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Genesis Forty Eight

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Genesis 48:1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

Genesis 48:2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.

Genesis 48:3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,

Genesis 48:4 And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.

Genesis 48:5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.

Genesis 48:6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.

Genesis 48:7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem.

Genesis 48:8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?

Genesis 48:9 And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.

Genesis 48:10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.

Genesis 48:11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath showed me also thy seed.

Genesis 48:12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.

Genesis 48:13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.

Genesis 48:14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

Genesis 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,

all my life long. Jacob had seen many troubles and afflictions during his 147 years, but God had never forsaken him, just as He had promised (Genesis 28:15). When Jacob testified that God had “fed me,” the concept was that of a shepherd feeding his sheep. This in effect is the first Biblical reference to the Lord as our shepherd.

Genesis 48:16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

The Angel which redeemed me. This verse contains the first mention of the important Biblical word “redeem.” Significantly it attributes the work of redemption to God, not man, and not a sacrificial animal. The “Angel of the Lord” is none other than the pre-incarnate Christ (see note on Genesis 16:7). It must always be stressed, when evaluating other religions, that only Biblical Christianity offers the gospel that can save, for only the Creator Himself is sufficient to accomplish the work of redemption.

Genesis 48:17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head.

Genesis 48:18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

Genesis 48:19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

multitude of nations. The tribe of Ephraim eventually became larger and more important than any of the other tribes except Judah. Its name was even made synonymous with all ten tribes in the northern kingdom when they rebelled against Rehoboam and became a separate nation.

Genesis 48:20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

Genesis 48:21 And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.

Genesis 48:22 Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.

one portion above thy brethren. Although this may refer only to a specific tract of land in Canaan, the principle is here established that Joseph, rather than Reuben, will be granted the birthright (see 1 Chronicles 5:1-2) with its double inheritance, so that Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph's sons, are established as each equal with the other eleven sons of Israel.

Amorite. This incident is not referred to elsewhere in the account of Jacob's life, but that doesn't mean it did not happen. A reasonable explanation might be that an Amorite neighbor of Jacob's had attacked him, but that Jacob defeated and slew his attacker, thereby acquiring possession of his land. This particular portion he wanted to reserve for Joseph's inheritance in addition to the ultimate twelve-fold division of the land. It is likely that this is “the parcel of ground” referred to in John 4:5.