The Blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh

48: 1-22

After receiving the oath from Joseph that he would be carried out of Egypt and buriedwith Abraham and Isaac, Jacob continued to be bedridden with a lot of time on his hands. Alone on his bed, he must have frequently reminisced, recalling the amazing events of his long walk with the LORD. One day, when Yosef came to visit him with his two Egyptian sons, God inspired Ya’akov to prophesy over them. This resulted in Jacob adopting Ephraim and Manasseh and elevating them to the status of full Israelite tribes along with Joseph’s other brothers. Therefore, there were fourteen tribes of Isra’el, although no more than twelve are listed at any one time in the Bible. As we shall see, the Ruach HaKodesh has a specific reason for choosing some and omitting others, but many times Ephraim and Manasseh are included in the place of Joseph.

The passing over of the firstborn is one of the most striking features of Genesis. Five times this happened: (1) with Seth being chosen over Cain, (2) Shem being chosen over Japheth, (3) Abraham being chosen over Haran, (4) Isaac being chosen over Ishmael, (5) Jacob being chosen over Esau, (6) Joseph being chosen over Reuben, and now (7) Ephraim over Manasseh. Ya’akov gave the birthright to Yosef by changing the status of Ephraim and Manasseh from grandsons to sons.742 In this way, Joseph inherited a double portion of the inheritance because his sons would then be included as equals among the brothers.

 

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