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Genesis 48

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).
48
Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh
1And it happened that after these things, it was said to Joseph, “Behold, your father is ill.” And he took his two sons with him, Ephraim and Manasseh. 2And it was told to Jacob, “Behold, your son Joseph has come to you.” Then Israel strengthened himself and he sat up in the bed. 3Then Jacob said to Joseph, “El-Shaddai#Often translated “God Almighty” appeared to me in Luz, in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, 4and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and make you numerous, and will make you a company of nations. And I will give this land to your offspring after you as an everlasting possession.’ 5And now, your two sons who were born to you in the land of Egypt before my coming to you in Egypt, are mine. Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine as Reuben and Simeon are. 6And your children whom you father after them shall be yours. By the name of their brothers they shall be called, with respect to their inheritance. 7As for me, when I came to Paddan-Aram Rachel died to my sorrow#Literally “to me” in the land of Canaan on the way when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath. And I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” 8When Israel saw the sons of Joseph he said, “Who are these?” 9Then Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Please bring them to me that I may bless them.” 10Now the eyes of Israel were dim#Or “heavy” (i.e., his eyelids were heavy; his eyes were closed) on account of old age; he was not able to see. So he brought them near to him, and he kissed them and embraced them. 11And Israel said to Joseph, “I did not expect to see your face and behold, God has also shown me your offspring.” 12Then Joseph removed them from his knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13And Joseph took the two of them, Ephraim at his right to the left of Israel, and Manasseh at his left to the right of Israel. And he brought them near to him. 14And Israel stretched out his right hand and put it on the head of Ephraim (now he was the younger), and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15And he blessed Joseph and said,
“The God before whom my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, walked,
The God who shepherded me all my life#Literally “since my duration” unto this day,
16The angel who redeemed me from all evil,
may he bless the boys.
And through them let my name be perpetuated,#Or “called”
and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac.
And let them multiply into many in the midst of the earth.
17When Joseph saw that his father put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, he was displeased. And he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from the head of Ephraim over to the head of Manasseh. 18And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father; because this one is the firstborn. Put your right hand upon his head.” 19But his father refused and said, “I know, my son; I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great, but his younger brother shall be greater than him, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.” 20So he blessed them that day, saying,
Through you Israel shall pronounce blessing, saying,
‘May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.’ ”
So he put Ephraim before Manasseh. 21And Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you back to the land of your ancestors.#Or “fathers” 22And I have given to you one slope of land rather than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorites by my sword and with my bow.”