let me see you and also your children.” 12Then Joseph moved his sons off Israel’s lap. Joseph bowed facedown to the ground. 13He put Ephraim on his right side and Manasseh on his left. (So Ephraim was near Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh was near Israel’s right hand.) Joseph brought the boys close to Israel. 14But Israel crossed his arms. He put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, who was younger. He put his left hand on the head of Manasseh. But he was the firstborn son. 15And Israel blessed Joseph and said,
“My ancestors Abraham and Isaac served our God.
And like a shepherd God has led me all my life.
16He was the Angel who saved me from all my troubles.
Now I pray that he will bless these boys.
May my name be known through these boys.
And may the names of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac be known through them.
May they have many descendants on the earth.”
17Joseph saw that his father put his right hand on Ephraim’s head. Joseph didn’t like it. So he took hold of his father’s hand. He wanted to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18Joseph said to his father, “You are doing it wrong, Father. Manasseh is the firstborn son. Put your right hand on his head.”
19But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. Manasseh will be great and have many descendants. But his younger brother will be greater. And his descendants will be enough to make a nation.”
20So Israel blessed them that day. He said,
“When a blessing is given in Israel, they will say:
‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”
In this way he made Ephraim greater than Manasseh.
21Then Israel said to Joseph, “Look at me. I am about to die. But God will be with you. He will take you back to the land of your fathers. 22I have given you something that I did not give your brothers. I have given you the land of Shechem that I took from the Amorite people. I took it with my sword and my bow.”
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.”