Genesis 48:12-22


Verse 12-14,  And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.  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.  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.

I.    The agreement between Joseph and Jacob.

A.  Joseph bringing his sons out from between his knees shows his agreement to their adoption.

B.   Joseph bowing before his father shows his spiritual submission to him, even though he is the second ruler in Egypt.


II.   Preparation for God's blessings.

A.  The significance of the right hand.

1.      This is a very large subject and cannot be adequately treated here.  For a fuller explanation see my file: \workprog\works\god\ritehand.wps

2.   God has saved Israel from the Egyptians by his right hand.

a.   Ex. 15:6   "Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy."

b.   Ex. 15:12   "Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them."

3.   God issued the law from his right hand, the hand of his power.  Deut. 33:2  "And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them."

B.   Jesus Christ at the right hand of God.

1.   It is prophesied Jesus Christ will sit at God's right hand.

a.   Matt. 22:44   "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?"

b.   Mark 12:36   "For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool."

c.   Luke 20:42   "And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,"

2.      Jesus declares that he will sit at the right hand of God the Father.

a.   Matt. 26:64   "Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

b.   Mark 14:62   "And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

c.   Luke 22:69   "Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God."

3.   The fulfillment of prophecies concerning Christ sitting at the right hand of God.

a.   Mark 16:19   "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God."

b.   Acts 2:33   "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."

c.   Acts 2:34   "For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,"

d.   Acts 5:31   "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."

e.   Acts 7:55,56   "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, {56} And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."

f.    Rom. 8:34   "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."

g.   Eph. 1:20   "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,"

h.   Col. 3:1   "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."

i.    Heb. 1:3   "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"

j.    Heb. 8:1   "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;"

k.   Heb. 10:12   "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;"

l.    Heb. 12:2   "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

m.  1 Pet. 3:22   "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."

4.      Christs' right hand is in the midst of His church.

a.   Rev. 1:16   "And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."

b.   Rev. 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."

c.   Rev. 2:1   "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;"

5.   The right hand of Christ shows power during the tribulation.

a.   Rev. 1:17   "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:"

b.   Rev. 5:1   "And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals."

c.   Rev. 5:7   "And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne."

C.   The significance of laying on of hands.

1.      There is no power transferred from one person to another through the laying on of hands.

2.   It is a spiritual symbol showing that God will bless as He sees fit.

3.   The laying on of hands symbolizes:

a.   The consecration of offerings: Lev. 1:4, 3:2, 4:15, and 16:21.

b.   In ordination or consecration of men for special service: Num. 8:10, 27:18; Deut. 34:9; Acts 6:6; I Tim. 4:14.

c.   In blessings: Matt. 19:15; Mark 10:16.

d.   In healings: Mark 6:5, 7:32; Luke 4:40; Acts 28:8.

D.  Joseph prepares his sons for the blessing of God.

1.      According to Genesis 41:51, Manasseh is Joseph's firstborn and Ephraim is the second born.

2.   As Joseph prepares his sons for the blessings, he takes the firstborn (Manasseh) at his left and, toward Jacob's right hand and his second born (Ephraim) at his right hand toward Jacob's left hand.

3.   The purpose of this is that the right hand of Jacob will be on the firstborn and the left hand will be on the second born.

4.      Jacob doesn't do as Joseph expects, for he crosses his hands, laying his right hand on Ephraim, the second born, and his left hand on Manasseh, the firstborn.

5.      Joseph doesn't do anything about it right now, for he apparently doesn't notice what has happened until after he receives his fathers blessing.


III. The blessing upon Joseph.  Verse 15-16, 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.

A.  Notice that all of this blessing seems to be upon Joseph's sons, not on Joseph.

1.      How can Jacob add any blessings to Joseph, whom God has blessed so richly in his own life, and in the saving of all Israel from starvation?

2.   As every dad knows, when God blesses his children, God has blessed the father.

3.   In raising children, there is a great comfort in giving them over to God and not trusting the children themselves.

a.   Children, even our children, have a sinful nature and will willingly follow that nature in wickedness if left to themselves.

b.   Parents can live peaceably and find rest from their worry when they have given their children over to God and they depend on Him, not only to keep them safe, but also to keep their minds so they won't want to get in trouble.

B.   Jacob recognizes that his daily walk was not original with him, but he was only following his father and grandfather.

1.   God gave the promise to Abraham and his seed.

2.      Isaac and Jacob are seeds of Abraham and thus are in the line to receive the promise.

3.      They do not receive the promise because of some merit on their part, but because of the grace of God.

C.   Jacob gives God the glory for his food.

1.   It is very necessary for us to realize that we haven't fed ourselves.

2.   God has given us the strength necessary to work so there will be food for ourselves and our households.

3.   As Jacob approaches death, one of the things he considers as a great blessing from God is daily food.

4.      This is what Christ commands us to pray for and count at a great blessing.

5.   God fed Israel with manna daily while they were in the wilderness.

6.      They grew tired of this blessing and God gave them meat which killed many of them.

7.   May we always remember the blessing of food and count that a valuable windfall from God.


IV. The "Angel", Jesus Christ.

A.  Jesus Christ appears as an angel.

1.      Genesis 18:2 - See my comments on that verse for a fuller explanation.

2.      Genesis 22:11 - Jesus appears as an angel to Abraham when he about to slay his son, Isaac.

B.   Jacob didn't know the angel's name!

1.   The reason Jacob didn't know His name was because that name wasn't revealed yet!

2.      Jacob knew Jesus as personal Lord and Savior because he was trusting His power, not his own strength.

3.      Many people today know the name of Jesus, but do not know him as personal savior.

4.      They trust their maneuvering, manipulating and scheming to make it in this life, and never learn what it means to trust Jesus.

C.            Redeemed me from all evil.

1.      Redeemed means purchased from slavery.

2.      Jacob says he has been purchased (blood bought) from an eternity in hell.

3.      Jacob says his redemption also includes a lifetime freed from the evil of this world, basking in the blessings of God.

D.  The name of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob shall be upon Manasseh and Ephraim.

1.      Manasseh and Ephraim do not receive an inheritance because of this blessing.

2.      They receive the birthright, the same birthright Jacob stole from Esau.

3.   The promise of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob concerning Israel will go through these two boys.

E.   Their future growth into a multitude of people will be a fulfillment of the promise.

1.      Some commentaries have made a comparison of the population of Manasseh and Ephraim to the other tribes of Israel and state that they are not any larger than any of the other tribes, some tribes being larger and some being smaller.

2.      They have missed the point altogether, for Manasseh and Ephraim would not have been named among the tribes of Israel had it not been for the Jacob's blessing!

3.      Another point to notice is that God fore knew the tribes that would sin, causing them to be cast out of Israel.  God provides for their replacement before they ever sinned!


Verse 17-19, Joseph tries to correct his dad.  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.

V.  Does Joseph think his dad is wrong?

A.  The actions of Joseph.

1.   He saw his father's right hand on Ephraim, the second born son.

2.      Although Joseph saw his father cross his hands, it didn't occur to Joseph what actually happened.

B.   Joseph was displeased.

1.   I don't think this made Joseph mad, but he was upset because he placed great importance on who received the greater blessing.

2.      There was nothing in the lives or characters of the two boys that indicated to Joseph that the younger should receive the greater blessing.

3.      Actually, there is no reason (as far as humans are concerned) that the younger received the greater blessing.  It simply pleased God to do so.

C.   Joseph took matters into his own hands.

1.      Joseph is a man of action, who continually checks his own work, so he is not hesitant about correcting a situation he considers wrong.

2.   It seems Joseph actually moved Jacob's hand up from Ephraim's head in order to stop him from receiving the greater blessing.

3.      This raises a valid question.

D.  If Joseph believes Jacob is wrong about whose head his hand is on, how can he have confidence in his blessings?

1.      Joseph could blame Jacob's poor eyesight.

2.      Joseph could also blame confusion.       When Joseph put Manasseh on his left hand, he was at Jacob's right hand; and when Ephraim was on Joseph's right hand, he was on Jacob's left hand.

3.   The truth of the matter is that Joseph believes his dad has made an honest mistake which will have far reaching consequences.

4.      Joseph reasons that if the mistake isn't corrected now, he will forever wish it was.

5.      According to verse 18, Joseph clearly indicates that he believes Jacob is mistaken about who the firstborn is.

6.   The answer to this difficulty is that Joseph has complete confidence in the blessings of God through his dad.  This is why he is going to so much trouble to correct what he believes is a mistake.

E.   The God given insight of Jacob.

1.   I don't believe Jacob spoke harshly because he knew Joseph was only doing what he considered best.

2.   God had revealed to Jacob what he has hidden from Joseph.


Verse 20-22, The blessings upon Manasseh and Ephraim.  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.

VI. Verse 20.

A.  I doubt that this is the totality of blessings Jacob put upon these boys.

1.      This seems to be a summary of the blessing instead of the details.

2.   The main part is that Ephraim and Manasseh would be so obviously blessed by God that the other tribes of Israel would use them as the ultimate in spiritual blessings.

B.   It is also noticed that the name "Ephraim" is placed before "Manasseh".

1.      This is a clear indication that Ephraim will be blessed more than Manasseh.

2.      Those future blessings of God are already evident as far as God, Jacob, and Joseph are concerned.


VII.      Jacob further prophesies concerning Joseph.

A.  Jacob realizes he will die in Egypt.

1.      Looking at things from the physical viewpoint, anybody would believe Jacob would soon die, but that is not why Jacob believes.

2.      Jacob believes what God told him in Genesis 46:4 concerning his death.

B.   Jacob expects God to bring Joseph out of Egypt.

1.      Jacob gives no details, so we don't know if he has received this prophecy from God or not.

2.      This particular statement doesn't appear to be a part of the blessings from God.

a.   These remarks seem to have been made after Jacob gave God's blessings.

b.      Jacob appears to be speaking to his son concerning his future in view of the promise God gave to Abraham, Isaac, and himself.

c.   Those promises included an inheritance in the land of Canaan.

3.      Jacob does not state that Joseph will be alive when he leaves Egypt.

a.   Genesis 50:26 states that Joseph died in Egypt and was embalmed and put in a coffin in Egypt, but there is no indication he was buried.

b.   Exodus 13:19 - Moses carried the bones of Joseph out of Egypt for Joseph had made the children of Israel sware that when God visited them, they were to carry his bones back to Canaan.

c.   Joshua 24:32 - The bones of Joseph are buried in Shechem, which is a part of the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

d.   Regardless of whether or not Genesis 48:21 is a God given prophecy, it came true because Jacob was trusting in a promise given to Abraham, Isaac, and himself.


VIII.     Verse 22.  A special portion to Joseph.

A.  Joseph was always Jacob's favorite, and continues to be so even in death.

1.      Some children fight for equality in the settling of an estate, and always feel somebody else got more than they did.

2.      Here Joseph purposely gives more to Joseph than his other sons.

3.      There is no record that Jacob's other sons (or anybody else for that matter) disputed this transaction.

B.   There is no Bible record as to Jacob taking anything from an Amorite by force.

1.      What some believe this portion is.

a.   I do not believe the events in Genesis 34 are referred to because Jacob sharply chided his sons for their actions then and also in Genesis 49:5-7.

b.   I do not believe Jacob is speaking prophetically for he says he took them.

c.   I do not believe Joshua 24:32 is speaking of this portion because the Bible states that Jacob bought the land, not that he took it by force.

2.      What this portion seems to be.

a.   This "portion" is generally believed to be land, although there is no Bible record of what it is.

b.   John 4:5 states that Jesus came to Samaria, which is "...near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph."

3.      Lessons this passage teaches.

a.   The patriarchs do more than is recorded in the Bible.

b.   We sometimes believe that the patriarchs sit around, never fighting for themselves.

c.   This, patently, is not true.

d.   They probably do not fight to gain land, for they are trusting in the promises of God for that.

e.   There is no record as to why Jacob fought for this land, but it is obvious that he did not feel guilty about keeping it once he took it.

C.   In all fairness, I must state that the majority of Bible commentaries I have read believe this land is Shechem.  I find there is no Biblical foundation for this.  Jewish historians state it is true.

1.      John Gill states it very eloquently.

2.   See his comments on Genesis 48:22

3.   It is noted that the Hebrew word for "portion" is "Shechem".

4.   If it is so, then Jacob is speaking prophetically when he gives the land to Joseph, the land he has already purchased, yet left when he went to Egypt, and Israel must take by force upon their return to Canaan.

5.      This is the land Joseph and his descendants are buried in.

6.   The land of Shechem is given to the descendants of Joseph by Joshua.