One day not long after this, word came to Joseph that his father was failing rapidly. So Joseph went to visit him, and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
When Jacob heard that Joseph had arrived, he gathered his strength and sat up in bed to greet him.
Jacob said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me.
He said to me, 'I will make you a multitude of nations, and I will give this land of Canaan to you and your descendants as an everlasting possession.'
Now I am adopting as my own sons these two boys of yours, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born here in the land of Egypt before I arrived. They will inherit from me just as Reuben and Simeon will.
But the children born to you in the future will be your own. The land they inherit will be within the territories of Ephraim and Manasseh.
As I was returning from Paddan, Rachel died in the land of Canaan. We were still on the way, just a short distance from Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). So with great sorrow I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath."
Then Jacob a looked over at the two boys. "Are these your sons?" he asked.
"Yes," Joseph told him, "these are the sons God has given me here in Egypt." And Jacob said, "Bring them over to me, and I will bless them."
Now Jacob was half blind because of his age and could hardly see. So Joseph brought the boys close to him, and Jacob kissed and embraced them.
Then Jacob said to Joseph, "I never thought I would see you again, but now God has let me see your children, too."
Joseph took the boys from their grandfather's knees, and he bowed low to him.
Then he positioned the boys so Ephraim was at Jacob's left hand and Manasseh was at his right hand.
But Jacob crossed his arms as he reached out to lay his hands on the boys' heads. So his right hand was on the head of Ephraim, the younger boy, and his left hand was on the head of Manasseh, the older.
Then he blessed Joseph and said, "May God, the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life,
and the angel who has kept me from all harm -- may he bless these boys. May they preserve my name and the names of my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac. And may they become a mighty nation."
But Joseph was upset when he saw that his father had laid his right hand on Ephraim's head. So he lifted it to place it on Manasseh's head instead.
"No, Father," he said, "this one over here is older. Put your right hand on his head."
But his father refused. "I know what I'm doing, my son," he said. "Manasseh, too, will become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater. His descendants will become a multitude of nations!"
So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: "The people of Israel will use your names to bless each other. They will say, 'May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh.'" In this way, Jacob put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
Then Jacob said to Joseph, "I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to Canaan, the land of your ancestors.
And I give you an extra portion b beyond what I have given your brothers -- the portion that I took from the Amorites with my sword and bow."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)