Genesis 48:12
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Then Joseph removed them from Israel's knees and bowed down with his face to the ground.

King James Bible
And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.

Darby Bible Translation
And Joseph brought them out from his knees, and bowed down with his face to the earth.

World English Bible
Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.

Young's Literal Translation
And Joseph bringeth them out from between his knees, and boweth himself on his face to the earth;

Genesis 48:12 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Joseph - bowed himself with his face to the earth - This act of Joseph has been extravagantly extolled by Dr. Delaney and others. "When I consider him on his knees to God," says Dr. Delaney, "I regard him as a poor mortal in the discharge of his duty to his Creator. When I behold him bowing before Pharaoh, I consider him in the dutiful posture of a subject to his prince. But when I see him bending to the earth before a poor, old, blind, decrepit father, I behold him with admiration and delight. How doth that humiliation exalt him!" This is insufferable! For it in effect says that it is a wondrous condescension in a young man, who, in the course of God's providence, with scarcely any efforts of his own, was raised to affluence and worldly grandeur, to show respect to his father! And that respect was the more gratuitous and condescending, because that father was poor, old, blind, and decrepit! The maxim of this most exceptionable flight of admiration is, that "children who have risen to affluence are not obliged to reverence their parents when reduced in their circumstances, and brought down by the weight of years and infirmities to the sides of the grave; and should they acknowledge and reverence them, it would be a mark of singular goodness, and be highly meritorious." Should positions of this kind pass without reprehension? I trow not. By the law of God and nature Joseph was as much bound to pay his dying father this filial respect, as he was to reverence his king, or to worship his God. As to myself, I must freely confess that I see nothing peculiarly amiable in this part of Joseph's conduct; he simply acquitted himself of a duty which God, nature, decency, and common sense, imperiously demanded of him, and all such in his circumstances, to discharge. To the present day children in the east, next to God, pay the deepest reverence to their parents.

Besides, before whom was Joseph bowing? Not merely his father, but a most eminent Patriarch; one highly distinguished by the Lord, and one of the three of whom the Supreme Being speaks in the most favorable and affectionate manner; the three who received and transmitted the true faith, and kept unbroken the Divine covenant; I Am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He has never said, I am the God of Joseph. And if we compare the father and the son as men, we shall find that the latter was exceeded by the former in almost endless degrees. Joseph owed his advancement and his eminence to what some would call good fortune, and what we know to have been the especial providence of God working in his behalf, wholly independent of his own industry, etc., every event of that providence issuing in his favor. Jacob owed his own support and preservation, and the support and preservation of his numerous family, under God, to the continual exercise of the vast powers of a strong and vigorous mind, to which the providence of God seemed ever in opposition; because God chose to try to the uttermost the great gifts which he had bestowed. If therefore the most humble and abject inferior should reverence dignity and eminence raised to no common height, so should Joseph bow down his face to the earth before Jacob.

Besides, Joseph, in thus reverencing his father, only followed the customs of the Egyptians among whom he lived, who, according to Herodotus, (Euterpe, c. 80), were particularly remarkable for the reverence they paid to old age. "For if a young person meet his senior, he instantly turns aside to make way for him; if an aged person enter an apartment, the youth always rise from their seats;" and Mr. Savary observes that the reverence mentioned by Herodotus is yet paid to old age on every occasion in Egypt. In Mohammedan countries the children sit as if dumb in the presence of their parents, never attempting to speak unless spoken to. Among the ancient Romans it was considered a crime worthy of death not to rise up in the presence of an aged person, and acting a contrary part was deemed an awful mark of the deep degeneracy of the times. Thus the satirist: -

Credebant hoc grande nefas, et morte piandum,

Si Juvenis Vetulo non assurrexerat; et si

Barbato cuicumque puer.

Juv. Sat. xiii., v. 54.

And had not men the hoary heads revered,

Or boys paid reverence when a man appear'd.

Both must have died.

Dryden.

Indeed, though Dr. Delaney is much struck with what he thinks to be great and meritorious condescension and humility on the part of Joseph; yet we find the thing itself, the deepest reverence to parents and old age, practiced by all the civilized nations in the world, not as a matter of meritorious courtesy, but as a point of rational and absolute duty.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

he bowed himself. Joseph thus shewed that his external greatness did not render him forgetful of the respect due his father. The Egyptians were remarkable for the reverence paid to old age: 'for if a young person meet his senior, he instantly turns aside to make way for him; if an aged person enter an apartment, the youth always rise from their seats;' and Mr. Savary observe, that the same reverence is still paid to old age in Egypt.

Genesis 18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, see, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door...

Genesis 19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them...

Genesis 23:7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.

Genesis 33:3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Genesis 42:6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brothers came...

Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the LORD your God gives you.

Exodus 34:8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

Leviticus 19:3,32 You shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God...

1 Kings 2:19 Bathsheba therefore went to king Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself to her...

2 Kings 4:37 Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Library
Two Retrospects of one Life
'And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.'--GENESIS xlvii. 9. 'The God which fed me all my life long unto this day; the Angel which redeemed me from all evil.' --GENESIS xlviii. 15,16. These are two strangely different estimates of the same life to be taken by the same man. In the latter Jacob categorically contradicts everything that he had said in the former. 'Few and evil,' he said before Pharaoh. 'All my life long,' 'the Angel which redeemed me from
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Blessing Children. Concerning Childlikeness.
(in Peræa.) ^A Matt. XIX. 13-15; ^B Mark X. 13-16; ^C Luke XVIII. 15-17. ^a 13 Then were there brought ^b 13 And they were bringing ^a unto him little children, { ^c also their babes,} that he should touch them: ^a that he should lay his hands on them, and pray [According to Buxtorf, children were often brought to the presidents of the synagogue in order that they might pray over them. The prayers of a good man in our behalf have always been regarded as a blessing; no wonder, then, that the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Cross References
Genesis 42:6
Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph's brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.

Genesis 48:11
Israel said to Joseph, "I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too."

Genesis 48:13
And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel's left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel's right hand, and brought them close to him.

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