Genesis 48

Israel's Last Days

1 Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, "Behold, your father is sick." So he took his two sons 1Manasseh and Ephraim with him.
2 When it was told to Jacob, "Behold, your son Joseph has come to you," Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed.
3 Then Jacob said to Joseph, "2God Almighty appeared to me at 3Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me,
4 and He said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for 4an everlasting possession.'
5 "Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; 5Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as 6Reuben and Simeon are.
6 "But your offspring that have been born after them shall be yours; they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance.
7 "Now as for me, when I came from 7Paddan, 8Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance * to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem )."
8 When Israel 9saw Joseph's sons, he said, "Who are these?"
9 Joseph said to his father, "10They are my sons, whom God has given me here." So he said, "Bring them to me, please, that 11I may bless them."
10 Now 12the eyes of Israel were so dim from age that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them close to him, and he 13kissed them and embraced them.
11 Israel said to Joseph, "I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well."
12 Then Joseph took them from his knees, and 14bowed with his face to the ground.
13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel's left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel's right, and brought them close to him.
14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, crossing his hands, although 15Manasseh was the firstborn.
15 He blessed Joseph, and said, "16The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, 17The God who has been my shepherd all * my life to this day,
16 18The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, 19Bless the lads; And may my name live on in them, And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And 20may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."
17 When Joseph saw that his father 21laid his right hand on Ephraim's head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head.
18 Joseph said to his father, "Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head."
19 But his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and 22his descendants shall become a multitude of nations."
20 23He blessed them that day, saying, "By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying, 'May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!' " Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.
21 Then Israel said to Joseph, "Behold, I am about to die, but 24God will be with you, and 25bring you back to the land of your fathers.
22 "I give you one portion more than your brothers, 26which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow."

Genesis 48 Commentary

Chapter 48

Joseph visits his dying father. (1-7) Jacob blesses Joseph's sons. (8-22)

Verses 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.

Verses 8-22 The two good men own God in their comforts. Joseph says, They are my sons whom God has given me. Jacob says, God hath showed me thy seed. Comforts are doubly sweet to us when we see them coming from God's hand. He not only prevents our fears, but exceeds our hopes. Jacob mentions the care the Divine providence had taken of him all his days. A great deal of hardship he had known in his time, but God kept him from the evil of his troubles. Now he was dying, he looked upon himself as redeemed from all sin and sorrow for ever. Christ, the Angel of the covenant, redeems from all evil. Deliverances from misery and dangers, by the Divine power, coming through the ransom of the blood of Christ, in Scripture are often called redemption. In blessing Joseph's sons, Jacob crossed hands. Joseph was willing to support his first-born, and would have removed his father's hands. But Jacob acted neither by mistake, nor from a partial affection to one more than the other; but from a spirit of prophecy, and by the Divine counsel. God, in bestowing blessings upon his people, gives more to some than to others, more gifts, graces, and comforts, and more of the good things of this life. He often gives most to those that are least likely. He chooses the weak things of the world; he raises the poor out of the dust. Grace observes not the order of nature, nor does God prefer those whom we think fittest to be preferred, but as it pleases him. How poor are they who have no riches but those of this world! How miserable is a death-bed to those who have no well-grounded hope of good, but dreadful apprehensions of evil, and nothing but evil for ever!

Cross References 26

  • 1. Genesis 41:51, 52; Joshua 14:4
  • 2. Genesis 28:13; Genesis 35:9-12
  • 3. Genesis 28:19; Genesis 35:6
  • 4. Genesis 17:8
  • 5. Genesis 41:50-52; Genesis 46:20; Genesis 48:1; Joshua 14:4
  • 6. 1 Chronicles 5:1, 2
  • 7. Genesis 33:18
  • 8. Genesis 35:19, 20
  • 9. Genesis 48:10
  • 10. Genesis 33:5
  • 11. Genesis 27:4
  • 12. Genesis 27:1
  • 13. Genesis 27:27
  • 14. Genesis 42:6
  • 15. Genesis 41:51, 52
  • 16. Genesis 17:1
  • 17. Genesis 49:24
  • 18. Gen 22:11, 15-18; Genesis 28:13-15; Genesis 31:11
  • 19. Hebrews 11:21
  • 20. Genesis 28:14; Genesis 46:3
  • 21. Genesis 48:14
  • 22. Genesis 28:14; Genesis 46:3
  • 23. Hebrews 11:21
  • 24. Genesis 26:3
  • 25. Genesis 28:15; Genesis 46:4; Genesis 50:24
  • 26. Joshua 24:32; John 4:5

Footnotes 21

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 48

Joseph, hearing that his father Jacob was sick, paid him a visit, Ge 49:1,2; at which time Jacob gave him an account of the Lord's appearing to him at Luz, and of the promise he made unto him, Ge 49:3,4; then he adopted his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and blessed them, and Joseph also, Ge 49:5-16; and whereas he crossed his hands when he blessed the sons of Joseph, putting his right hand on the youngest, and his left hand on the eldest, which was displeasing to Joseph, he gave him a reason for so doing, Ge 49:17-20; and then assured him that God would bring him, and the rest of his posterity, into the land of Canaan, where he assigned him a particular portion above his brethren, Ge 49:21,22.

Genesis 48 Commentaries