Genesis 48


“The Gospel According to Torah” 
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Summer Reading 2018 

Reading Week from July 22
Garret Talk Tues July 24
Genesis 43-48: Mon July 23 to Sat July 28 

Saturday July 28: 

Chapter 48

Yaakov’s deathbed according to this primarily Elohist tradition is a scene of deception echoing Yaakov’s earlier deception of his own father Isaac.  Joseph does not deceive his father the deceiver. 

The status of the central tribes of Manasseh (half-tribe on the West Bank, and half-tribe on the far bank of the Jordan) and Ephraim (hill country between Judea and Israel) are clarified by this story. In passing, the compromised claims of Reuben (far side of the Dead Sea, having slept with his father’s maid Bilhah, and equivocated about Joseph’s betrayal) and of Simeon (in the Negev, having presumed to avenge the rape of Tamar, but suffered as hostage in Egypt) are restated.    

Yaakov adopts Yosef’s two Egyptian sons as his own sons, not just his grandsons.  The younger son, Ephraim, gets the primogeniture blessing by Yaakov’s trick of crossing his hands.  Yosef may complain on behalf of his older son, but in the end gets a double portion of land claim in Judea, claimed from the Amorites, compared to the 11 brothers  (with the exception of Levi, whose tribe is to be priests).   

Yaakov in Egypt asks that his bones be buried in the promised land, and anticipates that his people will be there, even as they settle in the land of Goshen. 

Genesis Chapter 48 


After this Joseph was told, ‘Your father is ill.’ So he took with him his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. 2When Jacob was told, ‘Your son Joseph has come to you’, he summoned his strength and sat up in bed. 

 3And Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and he blessed me, 4and said to me, “I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers; I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your offspring after you for a perpetual holding.” 

 5Therefore your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are now mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are.  

6As for the offspring born to you after them, they shall be yours. They shall be recorded under the names of their brothers with regard to their inheritance.  

7For when I came from Paddan, Rachel, alas, died in the land of Canaan on the way, while there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath’ (that is, Bethlehem). 

8 When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, ‘Who are these?’ 9Joseph said to his father, ‘They are my sons, whom God has given me here.’ And he said, ‘Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.’ 10Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, and he could not see well.  

So Joseph brought them near him; and he kissed them and embraced them. 11Israel said to Joseph, ‘I did not expect to see your face; and here God has let me see your children also.’ 12Then Joseph removed them from his father’s knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.  

13Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand towards Israel’s left, and Manasseh in his left hand towards Israel’s right, and brought them near him. 14But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 

 15He blessed Joseph, and said, 
‘The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked, 
the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,  
16 the angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys; 
and in them let my name be perpetuated, and the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac; 
and let them grow into a multitude on the earth.’ 

17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18Joseph said to his father, ‘Not so, my father! Since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.’ 19But his father refused, and said, ‘I know, my son, I know; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.’ 

 20So he blessed them that day, saying, 
‘By you Israel will invoke blessings, saying, 
“God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.” ’ 

So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. 21Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your ancestors. 22I now give to you one portion more than to your brothers, the portion that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.’