Manasseh and Ephraim
Some time later Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. 2 When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.
3 Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty[a] appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 4 and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’
5 “Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. 6 Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers. 7 As I was returning from Paddan,[b] to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).
8 When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, “Who are these?”
9 “They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father.
Then Israel said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.”
10 Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed themand embraced them.
11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.”
12 Then Joseph removed them from Israel’s knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand,and brought them close to him. 14 But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.
15 Then he blessed Joseph and said,
“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life to this day,
16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
—may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
on the earth.”
17 When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”
19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” 20 He blessed them that day and said,
“In your[c] name will Israel pronounce this blessing:
‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”
So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you[d]and take you[e] back to the land of your[f] fathers. 22 And to you I give one more ridge of land[g] than to your brothers, the ridge I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”
Jacob (Israel) was near death. Joseph takes his two oldest sons with him to see Israel so they could be blessed. Just in these 2 sentences there are huge lessons. Nick reminded us this morning as we looked at Jacob/Israel and this story, God had renamed him. Now God does not rename everyone after we come to him, we all as Christians, have our old self versus our new self. In life as we go through trails and tests sometimes we end up flipping and flopping between our old self and our new self. We’re human will want to go back to old ways, all the things that we relied on to get us through the situation instead of trusting God. We have to remember to stay strong and in the truth of Gods word as we face struggles each day. My friend Doug said this morning, “ God is bigger than our own situation and he has a greater calling to use us to win souls for the kingdom. Through his forgiveness, love and mercy He gives Hope to the people who need to have it. ” Amen!
Jacob truly was near death so Joseph brought the two oldest boys so they could be blessed by his father, the family patriarch. This blessing is still an important concept in many orthodox families today. Verse 20 is prayed over each child, “May God bless you and make you as Ephraim and Manasseh. ” Jacob adopting these two as his oldest giving them the blessings that make the tribes actually number 13 yet is a shared blessing between the two of them to make the 12 tribes of Israel. (I know it’s a little bit complicated and we’re gonna get into the tribes as we dig in further in days to come. ) There were more than 20 different ways of listing the tribes in the Old Testament. 12 is a vital and special number to God.
Back to the blessing it was no accident that Jacob gave the blessing to the second oldest first, you have to remember this happened with him and Issac. God places people where they need to be. The strongest in Christ leading the pack.
A blessing over the children. Raising your children so they grow and are convinced of Gods steadfast love for them. Speak blessings over your children. Remind them of Gods faithfulness. Remind them every day that you love them, pray for them. Speak life over them. Intercede for them. Listen to this song below and let it lift you up today knowing that God is with you.
Put this song on repeat and listen to it until you believe it!