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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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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,

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Commentary for Genesis 48

Joseph visits his dying father. (1-7) Jacob blesses Joseph's sons. (8-22)1-7 The death-beds of believers, with the prayers and counsels of dying persons, are suited to make serious impressions upon the young, the gay, and the prosperous: we shall do well to take children on such occasions, when it can be done properly. If the Lord please, it is very desirable to bear our dying testimony to his truth, to his faithfulness, and the pleasantness of his ways. And one would wish so to live, as to give energy and weight to our dying exhortations. All true believers are blessed at their death, but all do not depart equally full of spiritual consolations. Jacob adopted Joseph's two sons. Let them not succeed their father, in his power and grandeur in Egypt; but let them succeed in the inheritance of the promise made to Abraham. Thus the aged dying patriarch teaches these young persons to take their lot with the people of God. He appoints each of them to be the head of a tribe. Those are worthy of double honour, who, through God's grace, break through the temptations of worldly wealth and preferment, to embrace religion in disgrace and poverty. Jacob will have Ephraim and Manasseh to know, that it is better to be low, and in the church, than high, and out of it.

8-22 The two good men own God in their comforts. Joseph says, They are my sons whom God has given me. Jacob says, God hath showed me thy seed. Comforts are doubly sweet to us when we see them coming from God's hand. He not only prevents our fears, but exceeds our hopes. Jacob mentions the care the Divine providence had taken of him all his days. A great deal of hardship he had known in his time, but God kept him from the evil of his troubles. Now he was dying, he looked upon himself as redeemed from all sin and sorrow for ever. Christ, the Angel of the covenant, redeems from all evil. Deliverances from misery and dangers, by the Divine power, coming through the ransom of the blood of Christ, in Scripture are often called redemption. In blessing Joseph's sons, Jacob crossed hands. Joseph was willing to support his first-born, and would have removed his father's hands. But Jacob acted neither by mistake, nor from a partial affection to one more than the other; but from a spirit of prophecy, and by the Divine counsel. God, in bestowing blessings upon his people, gives more to some than to others, more gifts, graces, and comforts, and more of the good things of this life. He often gives most to those that are least likely. He chooses the weak things of the world; he raises the poor out of the dust. Grace observes not the order of nature, nor does God prefer those whom we think fittest to be preferred, but as it pleases him. How poor are they who have no riches but those of this world! How miserable is a death-bed to those who have no well-grounded hope of good, but dreadful apprehensions of evil, and nothing but evil for ever!

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Genesis 48

  • Robby on Genesis 48
    Anybody notice when Israel blessed Joseph's two sons he had to CROSS his forearms to do so?
  • BSP on Genesis 48
    Verse 19- Jacob knew that the younger of Joseph’s sons would be greater because Jehovah God is able to foretell the future and reveal it to his servants.
  • Jo on Genesis 48
    In a case that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Cannan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying place. Gen 49:30. There they buried Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah. Jacob was buried there also, Gen 30:13. Rachel was not, she was buried Ephrath the same as Bethlehem.
  • A disciple on Genesis 48
    Abraham, Isaac, Israel, and Joseph were Prophets: the family created and chosen by God to be His own special people above all people of the earth; and through whom He would bless all nations; is the House of the Testimony of Jesus Christ; Rev. 19:10. The race of Israel was created for a sign and wonder to the world for God giving the Saviour of the world; to the Jew first, and also to the Nations.
  • ELANGOVAN on Genesis 48
    Verse 11: Israel had an impression that his son Joseph is dead and he can't see his son no more; But God made Israel to see his not only his own son but also his children. This conveys a spiritual meaning that when we think that we have lost everything in our Life, GOD is able to not only to restore the lost one but also HE is able to give more than what we could think.
  • Esther on Genesis 48
    God does not consender the age or what people will say but He does what He considers best to us us all
  • Dewey J on Genesis 48
    Donna, it is not true that the youngest person always get the most blessings. It is God 's providence that determine the person to receive the most blessings because he and only he knows what any person will be or become according to the use of God 's grace. Rom. 9:15 says, "For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion ". God bless us all also in the understanding of his Word. Glory be to Jehovah in the highest through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen!
  • Donna George on Genesis 48
    This is the 2nd time the second born was blessed with more bounty is the younger one the one that gets the more blessing always?
  • Stanjett - in Reply on Genesis 48
    I have heard this from others also that the 2nd born gets the most blessings. This is not so. Some 1st born gets the most and some 2nd born. Jesus was the first born. But if you think about it, when we are saved we are born again which would be our second time to be born.
  • Rob on Genesis 48
    @ Lisa: Just a word of encouragement, I'm a 35 year old man who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 5... I've dealt with this for 30 years and I'm very healthy now, in fact, my body hasn't deteriorated and they changed my diagnosis in 2004 to Becker Muscular Dystrophy because it is not as aggressive... I KNOW that God is going to heal my body completely so continue to believe for that miracle you seek and stay in the word of God, He will NEVER steer you wrong... My prayers are with you, Godspeed!!


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What are the names of Joseph's two sons?
  • Zohar and Shaul
  • Ephraim and Manasseh
  • Hanoch and Phallu
  • Eri and Arodi