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Genesis 48

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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).
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CHAPTER 48
1And so when these things were done, it was told to Joseph, that his father was sick. And he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and he disposed him to go.
2And it was said to the eld [or old] man, Lo! thy son Joseph cometh to thee; which was comforted, and sat up in the bed.
3And when Joseph entered to him, he said, Almighty God appeared to me in Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
4and said, I shall increase thee, and multiply thee, and I shall make thee into companies of peoples, and I shall give to thee this land, and to thy seed after thee, into everlasting possession.
5Therefore thy two sons, that be born to thee in the land of Egypt, before that I came hither to thee, shall be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, as Reuben and Simeon, shall be areckoned to me;
6forsooth the others which thou shalt beget after them shall be thine; and they shall be called by the name of their brethren in their possessions.
7Forsooth when I came from Mesopotamia, Rachel was dead to me in the land of Canaan, in that way; and it was the beginning of summer; and before that I entered into Ephratah, and I buried her beside the way of Ephratah, which by another name is called Bethlehem.
8Forsooth Jacob saw the sons of Joseph, and said to him, Who be these?
9He answered, They be my sons, which God gave me in this place. Jacob said, Bring them to me, that I bless them.
10For the eyes of Israel dimmed for great eld age, and he might not see clearly; and he kissed and embraced those children joined to him,
11and he said to his son, I am not defrauded of thy sight; furthermore God hath showed to me thy seed.
12And when Joseph had taken them from his father’s lap, he worshipped or honoured low to the earth.
13And he set Ephraim on his right side, that is, on the left side of Israel; forsooth he set Manasseh on his left side, that is, on the right side of his father; and he joined both to him.
14Which held forth the right hand, and laid it on Ephraim’s head, the younger brother; soothly he laid his left hand on Manasseh’s head, that was the more through birth. Jacob changed his hands,
15and blessed his son Joseph#48:15 In blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob was in fact blessing Joseph. (Good News Bible), and said, God, in whose sight my fathers Abraham and Isaac went; God that feedeth me from my young waxing age till into this present day;
16the angel that delivered me from all evils, bless these children, and my name be called on them, and the names of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac; and wax they in multitude on earth.
17Forsooth Joseph saw that his father had set [or put] his right hand on the head of Ephraim, and he took that heavily, and he enforced or endeavoured him to raise his father’s hand, and take it from the head of Ephraim, and to bear it over upon the head of Manasseh.
18And Joseph said to his father, Father, it accordeth not so; for this is the first begotten; set [or put] thy right hand on his head.
19Which forsook to do so, and said, I know, my son, I know; and soothly this child shall be into peoples, and he shall be multiplied; but his younger brother shall be more than he, and his seed shall increase into a multitude of folks.
20And he blessed them in that time, and said, Israel shall be blessed in thee, and it shall be said, God do to thee as to Ephraim and as to Manasseh. And he set Ephraim before Manasseh;
21and Jacob said to Joseph, his son, Lo! I die, and God shall be with you, and shall lead you again to the land of your fathers;
22I give to thee one part over thy brethren, which I took from the hand of Amorite, in my sword and bow.