Tuesday: Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons
As Jacob approaches death, he remembers his earlier return to Bethel (Genesis 35:1-15), when he received from God the renewed promise of the “everlasting possession” (Genesis 48:4) that was given to Abraham (Genesis 17:8). The hope of the Promised Land is, therefore, a comforting thought that nurtures his hope as he feels death coming. Jacob turns, then, to Joseph’s two sons, who were born in Egypt, and blesses them, but does so in the context of the future promise regarding his own seed.
Read Genesis 48:1-22. Why did Jacob bless Joseph’s two sons here, and not his other grandsons?
Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, are the only grandsons that Jacob blessed. They are thus elevated from the status of grandsons to the status of sons (Genesis 48:5). Although Jacob’s blessing implies a preeminence of the second (Ephraim) over the first (Manasseh), Jacob’s blessing concerns essentially Joseph (Genesis 48:15).
What we see here is a personal testimony about God’s faithfulness to them in the past and His promise for them in the future. Jacob refers to the God of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 48:15), who had provided food and protection for them. It is the same God who “has redeemed me from all evil” (Genesis 48:16, NKJV). Jacob also has in mind “the God of Bethel” (Genesis 31:13), with whom he wrestled (Genesis 32:29) and who changed his name from Jacob to “Israel” (Genesis 32:26-29).
By referring to all these experiences where God turns the evil into good, Jacob expresses his hope that not only will God take care of the present lives of his grandsons, just as He did for him and Joseph, he also thinks of the future, when his descendants will return to Canaan. This hope is clear from his reference to Shechem (Genesis 48:22), which is not only a piece of land that he had acquired (Genesis 33:19) but also a place where Joseph’s bones will be buried (Joshua 24:32) and where the land will be distributed to the tribes of Israel (Joshua 24:1). Even amid all that has happened, Jacob kept in mind the promises of God, who said that through this family “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3, NKJV).
Read Acts 3:25-26. According to Peter, how was this promise of Genesis 12:3 being fulfilled? How have we, ourselves, received this blessing?
Acts 3:24-26 (CSB)
24 “In addition, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, have also foretold these days.
25 “You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors, saying to Abraham, And all the families of the earth will be blessed through your ? # offspring #
26 “God raised up # his servant # and sent # him # first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”
Galatians 3:16 (CSB)
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his # seed #
He does NOT say “and to # seeds #,” as though referring # to many# but
referring to # one # and to your seed, # who is Christ #
The promise of God was ONE SEED through the fleshly like of Abraham, which is the Christ and who is the incarnate Word of God in flesh.
Christ Jesus is both Son of GOD and Son of man, two natures in his body/mind.
Colossians 2:9 (CSB) For the entire #fullness of God’s nature# dwells #bodily in Christ#
Hebrews 2:14-18 (CSB)
14 Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death -- that is, the devil --
15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.
16 For it is clear that he does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. 17 Therefore, he had to be like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in matters pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people.
18 For since he himself has suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
Now Jesus thought the Holy Spirit can do his work in our body/mind !
Hebrews 2:9-10 (CSB)
9 But we do see Jesus -- made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone -- crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death.
10 For in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God -- for whom and through whom all things exist -- should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
May he bless you in the SANTIFICATION process !
Philippians 1:6 (CSB)
I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Acts 3:26 (CSB)
"God raised up his servant and sent him FIRST to YOU to bless YOU by turning each of you from your evil ways.”
Fleshly Israel had first right of refusal of Sonship ! First Fruits
Then the Gentiles had the privilege of Sonship.
Acts 13:46-47 (CSB)
46 Paul and Barnabas boldly replied, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to YOU FIRST.
Since YOU REJECTED IT and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are TURN to the Gentiles.
47 “For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles to bring salvation to the end of the earth.”
Joseph was given the birthright, a double portion, his two sons were elevated to heads of tribes like Jacob's other sons. So Joseph's dreams came true he was pronounced the head of the children of Israel. Just as his brothers feared because he was the first born of Rachel, Jacob made him the head over all of them.
These were the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel. Though he was the firstborn, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel, because Reuben defiled his father’s bed. So he is not reckoned according to birthright. 2 And though Judah prevailed over his brothers and a ruler came from him, the birthright belonged to Joseph.
Israel said to Joseph, “Look, I am about to die, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. Moreover, I have given you [the birthright,] one portion [Shechem, one mountain ridge] more than any of your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.”
During the covid travel restrictions a lot of grandchildren were born to families who could not travel. Some grandparents did not get to see their grandchildren until they were about 2 years old. When the restrictions were lifted there were a lot of very happy meetings for the first time in airport arrival lounges between grandparents and grandchildren. The TV News reporters and producers knew they were onto a good thing and there was a lot of coverage of smiling grandparents shedding tears of joy as they hugged their grandchildren for the first time.
I can only imagine Jacob learning his good news. Not only was Joseph alive, but Jacob had a couple of new grandsons as well. That was a double blessing.
I have two grandsons, and I see them nearly every day. I have so much that I want to pass on to them because I know that when they get to my age they will say that they wished they had asked me more questions (and it won't be maths either!)
And so, Jacob was excited to see his grandsons and wanted to ensure them that they were family in spite of their being born in Egypt. I am not sure that we need to read anything of significance into the blessing of the younger more than the older. The same had happened to Jacob, by his own deceipt.
The big picture is that these sons, born in Egypt, and their descendants were to be considered part of the Isrealite family. Later history reveals that rather than Joseph being considered as a tribe, his two sons were considered separate tribes and each given an inheritance in the promised land.
Acts3:25-26 - ”You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
Though the people hearing Peter speak were not the literal sons of the prophets, they heared the Word of God spoken by them; they were taught the Truth by them; they were the people being blessed through God’s covenant relationship with them. God chose them to be blessed first - one of them would be established to embody and teach them God’s Truth and they whould disseminate this Truth throughout the nations; to the Jews first, and then to the gentiles – Jesus became salvation to all mankind.
How have we, ourselves, received this blessing? We received this blessing as we accepted Jesus to be our Lord and Savior – having accepting Him to ‘turn us away from our iniquities’. He was given to mankind to become the gift of Life for all who seek after God’s Word of Truth and Light which God reveals to all who love Him.
What happens on Jacob’s deathbed makes me chuckle a little (Gen. 48:12-14,17-19). By convention, Joseph places his eldest at Jacob’s right hand for the first blessing. But Jacob crosses his arms to switch up the blessing. My mother also is having some dementia, so I can see Joseph gently but firmly saying, “No no dad, put your hands this way”, thinking his dad is forgetting and simply mistaken. And his dad stubbornly saying, “I know, I know what I’m doing!”
How often do we nurse an ambition and bring it to God‘s right hand to bless, but he doesn’t!… And life takes an unexpected turn. God defies our expectations. We often have linear thinking with God versus corkscrew thinking. We think if we live a healthy life by the rules, for example, then we won’t have a big disease. I was surprised myself when my tests came back positive for cancer. While you hear stories of people that smoke all their life and live to a ripe old age. With this example I’m not advocating not taking care of our bodies… It just strikes me as a reminder that our health is ultimately in God’s hands. We can’t explain so many things.
This was the lesson that Job learned. Job’s friends said many things that were actually quite theologically sound (Job 11:7-8). They talked about the omnipotence of God and yet they were too ready to explain everything about God, and were rebuked by Him for it (Job 42:7). There is evil without cause and things don’t always progress in an expected manner. John the Baptist had to learn this too in prison. “Please ask Jesus, ‘are you the Christ?’ I just don’t know anymore because things aren’t going the way I expected” (Luke 7:19, 22-23).
God isn’t an old man with dementia who doesn’t know what He is doing. God knows exactly what He’s doing and He’s always busy turning evil into good for us…in a way that defies expectations. All through the Bible we see that God’s blessings don’t follow an expected order (e.g., John 1:46, and Hannah’s beautiful prayer of thanksgiving where she recognizes that God turns everything on its head and that “by strength shall no man prevail” 1 Samuel 2:3-9).
I’m so grateful that You, God, live outside our boxes, and it is safe and the smartest thing we can ever do to leave outcomes in Your hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen 🙏
Thank you for that reminder that God knows what He is doing even when it doesn’t make sense to us! God bless!
Amen God Bless you 🙏