This is the story of Jacob, sometimes known as Israel, blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, two of Joseph’s sons. Jacob, who is nearing the end of his life, calls for Joseph to come to him. Jacob tells Joseph of the loss of his son, Joseph, many years before and relates God’s promise to him that He would make his descendants a mighty nation.
Jacob then bestows blessings on Joseph’s sons, adopting them as his own, and allocating them a portion of his other sons’ inheritance. Ephraim, the younger son, receives the greater blessing instead of Manasseh, the older son, which goes against the accepted tradition at the time.
At the end of the chapter, Jacob blesses his own sons individually and gives them instructions on how to bury him. Once Jacob passes away, Joseph eulogizes him and arranges for his embalming in Egypt.
Ultimately, Genesis 48 highlights the significance of the patriarchal benefits, the younger son’s contribution to getting the greater blessing, and the accomplishment of God’s promises to Jacob and his line of ancestors.
The patriarchs’ blessings are important. The adoption of Joseph’s sons as his own and the privileges Jacob bestowed upon them serve as examples of the significance of the patriarchal blessings in Israelite society. The future of the receiver and their descendants was thought to be able to be shaped by these blessings.
The unexpected is typically what God selects. Jacob deviates from the accepted procedure of the time, which would have been to give the bigger blessing to the older son, Manasseh, by giving it to the younger son, Ephraim. This exemplifies how God frequently chooses the unanticipated or unlikely individual to carry out his intentions.
The importance of inheritance. The significance of inheritance in Hebrew culture is emphasized in this chapter. Jacob ensures that his family’s wealth and legacy are handed down to subsequent generations by giving Joseph’s sons a portion of his own sons’ inheritance.
The things God has promised happen. God kept his promises to build a powerful nation out of Jacob’s lineage, as seen by Jacob’s blessings on his sons and Joseph’s sons. This serves as a reminder that God is dependable and will carry out his commitments in his own time and manner.
Family matters a lot. The chapter serves as an example of the value placed on family in Hebrew culture as Jacob praises his sons and grandkids and provides them instructions for his burial. It serves as a reminder of the value of cherishing and upholding our own families as well as preserving and transferring our traditions and values to coming generations.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the blessings of the patriarchs and for the promises you have made to your people throughout history. We are grateful for the ways in which you have fulfilled your promises to us, even when we may not have understood your plan at the time.
Help us to remember that you often choose the unexpected and unlikely person to fulfill your plans, and that we should trust in your timing and your ways. Help us to be good stewards of the inheritance that you have given us, and to use our resources to bless others and honor you.
We also ask that you bless our families, as Jacob blessed his own sons and grandsons. Help us to cherish and honor our loved ones, and to pass down our values and traditions to future generations. We pray all these things in your name. Amen.
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Please also visit www.wisdombegun.com/genesis for more thought-provoking discussions on the Book of Genesis plus free downloads and presentations about the Genesis story – ideal for use at Bible Study groups or Sunday school lessons.
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Featured image attribution:
Sweet stories of God; in the language of childhood and the beautiful delineations of sacred art. Pollard, Josephine, 1834-1892. This image is in the public domain. Cropped from original.
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