Genesis 48:20
And he blessed them that day, saying, In you shall Israel bless, saying, God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
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(20) In thee shall Israel bless.—In conformity with these words, the Israelites to this day use Jacob’s formula in blessing their children.

48:8-22 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!Joseph presumes that his father has gone astray through dulness of perception, and endeavors to rectify his mistake. He finds, however, that on the other hand a supernatural vision is now conferred on his parent, who is fully conscious of what he is about, and therefore, abides by his own act. Ephraim is to be greater than Menasseh. Joshua, the successor of Moses, was of the tribe of Ephraim, as Kaleb his companion was of Judah. Ephraim came to designate the northern kingdom of the ten tribes, as Judah denoted the southern kingdom containing the remaining tribes; and each name was occasionally used to denote all Israel, with a special reference to the prominent part. "His seed shall be the fullness of the nations." This denotes not only the number but the completeness of his race, and accords with the future pre-eminence of his tribe. In thee, in Joseph, who is still identified with his offspring.

At the point of death Jacob expresses his assurance of the return of his posterity to the land of promise, and bestows on Joseph one share or piece of ground above his brethren, which, says he, I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow. This share is, in the original, שׁכם shekem, Shekem, a shoulder or tract of land. This region included "the parcel of the field where he had spread his tent" Genesis 33:19. It refers to the whole territory of Shekem, which was conquered by his sword and his bow, inasmuch as the city itself was sacked, and its inhabitants put to the sword by his sons at the head of his armed retainers, though without his approval Genesis 34. Though he withdrew immediately after to Bethel Genesis 35, yet he neither fled nor relinquished possession of this conquest, as we find his sons feeding his flocks there when he himself was residing at Hebron Genesis 37:13. The incidental conquest of such a tract was no more at variance with the subsequent acquisition of the whole country than the purchase of a field by Abraham or a parcel of ground by Jacob himself. In accordance with this gift Joseph's bones were deposited in Shekem, after the conquest of the whole land by returning Israel. The territory of Shekem was probably not equal in extent to that of Ephraim, but was included within its bounds.

- Jacob Blesses His Sons

5. מכרה mekêrāh, "weapon;" related: כיר kārar or כרה kārāh dig. "Device, design?" related: מכר mākar "sell," in Arabic "take counsel. Habitation."

10. מחקק mechoqēq, "lawgiver, judge, dispenser of laws." This word occurs in six other places - Numbers 21:18; Deuteronomy 33:21; Jud. Deu 5:14; Psalm 60:9; Psalm 108:9; Isaiah 33:22; in five of which it clearly denotes ruler, or judge. The meaning "sceptre" is therefore doubtful. שׁילה shı̂ylôh, Shiloh, a softened form of שׁילון shı̂ylôn, a derivative of שׁל shol, the ultimate root of שׁלה shālâh, שׁלם shālam, and possibly שׁלט shālaṭ, and hence, denoting "the peacemaker, the prince of peace." It is not employed as an appellative noun. But it is used afterward as the name of a town, now identified as Seilun. This town probably had its name, like many other ancient places from a person of the same name who built or possessed it.

From the special conference with Joseph we now pass to the parting address of Jacob to his assembled sons. This is at the same time prophetic and benedictory. Like all prophecy, it starts from present things, and in its widest expanse penetrates into the remotest future of the present course of nature.

13. Joseph took them both—The very act of pronouncing the blessing was remarkable, showing that Jacob's bosom was animated by the spirit of prophecy. In thee, i.e. in thy seed, as appears both from the relative

them here, and from Genesis 48:15, where his blessing of them is called the blessing of Joseph; and from the following words, where this is interpreted of

Ephraim and

Manasseh. And

in thee, or in thy seed, i.e. using their names in the form or words of blessing, as eminent examples of blessedness. And he blessed them that day,.... That Joseph visited him, and this be did "by faith"; believing that what he had said concerning them would be accomplished, as the apostle observes, Hebrews 11:21,

saying, in thee shall Israel bless; in Joseph, as the Targum of Jonathan, that is, in his seed, in his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, when the Israelites blessed any, they should make use of their names:

saying, God make thee as Ephraim and Manasseh: as great and honourable, as rich and wealthy, as fruitful and prosperous as they; and the Targum says, this custom continues with the Jews to this day, to put their hands on persons to bless them; if a son, they say,"God make thee as Ephraim and Manasseh;''if a daughter,"God make thee as Sarah and Rebekah:"

and he set Ephraim before Manasseh; not only in this form of benediction, but in all that he had said and done before; he preferred him to Manasseh by putting his right hand upon him, and giving him the superior blessing: and it is no unusual thing for the younger to be set before the elder, both by God and man, but especially by the Lord, who seeth not as man seeth, and proceeds not according to carnal descent, or those rules men go by: there had been many instances before this, as Abel was preferred to Cain, Shem to Japheth, Abraham to Nahor, Isaac to Ishmael, and Jacob to Esau; as there were after it, as Moses to Aaron, and David to his brethren.

And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as {h} Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

(h) In whom God's graces should manifestly appear.

20. In] Better, as marg., By. The meaning is that the blessing upon Ephraim and Manasseh shall be quoted as a formula for the invocation of Divine favour. Compare the blessing in Ruth 4:11-12.

bless] The versions, LXX, Vulg., and Syriac, give the passive “shall be blessed.”Verse 20. - And he (i.e. Jacob) blessed them that day, saying, In thee (i.e. in Joseph, who is still identified with his sons) shall Israel (the nation) bless, saying, God (Elohim, the supreme source of all blessing) make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim Before Manasseh - "in the position of his hands, and the terms of the blessing" (Keil). The patriarch then stretched out his right hand and laid it upon Ephraim's head, and placed his left upon the head of Manasseh (crossing his arms therefore), to bless Joseph in his sons. "Guiding his hands wittingly;" i.e., he placed his hands in this manner intentionally. Laying on the hand, which is mentioned here for the first time in the Scriptures, was a symbolical sign, by which the person acting transferred to another a spiritual good, a supersensual power or gift; it occurs elsewhere in connection with dedication to an office (Numbers 27:18, Numbers 27:23; Deuteronomy 34:9; Matthew 19:13; Acts 6:6; Acts 8:17, etc.), with the sacrifices, and with the cures performed by Christ and the apostles. By the imposition of hands, Jacob transferred to Joseph in his sons the blessing which he implored for them from his own and his father's God: "The God (Ha-Elohim) before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God (Ha-Elohim) who hath fed me (led and provided for me with a shepherd's faithfulness, Psalm 23:1; Psalm 28:9) from my existence up to this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." This triple reference to God, in which the Angel who is placed on an equality with Ha-Elohim cannot possibly be a created angel, but must be the "Angel of God," i.e., God manifested in the form of the Angel of Jehovah, or the "Angel of His face" (Isaiah 43:9), contains a foreshadowing of the Trinity, though only God and the Angel are distinguished, not three persons of the divine nature. The God before whom Abraham and Isaac walked, had proved Himself to Jacob to be "the God which fed" and "the Angel which redeemed," i.e., according to the more fully developed revelation of the New Testament, ὁ Θεός and ὁ λόγος, Shepherd and Redeemer. By the singular יברך (bless, benedicat) the triple mention of God is resolved into the unity of the divine nature. Non dicit (Jakob) benedicant, pluraliter, nec repetit sed conjungit in uno opere benedicendi tres personas, Deum Patrem, Deum pastorem et Angelum. Sunt igitur hi tres unus Deus et unus benedictor. Idem opus facit Angelus quod pastor et Deus Patrum (Luther). "Let my name be named on them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac," i.e., not, "they shall bear my name and my fathers'," "dicantur filii mei et patrum meorum, licet ex te nati sint" (Rosenm.), which would only be another way of acknowledging his adoption of them, "nota adoptionis" (Calvin); for as the simple mention of adoption is unsuitable to such a blessing, so the words appended, "and according to the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac," are still less suitable as a periphrasis for adoption. The thought is rather: the true nature of the patriarchs shall be discerned and acknowledged in Ephraim and Manasseh; in them shall those blessings of grace and salvation be renewed, which Jacob and his fathers Isaac and Abraham received from God. The name expressed the nature, and "being called" is equivalent to "being, and being recognised by what one is." The salvation promised to the patriarchs related primarily to the multiplication into a great nation, and the possession of Canaan. Hence Jacob proceeds: "and let them increase into a multitude in the midst of the land." דּגה: ἁπ λεγ, "to increase," from which the name דּג, a fish, is derived, on account of the remarkable rapidity with which they multiply.
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