Genesis 48:1-11


Verse 1,  And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

I.    There is no record of how much time has passed from the close of chapter 47.

A.     But this record is a little different from chapter 47.

B.     In Genesis 47:29, the Bible states that the time for Jacob to die draws near, but does not state that he is sick or anything else.  His great age probably leads people to believe that he must die soon.

C.     Jacob is now of a great age, and when he gets sick, people are more likely to think that the time of his death is upon him.


II.    Joseph hears and comes to visit his father in his sickness.

A.     I believe it would be wrong to think that Joseph hasn't visited his father except on the two occasions mentioned.  Joseph has a great love for his father and there is no doubt in my mind that he visits him regularly.

B.     Joseph's visit on this occasion is mentioned because there is a particular purpose for the visit.  Joseph brings his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, for the special blessings of the patriarch.


Verse 2,  And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.

I.    There is no record of who tells Joseph that Jacob is sick, nor of who tells Jacob that Joseph is coming.

A.     We assume the person is someone who is taking care of Jacob and who is aware of Joseph's interest in his father.

B.     It may be jumping to conclusions, but the person may be aware of the patriarch blessings.


II.    Israel strengthens himself.

A.     A sickness unto death is accompanied with great weakness, yet when a need arises, the body is able to find necessary strength to complete the task at hand.

B.     The task is God's blessing upon the generations to come.

1.       Some would believe that God would bless the coming generations without the blessings of Jacob.

2.       They would also believe that God would save sinners without the preaching of the gospel.

3.       The truth is that God could bless future generations without Jacob, but He has chosen to use these necessary means.


Verse 3,  And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, {4} And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. {5} And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. {6} And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance. {7} And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem.

I.    Verse 3,4 - A rehearsal of the promise of God.

A.     God first appeared to Jacob at Luz (Bethel) when he was running from Esau.

B.     It may seem strange that God appeared with a blessing and not a curse.

1.       Jacob was a great deceiver in that he deceived Esau, and Jacob with the help of his mother Rebekah.

2.       God blessed Jacob, not because he was a good man, but because it pleased God.

3.       God blesses us, not because we are good people, but because it pleases Him.


II.    Four blessings in verse 4.

A.     The blessings are:

1.       I will make thee fruitful. (to bear fruit, to grow, to increase.)

2.       I will multiply thee.  (to increase {in whatever respect}, be in authority)

3.       I will make of thee a multitude of people.  (assembly, company, or congregation)

4.       I will give this land to thy seed.

B.     Comments concerning the blessings.

1.       It must be noted that God will do all these things for Jacob.  They do not come to him because of his hard work or because he deserves it.

2.       The first two blessings speaks of what God will do for Jacob personally.

a.      God will give Jacob many children.  Jacob was 70 years old when he left home.  Some might think that is too old to bear children, but nothing is impossible with God.

b.      God will make Jacob an authority to those around him.  This was fulfilled because Jacob's sons had no doubt he was their leader.  (See the tender care the sons took of their father once they understood their sin concerning selling Joseph into slavery.

3.       The third blessing speaks of God's continuing Jacob's blessings to the generations to come.  This would be of special comfort to Jacob as he comes to the end of his life.

4.       The fourth blessing speaks of an inheritance for the nation of Israel, not only in this life, but in eternity.


III.    Verse 5-7, The adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh.

A.     Why did Jacob adopt these two sons of Joseph?

1.       I Chron. 5:1,2 - Reuben lost his birthright when he defiled his father's bed.

a.      Sin always has its price.

b.      Reuben's sin caused his future generations to lose the promises of God.

c.      The exact same thing happens to people today, but few understand, or care, how God works.

2.       According to verse 7, Jacob adopts these two boys as a way of remembering Rachel.

a.      Rachel was supposed to be Jacob's only wife, thus the mother of all his children.

b.      Laban's trickery and the jealously of Leah and Rachel gave him four women to bear children.

B.     A look at the tribes of Israel.

1.       Jacob's twelve sons were supposed to make up the twelve tribes of Israel.

2.       Numbers 1:5-15.

a.      Reuben is counted as a tribe of Israel as far as inheritance is concerned, but not as far as birthright is concerned.

b.      Levi is not counted for that is the priestly tribe.

c.      Joseph is not counted, but his two sons are counted.

3.       Deut. 29:18-20 - God removes the name of the tribe that commits spiritual adultery.

4.       I kings 12:26-33 - The tribe of Dan and Ephraim commit spiritual adultery by allowing an idol to replace the worship of God, therefore their names are removed from among the tribes of Israel claiming birthright.

5.       Rev. 7:1-8 - 12,000 out of each tribe of Israel is saved during the tribulation period.  The tribe of Dan and Ephraim is left out, and the tribe of Manasseh, Joseph, and Levi is included.  Reuben is included because of inheritance, not birthright.


IV.    Verse 8-11,  And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?  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.  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.  And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath showed me also thy seed.

I.    Verse 8,9.

A.     Jacob asks, "Who are these?"

1.       Verse 10 explains that Jacob cannot see very well, therefore, he sees only fuzzy figures and cannot identify his grandsons.

2.       Some have stated that Jacob did not know his grandsons, but I completely reject this.

3.       I fully believe that Joseph, being the Godly man he was, would not keep Jacob's grandsons from him.

B.     Joseph explains they are his sons.

1.       Notice the word "place" is in italics.

2.       If we leave out the word "place" it gives a different meaning to the verse.

3.       Joseph was referring to more than just the land of Egypt, but to all the sufferings and trials he had undergone since being sold into slavery.

4.       Joseph enumerated the blessings of God demonstrated in his two sons while undergoing the sufferings and trials of his captivity.

5.       This is exactly what we ought to do.  When we undergo trials in this life, let us diligently look for the blessings of God in those trials.

C.     Jacob's blessings upon Joseph's sons.

1.       The blessings from this patriarch is much more than a "well wishing" for their future.

2.       What Jacob says here is prophecy from God concerning future generations


II.    Verse 10,  Jacob is nearly blind.

A.     Eccl. 12:3 - losing ones eyesight is a characteristic of old age.

1.       Genesis 27:1 - Isaac's eyesight got so bad in his old age that he couldn't tell his own sons apart.

2.       I Samuel 3:2 - Eli lost his eyesight in old age.

B.     They come near to Jacob.

1.       Jacob kissed them and embraced them, showing his special love for them as Joseph's children.

2.       There is no record of Jacob ever kissing or embracing any other of his grandchildren, although we have no reason to believe he didn't.


III.    Verse 11, The blessing of grandchildren.

A.     Proverbs 17:6 - "Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their father."

1.       Notice the joy in Jacob's voice as he remembers the great blessings of God.

2.       Jacob is about to bestow on his grandchildren the blessings his God has bestowed on him.

B.     It is normal for grandads to have special affection for their grandchildren, but there is a greater blessing if those grandchildren are to receive the promises of God.

1.       III John 4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

2.       Since this verse is true for fathers, how great is the joy for grandfathers?


IV.    Both Jacob and Joseph gave God the glory for their lives.

A.     Jacob said God has showed me your seed.

B.     Joseph, in verse 9, declared that God had given him these two sons.

C.     Family relationships can be very good, but they are extremely good when all parties recognize the hand of God in their lives.