(Gen 48:1 NASB) Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is sick.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him.
Gen 48:1: This is the first reference to illness in Scripture. We are not told how much time passed, but it was years.
The individual blessings of Israel on his children and the two children of Joseph have significance for the historical development and have prophetic implications also.
(Gen 48:2 NASB) When it was told to Jacob, “Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed.
Gen 48:2: Jacob was very old at this time. He is near the time of his death and is probably 147 years old or so. He has lost most of his sight and cannot see well at all. But he does muster up the strength to sit up to speak to Joseph and his two sons.
(Gen 48:3 NASB) Then Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me,
Gen 48:3: Luz is the original name of Bethel (Gen. 28:19). He is referring to the dream he had about the stairway leading to heaven.
(Gen 48:4 NASB) and He said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.’
Gen 48:4: Notice the wording of this promise. “I will make you fruitful and numerous and I will make you a company (or multitude) of people.” There are two parts to this promise. Elohim promised to make him fruitful and numerous is the first part. But then Elohim promises to make of him a multitude of people. That multitude will include all nationalities from all over the world (Amos 9:11-15).
And after Elohim multiplies him, Elohim will give this land as an everlasting possession. This is His promise which is forever (Gen. 17:8).
(Gen 48:5 NASB) “And now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are.
(Gen 48:6 NASB) “But your offspring that have been born after them shall be yours; they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance.
Gen 48:6: Jacob is adopting Ephraim and Manasseh. They were the sons born to Joseph while he was in Egypt before Israel and Joseph were reunited.
Jacob wishes for Joseph to have a double inheritance. He does this by bypassing Joseph and adopting his two sons.
(Gen 48:7 NASB) “Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”
Gen 48:7: Rachel died in Canaan and was buried in Bethlehem. The Apostle Matthew spoke that Rachel (symbolizing mothers in Israel) wept over the death of their young sons in Bethlehem and Ramah due to the atrocities of Herod (Matt. 2:16-18).
(Gen 48:8 NASB) When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?”
(Gen 48:9 NASB) And Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” So he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.”
Gen 48:9: Jacob trusts his son. Israel knows that Joseph will be truthful to him, unlike he was to his father, Isaac, in a similar situation.
(Gen 48:10 NASB) Now the eyes of Israel were so dim from age that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them.
(Gen 48:11 NASB) And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.”
Gen 48:11: Jacob knows the blessings of Elohim are abundant in nature. Jacob would have died happily if he only could have seen Joseph alive again. He not only spent the last seventeen years of his life with Joseph, but with Joseph’s two sons as well.
(Gen 48:12 NASB) Then Joseph took them from his knees, and bowed with his face to the ground.
Gen 48:12: Joseph was the second most powerful man in Egypt. But that did not keep him from giving his father the reverence he deserved. This is an ancient Egyptian custom and is still honored today.
(Gen 48:13 NASB) And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him.
(Gen 48:14 NASB) But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the first-born.
Gen 48:14: Joseph brought his sons to his father so that the right hand, the one that is symbolic of action and power, would rest on the older one (Manasseh). But Jacob, knowing full well that was the case, crossed his arms so his right hand landed on Ephraim’s head.
The physical contact between the donor and recipient of the blessing heightens the sense of intimacy and emotion.
(Gen 48:15 NASB) And he blessed Joseph, and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
(Gen 48:16 NASB) The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; And may my name live on in them, And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
Gen 48:16: In speaking of the “Angel” he is referring to the manifestation of Elohim with whom he wrestled with (Hosea 12:4-5).
(Gen 48:17 NASB) When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.
(Gen 48:18 NASB) And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the first-born. Place your right hand on his head.”
(Gen 48:19 NASB) But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know; he also shall become a people and he also shall be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”
Gen 48:19: Joseph thought his father made a mistake because he is old and his eyesight is failing. But Israel corrects him by saying that this is what he intended. He informs Joseph that Elohim has chosen a course of action from which they could not deviate.
(Gen 48:20 NASB) And he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel shall pronounce blessing, saying, ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!'” Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.
Gen 48:20: Ephraim and Manasseh were large tribes. Joshua came from the tribe of Ephraim (Num. 13:8).
(Gen 48:21 NASB) Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your fathers.
Gen 48:21: Joseph did rest in the land of his fathers over 400 years later. Moses brought the bones of Joseph out of Egypt and the men of Israel buried him in the land of his father (Josh. 24:32).
(Gen 48:22 NASB) “And I give you one portion more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.”
Gen 48:22: Apparently Jacob is referring to the Amorites who were circumcised by some of Jacob’s sons and then they killed them and plundered their land. Jacob is taking responsibility for his sons actions.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2015 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas