Hebrews 11:21
Parallel Verses
New International Version
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

New Living Translation
It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.

English Standard Version
By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

New American Standard Bible
By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

King James Bible
By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and he worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

International Standard Version
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons "and worshipped while leaning on the top of his staff."

NET Bible
By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped as he leaned on his staff.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
By faith, when Jacob was dying, he blessed each one of the sons of Joseph and bowed on the top of the staff.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
While Jacob was dying, faith led him to bless each of Joseph's sons. He leaned on the top of his staff and worshiped God.

Jubilee Bible 2000
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph, and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

King James 2000 Bible
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshiped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

American King James Version
By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff.

American Standard Version
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

Douay-Rheims Bible
By faith Jacob dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and adored the top of his rod.

Darby Bible Translation
By faith Jacob [when] dying blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshipped on the top of his staff.

English Revised Version
By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

Webster's Bible Translation
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshiped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

Weymouth New Testament
Through faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and, leaning on the top of his staff, worshipped God.

World English Bible
By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Young's Literal Translation
by faith Jacob dying -- each of the sons of Joseph did bless, and did bow down upon the top of his staff;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

11:20-31 Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, concerning things to come. Things present are not the best things; no man knoweth love or hatred by having them or wanting them. Jacob lived by faith, and he died by faith, and in faith. Though the grace of faith is of use always through our whole lives, it is especially so when we come to die. Faith has a great work to do at last, to help the believer to die to the Lord, so as to honour him, by patience, hope, and joy. Joseph was tried by temptations to sin, by persecution for keeping his integrity; and he was tried by honours and power in the court of Pharaoh, yet his faith carried him through. It is a great mercy to be free from wicked laws and edicts; but when we are not so, we must use all lawful means for our security. In this faith of Moses' parents there was a mixture of unbelief, but God was pleased to overlook it. Faith gives strength against the sinful, slavish fear of men; it sets God before the soul, shows the vanity of the creature, and that all must give way to the will and power of God. The pleasures of sin are, and will be, but short; they must end either in speedy repentance or in speedy ruin. The pleasures of this world are for the most part the pleasures of sin; they are always so when we cannot enjoy them without deserting God and his people. Suffering is to be chosen rather than sin; there being more evil in the least sin, than there can be in the greatest suffering. God's people are, and always have been, a reproached people. Christ accounts himself reproached in their reproaches; and thus they become greater riches than the treasures of the richest empire in the world. Moses made his choice when ripe for judgment and enjoyment, able to know what he did, and why he did it. It is needful for persons to be seriously religious; to despise the world, when most capable of relishing and enjoying it. Believers may and ought to have respect to the recompence of reward. By faith we may be fully sure of God's providence, and of his gracious and powerful presence with us. Such a sight of God will enable believers to keep on to the end, whatever they may meet in the way. It is not owing to our own righteousness, or best performances, that we are saved from the wrath of God; but to the blood of Christ, and his imputed righteousness. True faith makes sin bitter to the soul, even while it receives the pardon and atonement. All our spiritual privileges on earth, should quicken us in our way to heaven. The Lord will make even Babylon fall before the faith of his people, and when he has some great thing to do for them, he raises up great and strong faith in them. A true believer is desirous, not only to be in covenant with God, but in communion with the people of God; and is willing to fare as they fare. By her works Rahab declared herself to be just. That she was not justified by her works appears plainly; because the work she did was faulty in the manner, and not perfectly good, therefore it could not be answerable to the perfect justice or righteousness of God.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 21. - By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. Here two distinct incidents are referred to, both at the close of Jacob's life. That first mentioned, the blessing of the sons of Joseph (Genesis 48:2), closely resembles the dying act of Isaac already spoken of, and has a similar significance. In both cases, too, human intention is overruled, in that the younger son obtains the higher blessing; and each patriarch accepts alike the Divine intimation to this effect, thus further evincing faith in a power and a will above his own. The latter part of the verse, "and worshipped," etc., is quoted from Genesis 47:31, and refers to a previous instance of the dying Jacob's faith, in his charge to Joseph to bury him with his fathers in the land of promise. The reversal in the text of the historical order of the two instances may be because the one referred to first is cognate with the instance of Isaac's faith which has gone before, the other with that of Joseph's which follows. For the benedictions of Isaac and Jacob, when a-dying, expressed faith in revelations made to them about the several races of their future seed; the deathbed charges of Jacob and Joseph expressed faith in the chosen seed's inheritance of the Promised Land. Though in the verse before us Jacob's charge to Joseph, with a view to this inheritance, is not mentioned, yet the quotation from the account of it in Genesis, "and worshipped," etc., would be sufficient, in this concise summary of instances, to recall it to the mind of readers, and so intimate the writer's meaning. The variation of the LXX., which is here followed as usual, from the Massoretic text, in reading "staff" instead of "bed," is due to the ambiguity of the Hebrew word, which has one meaning or the other according to its pointing. "Bed" seems more likely to have been intended, inasmuch as the bed on which the patriarch lay is twice again mentioned (Genesis 48:2; Genesis 49:33) in the account of the closing scene; and we find also a similar expression used of David in his old age (1 Kings 1:47). Bat the variation is unimportant, the essence of the passage being in the word translated "bowed himself," which in the Hebrew as well as the Greek certainly expresses an act of worship. The only difference is that, according to one rendering, this worship was expressed by his bowing over the staff on which he leant as he sat upon the bed (Genesis 48:2); according to the other, by his turning round to prostrate himself with his head upon the pillow. The view of some of the Fathers, who, adopting the LXX. rendering and supposing the staff to be Joseph's, regard the act as expressing reverence to Joseph himself, in fulfillment of Gem 38:5-11, has little probability in its favor, and is controverted by St. Augustine. But so Chrysostom, and apparently Theodoret. And suitably to this idea, the Vulgate has in Hebrews, "et adoravit fastigium virgae ejus," though in Genesis, "adoravit Israel Deum, conversus ad lectuli caput." Quite untenable, and only worthy of mention because of the use that has been made of it in support of image-worship, is the idea that Joseph's staff was surmounted by some sacred image which Jacob adored.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

By faith Jacob, when he was a dying,.... Which was the usual time of blessing with the patriarchs; and the reason of it was, that what was said might be more attended to and regarded, and more strongly impressed upon the mind; and this is a proof that it was done in faith by Jacob, when there was no appearance of the fulfilment of these things, and it was not likely that he should see them; and this shows the truth of what the apostle says in Hebrews 11:1, blessed both the sons of Joseph; whose names were Ephraim and Manasseh; the form of blessing them is recorded in Genesis 48:15 and which was done in faith, and under the direction and inspiration of the Spirit of God, as appears by his setting Ephraim before Manasseh, Genesis 48:13 and when he delivered the blessing he firmly believed it would be fulfilled, though they were then in a strange land:

and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff; not that he "worshipped the top of his staff", as the Vulgate Latin version renders it, either his own, or Joseph's, or any little image upon the top of it; which would be an instance of idolatry, and not faith, contrary to the scope of the apostle; nor is there any need to interpret this of civil worship and respect paid to Joseph, as a fulfilment of his dream, and with a peculiar regard to Christ, of whom Joseph was a type; whereas, on the contrary, Joseph at this time bowed to his father, as was most natural and proper, Genesis 48:12 nor is there any necessity of supposing a different punctuation of Genesis 47:31 and that the true reading is not "mittah", a bed, but "matteh"; a staff, contrary to all the Targums (f), and the Talmud (g), which read "mittah", a bed, seeing it is not that place the apostle cites or refers to; for that was before the blessing of the sons of Joseph, but this was at the same time; and the apostle relates what is nowhere recorded in Genesis, but what he had either from tradition, or immediate revelation; or else he concludes it from the general account in Genesis 48:1 and the sense is, that Jacob, having blessed the two sons of Joseph, being sat upon his bed, and weak, he leaned upon the top of his staff, and worshipped God, and gave praise and glory to him, that he had lived to see not only his son Joseph, but his seed also, see Genesis 48:2.

(f) Onkelos, Jonathan & Jerusalem in Genesis 47.31. (g) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 16. 2.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

21. both the sons—Greek, "each of the sons" (Ge 47:29; 48:8-20). He knew not Joseph's sons, and could not distinguish them by sight, yet he did distinguish them by faith, transposing his hands intentionally, so as to lay his right hand on the younger, Ephraim, whose posterity was to be greater than that of Manasseh: he also adopted these grandchildren as his own sons, after having transferred the right of primogeniture to Joseph (Ge 48:22).

and worshipped—This did not take place in immediate connection with the foregoing, but before it, when Jacob made Joseph swear that he would bury him with his fathers in Canaan, not in Egypt. The assurance that Joseph would do so filled him with pious gratitude to God, which he expressed by raising himself on his bed to an attitude of worship. His faith, as Joseph's (Heb 11:22), consisted in his so confidentially anticipating the fulfilment of God's promise of Canaan to his descendants, as to desire to be buried there as his proper possession.

leaning upon the top of his staff—Ge 47:31, Hebrew and English Version, "upon the bed's head." The Septuagint translates as Paul here. Jerome justly reprobates the notion of modern Rome, that Jacob worshipped the top of Joseph's staff, having on it an image of Joseph's power, to which Jacob bowed in recognition of the future sovereignty of his son's tribe, the father bowing to the son! The Hebrew, as translated in English Version, sets it aside: the bed is alluded to afterwards (Ge 48:2; 49:33), and it is likely that Jacob turned himself in his bed so as to have his face toward the pillow, Isa 38:2 (there were no bedsteads in the East). Paul by adopting the Septuagint version, brings out, under the Spirit, an additional fact, namely, that the aged patriarch used his own (not Joseph's) staff to lean on in worshipping on his bed. The staff, too, was the emblem of his pilgrim state here on his way to his heavenly city (Heb 11:13, 14), wherein God had so wonderfully supported him. Ge 32:10, "With my staff I passed over Jordan, and now I am become," &c. (compare Ex 12:11; Mr 6:8). In 1Ki 1:47, the same thing is said of David's "bowing on his bed," an act of adoring thanksgiving to God for God's favor to his son before death. He omits the more leading blessing of the twelve sons of Jacob; because "he plucks only the flowers which stand by his way, and leaves the whole meadow full to his readers" [Delitzsch in Alford].

Hebrews 11:21 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Faith of Isaac, Jacob, Joseph
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. 21By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.
Cross References
Genesis 47:31
"Swear to me," he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

Genesis 48:1
Some time later Joseph was told, "Your father is ill." So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him.

Genesis 48:5
"Now 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.

Genesis 48:16
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."

Genesis 48:20
He blessed them that day and said, "In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: 'May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.'" So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

1 Kings 1:47
Also, the royal officials have come to congratulate our lord King David, saying, 'May your God make Solomon's name more famous than yours and his throne greater than yours!' And the king bowed in worship on his bed
Treasury of Scripture

By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff.

faith.

Genesis 48:5-22 And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born to you …

and worshipped.

Genesis 47:31 And he said, Swear to me. And he swore to him. And Israel bowed himself …

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