27 Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were
fruitful and increased greatly in number.
lived in Egypt
seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. 29 When
the time drew near for Israel
to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in
your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me
kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt,
30 but when I rest with my fathers,
carry me out of Egypt
and bury me where they are buried.”
“I will do
as you say,” he said.
to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on
the top of his staff.
48 Some time later Joseph
was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim
along with him. 2 When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has
come to you,” Israel
rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.
said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan,
and there he blessed me 4 and said to me, ‘I am going to make you
fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and
I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after
then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be
reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon
are mine. 6 Any children born to you after them will
be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names
of their brothers. 7 As I was
returning from Padda, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we
were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there
beside the road to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).
saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, “Who are these?”
are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father.
Then Israel said,
“Bring them to me so I may bless them.”
eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought
his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.
11 Israel said to
Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to
see your children too.”
Joseph removed them from Israel’s
knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 And
Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left
right hand, and brought them close to him. 14 But
Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was
the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head,
even though Manasseh was the firstborn.
he blessed Joseph and said,
the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life to this day,
16 the Angel who has delivered me
from all harm
—may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
on the earth.”
Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was
displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head
to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this
one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”
his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a
people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be
greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” 20 He
blessed them that day and said,
your name will Israel
pronounce this blessing:
‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”
So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back
to the land of your fathers. 22 And to you I give one more ridge of land
than to your brothers, the ridge I took from the Amorites with my sword and my
Jacob had absolute
confidence not only that God would one day take back his descendants to Canaan but also give to them the land for an everlasting
inheritance. His instructions concerning
his burial indicate his absolute
confidence in God’s promise concerning Canaan.
To the Eastern people, the place of one’s burial is all-important. Always, and
at any cost, he must be buried in the midst of his own family at their
permanent dwelling place. Therefore when Jacob exacted the promise from Joseph
that he would bury him, not in Egypt where his descendants were to live for
four hundred years more, but in Canaan, this was one of the most practical
proofs which Jacob could have given of his faith that God would give them that
land. He was to be buried in the very grave Abraham had bought in faith where
already Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob’s wife Leah were
When Jacob blessed his favorite
son, Joseph, you might have expected that he would follow his personal
inclination and impart to Joseph the full, threefold right of the firstborn,
which in that day involved the priesthood, the kingship in regard to the family
and the double inheritance.
The fact that Jacob did not do so
reflects Jacob’s self-renunciation of his own wisdom and his reception of
spiritual illumination concerning God’s purpose and place for each member of
the family. In Genesis 49 we’ll see that the headship, the kingship, was given
to Judah (Leah’s fourth son) from whom Jesus came. And the priesthood was given
However Jacob loved Joseph’s mother
Rachel and he did in a way give Joseph a double inheritance usually reserved
for the first-born. Instead of Joseph’s line being continued through one son,
Jacob adopts both Manasseh and Ephraim as his own sons on an equal status with
Reuben and Simeon. So instead of Ephraim and Manasseh being just two branches
of one tribe, they become two fully recognized tribes in Israel, and
Joseph’s own name was dropped. Thus, Rachel, became the mother of three tribes:
Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin.
When Jacob gave precedence to
Ephraim, it was in tune with one of the most striking features of the book of
Genesis. The passing over the firstborn and giving place to the sovereign
choice of God. Remember it was thru Seth not Cain that God’s seed is chosen.
Isaac, not Ishmael. Jacob not Esau,
A commentator wrote, “Thus did God
display His sovereignty and prevent anyone imagining that His blessings
necessarily follow the line of natural privilege. God has again and again
chosen the weak things of the earth, and even those that are despised, to set
at naught those that are mighty. Grace is sovereign, and by no means follows,
but sometimes opposes the course of nature.”
The tiny nation of Israel among
the great nations of the world illustrates this principle of God’s sovereign
choice, which is often the opposite to man’s wisdom and selection.
Jacob had come a long way. Remember
he stole Esau’s birth rite? He was cunning, a schemer. But from the time God
met him at Bethel,
Jacob never wavered in his open profession of faith nor in his loyalty to the
God he served. Angels conversed with him. He wrestled with God face to face
until God broke something in Jacob and transformed those basic traits of
caution and fear into the confident trust and patience developed during the
further suffering of Jacob-Israel. Gradually he grew to recognize the
protecting care of a loving Father over himself and his family. Even though he
couldn’t escape the mortal consequences of his early sins, which saddened him,
and even though he suffered during domestic upheavals, family treachery and
filial disobedience in his middle years, he patiently endured these trials. He
kept alive the basic tenets of faith in God and certain standards of
righteousness within his family during a turbulent age when divine revelations
were few and far between. God graciously enlightened Jacob’s old age.
This shows us that God takes us
just as we are and loves us while we are yet sinners. Then He molds us
according to His design. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to
completion until the day of Christ Jesus’. (Philippians 1:6)
In chapter 49 Jacob blesses all of
his sons. And you can really trace this back to Genesis 3:15 which says, “And I will put enmity between you and
the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
This is where God describes the
course of two lines of humanity – two seeds within the world at enmity. One
line was the seed of the woman ultimately producing Christ Himself. And this
line unfolds in fuller and fuller detail in the Old Testament. Noah’s story,
Abraham’s story, Isaac’s and Jacob’s. Jacob ended the patriarchal line. The
purposes, promises and prophecy of God will now be continued through the
combined twelve sons of Jacob who form the twelve tribes or nation of Israel.
When Jacob blesses his sons in this
chapter he also sketches the outlines of their future history. Each prophecy is
based on Jacob’s clear perception of the present character and individual
traits of his sons. Joseph’s faithfulness. Reuben’s instability for example.
Jacob was given this insight from the Holy Spirit and because of this we can
see that the future of the twelve tribes was shaped from human character and
choice as well as diving predestination.
AND – the pivotal center of the
predictions is Christ! If the Holy Spirit hadn’t been involved Jacob would have
probably made his blessing centered on his favorite son Joseph. But it’s on Judah. He sees
the seed coming from Judah
that will bless the nations.
Each prophecy is written in the
form of highly symbolic poetry. A great deal of prophecy in the Bible is. Think
Labels: book of Genesis, Genesis