Genesis 48:7
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.
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(7) Rachel died by me.—Heb., died upon me, or as we should say, “died in my arms.” The mention of Rachel is to account for an act so authoritative as the bestowal of the double portion of the firstborn upon Joseph. Jacob grounds the justification of his act, not upon her being the chief wife, but upon her untimely death, which prevented her bearing other sons. Even now Leah, if we count Levi, had six tribes, each handmaid two, and Rachel three.

The same is Beth-lehem.—A note added subsequently, when the place was famous as the birthplace of David. It would not be called Beth-lehem until corn was cultivated there.

Genesis 48:7. Rachel died by me — This circumstance he here mentions, partly because the sight of Joseph and his children brought his beloved Rachel, Joseph’s mother, to his remembrance; and partly that he might assign a reason for transferring the right of the firstborn to Joseph, which was not only because Rachel was his first rightful wife by designation and contract, but because by her early death he was cut off from all hopes of having more children by her, and therefore it was but fit that he should supply that defect by adopting Joseph’s children. The removal of dear relations from us is an affliction the remembrance of which cannot but abide with us a great while. Strong affections in the enjoyment of any blessing cause long afflictions in the loss of it.

48:1-7 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.After these things. - After the arrangements concerning the funeral, recorded in the chapter. "Menasseh and Ephraim." They seem to have accompanied their father from respectful affection to their aged relative. "Israel strengthened himself" - summoned his remaining powers for the interview, which was now to him an effort. "God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz." From the terms of the blessing received it is evident that Jacob here refers to the last appearance of God to him at Bethel Genesis 35:11. "And now thy sons." After referring to the promise of a numerous offspring, and of a territory which they are to inherit, he assigns to each of the two sons of Joseph, who were born in Egypt, a place among his own sons, and a separate share in the promised land. In this way two shares fall to Joseph. "And thy issue." We are not informed whether Joseph had any other sons. But all such are to be reckoned in the two tribes of which Ephraim and Menasseh are the heads. These young men are now at least twenty and nineteen years of age, as they were born before the famine commenced. Any subsequent issue that Joseph might have, would be counted among the generations of their children. "Rachel died upon me" - as a heavy affliction falling upon me. The presence of Joseph naturally leads the father's thoughts to Rachel, the beloved mother of his beloved son, whose memory he honors in giving a double portion to her oldest son.5. thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh—It was the intention of the aged patriarch to adopt Joseph's sons as his own, thus giving him a double portion. The reasons for this procedure are stated (1Ch 5:1, 2).

are mine—Though their connections might have attached them to Egypt and opened to them brilliant prospects in the land of their nativity, they willingly accepted the adoption (Heb 11:25).

Rachel died by me; or, beside me; near me, before mine eyes, I seeing, but not being able to help her in her extremity; which makes the remembrance of it more grievous to me. This story he here mentions, partly because the sight of Joseph and his children brought his beloved Rachel to his remembrance; partly to give the reason of this action of his to the rest of his children, which was not only because Rachel was his first rightful wife by designation and contract, and therefore the right of the first-born was truly Joseph’s; but because by her early death he was cut off from all hopes of having more children by her, and therefore it was but fit he should supply that defect by adopting Joseph’s children.

I buried her there, not out of disrespect to her, whose person was, and memory yet is, precious and honourable to me, but either because dying in childbed they could not keep her till they came to the burying-place of the patriarchs at Hebron, Genesis 23:19, especially when they were tied to the slow motion of the flocks and herds; or because I would not bury her in the common burying-place with heathens and idolaters, in the city of Ephrath. By which he tacitly implies, that he would not have Joseph joined with the Egyptians in burial.

And as for me, when I came from Padan,.... From Syria, from Laban's house:

Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan; his beloved wife, the mother of Joseph, on whose account he mentions her, and to show a reason why he took his sons as his own, because his mother dying so soon, he could have no more children by her; and she being his only lawful wife, Joseph was of right to be reckoned as the firstborn; and that as such he might have the double portion, he took his two sons as his own, and put them upon a level with them, even with Reuben and Simeon. By this it appears, as by the preceding account, that Rachel came with him into the land of Canaan, and there died:

in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath; about a mile, or two thousand cubits, as Jarchi observes:

and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; where she died, and dying in childbed, could not be kept so long as to carry her to Machpelah, the burying place of his ancestors; and especially as he had his flocks and herds with him, which could move but slowly; and what might make it more difficult to keep her long, and carry her thither, it might be, as Ben Melech conjectures, summertime; and the Vulgate Latin adds to the text, without any warrant from the original, "and it was springtime"; however, she was buried in the land of Canaan, and which is taken notice of, that Joseph might observe it: it follows:

the same is Bethlehem; that is, Ephrath; and so Bethlehem is called Bethlehem Ephratah, Micah 5:2; whether these are the words of Jacob, or of Moses, is not certain, but said with a view to the Messiah, the famous seed of Jacob that should be born there, and was.

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.
7. And as for me] This verse, with its reference to Genesis 35:16-19, is introduced very abruptly. The mention of Rachel’s grave is not followed by any further statement, and, standing by itself, it comes in strangely. It hardly admits of explanation as an old man’s wandering soliloquy. Such an explanation is too modern in character. Possibly the passage originally contained the tradition of Jacob’s request, that he might be buried in the same grave with his beloved wife, Rachel. But the entreaty to be buried at Machpelah having already (Genesis 47:30) been inserted from J, it was necessary to drop the concluding portion of Jacob’s utterance, i.e. the request to be buried with Rachel, to which the allusion to Rachel’s death and burial at Ephrath was leading up. This theory accounts for the introduction of the touching allusion to Rachel and her burial-place, and for the sudden dropping of the subject.

Paddan] For “Paddan-aram,” as in LXX. See Genesis 25:20.

by me] R.V. marg. to my sorrow, lit. “upon me,” expresses the full meaning. Compare “against me” in Genesis 42:36; see note.

when there was still some way] See note on Genesis 35:16. The Heb. gives a measure of distance; cf. 2 Kings 5:19; and the LXX gives the strange rendering κατὰ τὸν ἱππόδρομον χαβραθὰ τῆς γῆς, where χαβραθὰ transliterates the Heb., and κατὰ τὸν ἱππόδρομον, “according to the race-course,” reproduces the tradition that the race-course at Alexandria was the length of this Hebrew measure; cf. Schleusner, s.v. The Vulg. has eratque vernum tempus (!). “On the way to Ephrath,” LXX ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ τοῦ ἱπποδρόμου.

Verse 7. - And as for me (literally, and I, the pronoun being emphatic), when I cams from Padan, - literally, in my coming, i.e. while on my journey, from Padam, or Padan-aram. This is the only place where the shorter designation is employed (cf. Genesis 25:20) - Rachel - the mention to Joseph of his beloved mother could not fail to kindle emotion in his breast, as obviously it had revived a pang of sorrow in that of the old man - " the remembrance of the never-to-be-forgotten one' causing a sudden spasm of feeling" (Delitzsch) - died by me - not for me in the sense of sharing with me my toils and perils, and so bringing on herself the deadly travail which cut her off (Lunge), which is too subtle and metaphysical in its refinement; but either upon me, i.e. as an heavy affliction falling on me (Rosenmüller, Gesenius, Murphy, et alii); or at my side, i.e. near me (Keil, Wordsworth, 'Speaker's Commentary'); or perhaps to me, meaning, This happened to me, or, I saw Rachel die (Kalisch); or possibly with a touch of tender emotion, Rachel to me, i.e. my Rachel died (Tayler Lewis) - in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way - literally, a length of ground; the LXX. add ἱππόδρομος, meaning probably such a distance as a horse can go without being over-worked (vide Genesis 35:16) - to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem. Genesis 48:7Referring to the promise which the Almighty God had given him at Bethel (Genesis 35:10. cf. Genesis 38:13.), Israel said to Joseph (Genesis 48:5): "And now thy two sons, which were born to thee in the land of Egypt, until (before) I came to thee into Egypt...let them be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, like Reuben and Simeon (my first and second born), let them be mine." The promise which Jacob had received empowered the patriarch to adopt the sons of Joseph in the place of children. Since the Almighty God had promised him the increase of his seed into a multitude of peoples, and Canaan as an eternal possession to that seed, he could so incorporate into the number of his descendants the two sons of Joseph who were born in Egypt before his arrival, and therefore outside the range of his house, that they should receive an equal share in the promised inheritance with his own eldest sons. But this privilege was to be restricted to the two first-born sons of Joseph. "Thy descendants," he proceeds in Genesis 48:6, "which thou hast begotten since them, shall be thine; by the name of their brethren shall they be called in their inheritance;" i.e., they shall not form tribes of their own with a separate inheritance, but shall be reckoned as belonging to Ephraim and Manasseh, and receive their possessions among these tribes, and in their inheritance. These other sons of Joseph are not mentioned anywhere; but their descendants are at any rate included in the families of Ephraim and Manasseh mentioned in Numbers 26:28-37; 1 Chronicles 7:14-29. By this adoption of his two eldest sons, Joseph was placed in the position of the first-born, so far as the inheritance was concerned (1 Chronicles 5:2). Joseph's mother, who had died so early, was also honoured thereby. And this explains the allusion made by Jacob in Genesis 48:7 to his beloved Rachel, the wife of his affections, and to her death-how she died by his side (עלי), on his return from Padan (for Padan-Aram, the only place in which it is so called, cf. Genesis 25:20), without living to see her first-born exalted to the position of a saviour to the whole house of Israel.
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