Friday, June 9, 2017

Genesis 48:8-22 comments: Jacob's blessing

8 ¶  And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these? 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. 10  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. 11  And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed. 12  And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 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. 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. 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, 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. 17  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. 18  And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Many times questions are asked in the Bible in a sort of rhetorical way. The understanding is that the person asking the question knows the answer but the requirement for an answer confirms a greater principle. For instance, in Genesis we know that God knows everything so this question becomes a requirement for someone to admit to something.

Genesis 3:8  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

    9 ¶  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10  And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Jacob is blind, or nearly so, as a consequence of age. As part of the judgment we in this world are enduring, old age leads to many physical failings on the part of even the noblest and upright of God’s men and women of destiny.

1Kings 14:4  And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age.

Also read the metaphorical speech regarding old age that Solomon gives in Ecclesiastes 12.

1 ¶  Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2  While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3  In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4  And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 5  Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6  Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Joseph acknowledged that God had given him his sons and then Jacob said he wanted to bless them. Jacob expresses his joy and satisfaction that he never thought to see Joseph’s face again and yet now he has not only gotten to see Joseph’s face but also his children. One of the laments of we parents who have lost a child to death is that we will not only never see their face again in our earthly life but we will not see the children they might have had. It is an enduring pain and grief for some.

Joseph is holding his boys close and presents them to his father to be blessed and bows himself to the ground, this second greatest man in the world’s greatest superpower acknowledging the authority of his sheepherding father. It is a lesson we should learn as many of those reading this have risen to a higher social, economic, or political strata than their father but still honor him in respect. Position often has nothing to do with worthiness for respect.

Joseph presented the children in a specific order, so that Manasseh, the eldest, would receive the right hand of blessing from his grandfather, Jacob. Jacob cross his hands and place his right hand, instead, on Ephraim’s head, and blessed Joseph. He mentions the Angel, capital A, as protecting him and asks that Angel for a blessing on the children and asks that they be included in his posterity and in the inheritance promised to his descendants. We’ve already seen what the word angel refers to but let’s review as Roman and Persian mythology have dominated a significant part of Christian history and have polluted our thinking ability and colored the lenses through which we view the Bible’s clear statements.

Remember, an angel is a presence, an appearance of something that is somewhere else, representing that person or thing but with power and ability that would prevent us from distinguishing the difference.

Isaiah 63:9  In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

Matthew 18:10  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Acts 12:15  And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

Revelation 1:20  The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Christ is the appearance of God; the angel of the Lord, His presence. I want to repeat the definition of an angel in Isaiah 63:9.

Isaiah 63:9  In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

Galatians 4:14  And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

(Even can link two things that are the same such as I, even I, in Genesis 6:17 and over a dozen other verses.)

Who led the Hebrews out of Egypt.

Judges 2:1 ¶  And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

You can imagine the angel of the LORD (LORD with all letters capitalized is Jehovah) or the angel of God as this Angel.

Joseph tried to remove his father’s hands, which Jacob had placed very deliberately where they were in full understanding of what he intended, onto the proper child in the order that he thought they should be placed. Jacob insisted, though, that Ephraim the younger would be greater than the elder. This is not the first time we have seen this, is it? Jacob himself was the younger child who supplanted the elder. But, this isn’t trickery or deception here. This blessing is from the beginning done wittingly.

The great leader to come, Joshua, a type of Christ in His Second Coming to conquer and rule, came out of Ephraim.

Numbers 13:8  Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun… 16  These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.

Jehoshua is a different spelling of the name Joshua.

Ephraim has its issues as a tribe which shall come out in the narrative as you read. Jacob admits he is dying but tells them they will see the land, meaning their descendants will, that was promised to them. Again, verse 22 is also a prophecy of time to come.

Genesis 15:16  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Widdowson said...

I love how the names of Joseph's sons are honored here by Jacob...Manassah means "forgetting' and Ephraim means "fruitfulness".