Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Ge 48:1-22. Joseph's Visit to His Sick Father.
1. one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick—Joseph was hastily sent for, and on this occasion he took with him his two sons.
And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.
2. Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed—In the chamber where a good man lies, edifying and spiritual discourse may be expected.
And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
3, 4. God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz—The object of Jacob, in thus reverting to the memorable vision at Beth-el [Ge 28:10-15]—one of the great landmarks in his history—was to point out the splendid promises in reserve for his posterity—to engage Joseph's interest and preserve his continued connection with the people of God, rather than with the Egyptians.
And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.
4. Behold, I will make thee fruitful—This is a repetition of the covenant (Ge 28:13-15; 35:12). Whether these words are to be viewed in a limited sense, as pointing to the many centuries during which the Jews were occupiers of the Holy Land, or whether the words bear a wider meaning and intimate that the scattered tribes of Israel are to be reinstated in the land of promise, as their "everlasting possession," are points that have not yet been satisfactorily determined.
And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.
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).
And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.
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.
And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?
And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.
9. Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them—The apostle (Heb 11:21) selected the blessing of Joseph's son as the chief, because the most comprehensive, instance of the patriarch's faith which his whole history furnishes.
Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.
And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.
And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.
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.
And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.
And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,
The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head.
And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.
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.
Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.
22. moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren—This was near Shechem (Ge 33:18; Joh 4:5; also Jos 16:1; 20:7). And it is probable that the Amorites, having seized upon it during one of his frequent absences, the patriarch, with the united forces of his tribe, recovered it from them by his sword and his bow.