Genesis 48:21
And Israel said to Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again to the land of your fathers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Genesis 48:21. I die, but God shall be with you, and bring you again — This assurance was given them, and carefully preserved among them, that they might neither love Egypt too much when it favoured them, nor fear it too much when it frowned upon them. These words of Jacob furnish us with comfort in reference to the death of our friends: but God shall be with us, and his gracious presence is sufficient to make up the loss. They leave us, but he will never fail us. He will bring us to the land of our fathers, the heavenly Canaan, whither our godly fathers are gone before us. If God be with us while we stay behind in this world, and will receive us shortly to be with them that are gone before to a better world, we ought not to “sorrow as those that have no hope.”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.

21. Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die—The patriarch could speak of death with composure, but he wished to prepare Joseph and the rest of the family for the shock.

but God shall be with you—Jacob, in all probability, was not authorized to speak of their bondage—he dwelt only on the certainty of their restoration to Canaan.

Behold, I die, i.e. I am about to die; the present time for that which will shortly and certainly be, as Genesis 19:13 20:3 John 14:2.

The land of your fathers, i.e. Canaan; their land,

1. By habitation, as Nazareth is called Christ’s country because he dwelt in it.

2. By the donation of God, who had promised, and would in his time give the actual possession of it to them, i.e. to their seed. And Israel said unto Joseph, behold, I die,.... Expected to die very shortly; and he not only speaks of it as a certain thing, and what would quickly be, but with pleasure and comfort, having no fear and dread of it on him, but as what was agreeable to him, and he had made himself familiar with:

but God shall be with you; with Joseph and his posterity, and with all his brethren, and theirs, to comfort and support them, to guide and counsel them, to protect and defend them, to carry them through all they had to endure in Egypt, and at length bring them out of it; he signifies he was departing from them, but God would not depart from them, whose presence would be infinitely more to them than his; and which, as it made him the more easy to leave them, so it might make them more easy to part with him:

and bring you again unto the land of your fathers; the land of Canaan, where their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, had dwelt, and which was given to them and theirs for an inheritance, and where Joseph and his brethren had lived, and would be brought thither again, as the bones of Joseph were, and as all of them in their posterity were in Joshua's time.

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

(i) Which they had by faith in the promise.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. bring you again] Jacob predicts the restoration of his descendants to Canaan. This was the Divine promise. Cf. Genesis 15:16, Genesis 46:4, Genesis 50:24.Verse 21. - And Israel (Jacob) said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God (Elohim) shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. "For Joseph and his children a great promise and dispensation" (Lange). 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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