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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 48

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

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.

Thy father is sick. Joseph was hastily sent for, and on this occasion he took with him his two sons.

Verse 2

And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.

Israel strengthened himself and sat upon the bed In the chamber here a good man lies edif ing and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. In the chamber where a good man lies, edifying and spiritual discourse may be expected.

Verse 3

And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,

God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz. The object of Jacob in thus reverting to the memorable vision at Bethel-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.

Verse 4

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.

Behold, I will make thee fruitful. This is a repetition of the covenant (Genesis 28:13-15; Genesis 35:12). These words were spoken first by his father in his parting blessing (Genesis 28:3), and repeated, it seems, to Jacob in his dream at Luz, though the circumstance is not related in the narrative of that extraordinary dream. Whether they 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.

Verse 5

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.

Thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. It was the intention of the aged patriarch to adopt Joseph's oldest sons as his own, thus giving him a double portion. The reasons of this procedure are stated (1 Chronicles 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 (Hebrews 11:25).

Verse 6

And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.

Thy issue which thou begettest, [ 'ªsher (H834) howladtaa (H3205)] - which thou hast begotten.

Shall be called after the name of their brethren. Here the rule is distinctly laid down for regulating all questions of their future genealogies, and a sufficient reason why certain names, and no more, were inserted in the catalogue contained in the preceding chapter.

Verses 7-8

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.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 9

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.

Bring them ... unto me ... The apostle (Hebrews 11:21) selected the blessing of Joseph's sons as the chief, because the most comprehensive, instance of the patriarch's faith which his whole history furnishes.

Verses 10-12

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.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 13

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.

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.

Verse 14

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.

Guiding his hands wittingly, [ sikeel (H7919) 'et (H854) yaadaayw (H3027)] - literally, made his hands wise. Gesenius renders the words, 'laying his hands circumspectly.' Septuagint, 'crossing his hands.'

Verse 15

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,

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 16

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.

The Angel which redeemed me from all evil. Jacob declares (Genesis 48:3) that this Angel was God Almighty (cf. Genesis 31:11; Genesis 31:13; Genesis 32:30; Genesis 35:1; Genesis 35:7; Genesis 35:11; Hosea 12:3-5) - the God of his fathers and the God of his own personal experience. The name is thrice repeated in Genesis 48:15-16. 'The analogy of the three-fold blessing of Aaron (Numbers 6:24-26) would lead us to expect that the name of God should be three times mentioned. No created angel could in this manner be placed by the side of God, or be introduced as being independent of, and coordinate with, Him. Such an angel can only be meant as is connected with God by oneness of nature, and whose activity is implied in that of God. The singular [ yªbaareek (H1288)] is here of very special significance. It indicates that the angel is joined to God by an inseparable oneness, and that his territory is just as wide as that of 'Elohiym (H430)' (Hengstenberg's 'Christology,' 1:, p. 117).

Grow into a multitude. The original term is very strong and expressive, 'be prolific as fish.'

Verses 17-18

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.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 19

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.

But truly his younger brother shall be greater than he. Was not the prediction amply verified in the courts of time, the tribe having grown so mighty in numbers and influence (Numbers 1:32-35; Numbers 26:34; Numbers 26:37; Judges 4:5; Judges 5:14; Judges 8:1-35; Judges 12:1-15) that it is sometimes put for the collective tribe of Israel, (2 Samuel 2:9; Isaiah 2:1, etc.)

Verse 20

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.

In thee shall Israel bless, [ yªbaareek (H1288)]. The Hebrew verb signifies to bend the knee, to pray; and when it is used to express the act of man toward his fellows, it signifies that he prayed for a blessing upon them; for a benediction in the name of God is still a prayer.

Thus, even were the words not so plain as they are, the meaning of the first clause, "In (by) thee shall Israel bless," is expanded by the second, which is to the effect that the extraordinary measure of prosperity enjoyed by the two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, would become a proverbial form of expressing the best wishes for others: "God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh." Even apart from the meaning of the word, man cannot 'make blessed' through man; self-evidently he cannot bless through fore-fathers long since departed. Yet the very fact that the word is explained by the addition, "saying, God make thee," etc., shows that it is no ordinary idiom, as indeed it occurs in that one place only of Scripture. From God to his creature man, to "bless" is to make "blessed" (Pusey on 'Daniel,' page 481, note.

Verse 21

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

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 ... Jacob, in all probability, was not authorized to speak of their bondage-he dwelt only on the certainty of their restoration to Canaan.

Verse 22

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.

Moreover I have given to thee one portion, [ shªkem (H7926)] - a shoulder, a tract, or ridge of land. There is a paronomasia on the word. This was near Shechem (Genesis 33:18; John 4:5; also Joshua 16:1; Joshua 20:7). Jacob could not, as some say, speak of his sons' raid upon Shechem as having led to an acquisition of the city; because he repudiated their cruel treachery (Genesis 49:5-6), and he had to leave that neighbourhood. It is more probable that the Amorites (Canaanites) 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 by his bow. It was now bestowed as a special gift upon Joseph; and Keil thinks that the burial of Joseph's bones there (Joshua 24:32) bestowed as a special gift upon Joseph; and Keil thinks that the burial of Joseph's bones there (Joshua 24:32) was in consequence of this presentation (Acts 7:16).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 48". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/genesis-48.html. 1871-8.
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