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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
1After this happened, Joseph was told,#48.1 LXX, Syr, Tg, Vulg; MT he told “Your father is getting weaker,” so he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him. 2When Jacob was informed,#48.2 LXX; MT he informed “Your son Joseph is here now,” he#48.2 Heb Israel pulled himself together and sat up in bed. 3Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty#48.3 Heb El Shaddai or God of the Mountain appeared to me in Luz in the land of Canaan. He blessed me 4and said to me, ‘I am about to give you many children, to increase your numbers, and to make you a large group of peoples. I will give this land to your descendants following you as an enduring possession.’ 5Now, your two sons born to you in the land of Egypt before I arrived in Egypt are my own. Ephraim and Manasseh are just like Reuben and Simeon to me. 6Your family who is born to you after them are yours, but their inheritance will be determined under their brothers’ names. 7When I came back from Paddan-aram,#48.7 Sam, LXX, Syr; MT lacks aram. Rachel died, to my sorrow, on the road in the land of Canaan, with some distance yet to go to Ephrathah, so I buried her there near the road to Ephrathah,#48.7 Sam; MT Ephrath which is Bethlehem.”
8When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?”
9Joseph told his father, “They’re my sons, whom God gave me here.”
Israel said, “Bring them to me and I will bless them.” 10Because Israel’s eyesight had failed from old age and he wasn’t able to see, Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed and embraced them.
11Israel said to Joseph, “I didn’t expect I’d see your face, but now God has shown me your children too.” 12Then Joseph took them from Israel’s knees, and he bowed low with his face to the ground. 13Joseph took both of them, Ephraim in his right hand at Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand at Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. 14But Israel put out his right hand and placed it on the head of Ephraim, the younger one, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands because Manasseh was the oldest son. 15He blessed them#48.15 LXX; MT Joseph and said,
“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked,
may the God who was my shepherd
from the beginning until this day,
16may the divine messenger who protected me from all harm,
bless the young men.
Through them may my name be kept alive
and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac.
May they grow into a great multitude
throughout the land.”
17When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he was upset and grasped his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18Joseph said to his father, “No, my father! This is the oldest son. Put your right hand on his head.”
19But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He’ll become a people too, and he’ll also be great. But his younger brother will be greater than he will, and his descendants will become many nations.” 20Israel blessed them that day, saying,
“Through you, Israel will pronounce blessings, saying,
‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”
So Israel put Ephraim before Manasseh. 21Then Israel said to Joseph, “I’m about to die. God will be with you and return you to the land of your fathers. 22I’m giving you one portion more than to your brothers,#48.22 Heb uncertain a portion that I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”