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Genesis 48

48
Chapter 48
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 am going to 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.’
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.”