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.”