Genesis 48:1-22

When Joseph heard about his father Jacob’s health is failing. He brought his two sons to Jacob. Jacob rallied his strength and sat on the bedside. Jacob told Joseph that he received his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob adopted them into his family at the highest level (as if they were the first and second born). Jacob then crossed his hands to bless Joseph’s sons. Jacob put his right hand (favored hand) on the second-born Manasseh despite Joseph’s effort. Even Jacob gave the same blessings to Joseph’s sons but the son of the right hand received a greater proportion of the blessing. He told Joseph that the younger would be greater than the older. The younger, Ephraim will be ahead of the older, Manasseh.

‘This shows how the idea of firstborn in the Bible is often a position of pre-eminence, not necessarily meaning “first out of the womb” God chose Ephraim to take the position as firstborn.’ In Jeremiah 31:9 described this: For I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.

In my opinion, the comforting part of the story is what Jacob said in verse 21, ‘I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers’. Jacob gave reassurance to his descendants that God is with them when he departed from this earth. This is also the most valuable legacy he could pass on to his next generations.

“His presence is sufficient to make up the loss. They leave us, but He will never fail us. He will bring us to the land of our fathers, the heavenly Canaan.” John Wesley.     —- Alan Yam

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