King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Genesis > Old Testament > Home

Genesis 48

Joseph visits his dying father. (1-7) Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons. (8-22)

Genesis 48 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Joseph visits his dying father

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.

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

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.

Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons

8 And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these?

9 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.

10 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.

11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.

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

13 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.

14 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.

15 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.

17 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.

20 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.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Sick. Worse than when he was with him before. H.

Ver. 2. Strengthened: with the thought of seeing this beloved son, and also with the prophetic spirit (M.) of God, which filled him with joy, &c. Gal. v. 22. H.

Ver. 4. Possession. He makes mention of this first vision of God to him, to shew that he had a right to Chanaan, and to adopt the two children of Joseph, who were each to have as much as his own children. H. — Jacob’s posterity enjoyed that land till the Messias came, with some few interruptions. But his spiritual children inherit a much better country, (of which this was a figure) an eternal kingdom in heaven. C.

Ver. 5. Mine, by adoption; and shall be heads of their respective tribes. M.

Ver. 6. Thine. They shall not claim the same prerogative: they shall live among their brethren, Ephraim and Manasses. We read not that Joseph had any other children besides these two. C. — The double portion, or the birth-right, was thus transferred from Ruben to Joseph. D.

Ver. 7. For when, &c. Heb. “as for me.” Do not wonder that I should so earnestly desire to be laid in the tomb of Mambre, whereas your mother was buried at Ephrata. I was in a manner forced to bury her there, by the heat of the weather, (M.) and the confusion to which my family was then exposed, on account of the slaughter of the Sichemites. H. — That place was, moreover, to be honoured with the birth of the Messias. S. Aug. q. 165.

Ver. 11. Deprived. Heb. “I did not expect; or, I durst not pray” to God for a thing which I thought impossible; I mean, the happiness of seeing thee; and lo, God, &c.

Ver. 12. Lap, (gremio, breast,) after Jacob had embraced them; or from between his knees, where they knelt to receive his blessing. — Bowed down, out of reverence to his father, and to beg of God that he would put words of comfort into the mouth of his father, on this solemn and important occasion. Then, in order that his children might not lean upon, or incommode Jacob, he placed them, the elder at his right-hand, the other at his left. H.

Ver. 14. Changing. Heb. “making his hands intelligent;” or giving to understand, by forming a cross with his extended hands, that he had some particular reason for so doing. H. — By the preference given to Ephraim, he forshewed his royal dignity, in giving kings to the ten tribes, (Euseb.) and that his tribe would surpass that of his brother in glory and numbers; (v. 19,) and lastly, give birth to that great leader, Josue; who, as a figure of Christ, should introduce the Israelites into the promised land. M. — The custom of imposing hands on a person, is of high antiquity, and is still practiced in the Christian church in the ordination of her ministers. Num. viii. 10. Acts vi. 6. See Matt. xix. 13. Num. xxvii. 23. C. — The cross of Christ is the source of all our exaltation. A preference for the younger children is generally observable in Scripture; being intended to shew that the Church, though chosen later out of all nations, should obtain the preference over the synagogue. Theodoret. T.

Ver. 16. The angel guardian, who, by God’s ordinance, has ever protected me, continue his kind attention towards these my grand-children. It is not probably that he, who was called God before, should now be styled an angel, as some Protestants would have us believe. H. — S. Basil c. Eunom. iii. and S. Chrysostom, with many others, allege this text, to prove that an angel is given to man for the direction of his life, and to protect him against the assaults of the rebel angels, as Calvin himself dares not deny. — Let my, &c. Let them partake of the blessings (promised by name to me, to Abraham, and to Isaac) among the other tribes; or, may God bless them, in consideration of his servants. Moses obtained pardon for the Hebrews, by reminding God of these his chosen friends. Ex. xxxii. W.

Ver. 17. Displeased; (graviter accepit,) was grieved to see the elder son neglected; and, thinking it might possibly proceed from a mistake, as his father’s eyes were so dim that he did not know them, (v. 8,) he ventured to suggest his sentiments to his father; but acquiesced in his decision. H. — The greatest prophets are not always under actual inspiration. C.

Ver. 19. A people, (in populos.) He shall be father of many peoples. The tribe of Manasses was divided, and had a large territory on either side of the Jordan, immediately north of that which fell to the lots of Ephraim and of Gad. H. — Grow. Heb. “shall be the fulness of nations;” or shall possess every thing that can make a nation great and enviable. The event justified this prediction. Ephraim was at the head of the ten tribes, most valiant and powerful. 3 K. xi. 26. C.

Ver. 20. In thee, Joseph. Sept. “in you,” Ephraim and Manasses. The Israelites shall wish the same happiness to their greatest friends, as that which you have enjoyed. M.

Ver. 22. Thee. In thy posterity; and particularly in Ephraim, to whose lot it shall fall, a portion. Hebrew shecem; which the Sept. explain of the city, or field near it, which Jacob had formerly purchased; and which, being wrested from him after he had left that country, by the Amorrhites, he recovered by the sword. Masius. — The particulars of this transaction are not given in Scripture. M. — The children of Joseph buried their father in this field. Jos. xxiv. 32. There also was Jacob’s well. John iv. 5. We have already observed, that Jacob restored whatever his sons had taken unjustly from the unhappy Sichemites. C. xxxiv. 30. — Sword and bow, is understood by S. Jerom and Onkelos in a spiritual sense, to denote his justice and earnest prayer, by which he merited the divine protection; (C.) or it may mean the money, which he had procured with hard labour. S. Jer. q. Heb.