Jacob Blesses Ephraim And Manasseh

Johnny’s first day of school the class was to put their right hands over their hearts & repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. The teacher watched the children as he started the pledge, “I pledge allegiance to the flag...” She stopped when she noticed Johnny’s right han … More


The news came to Joseph one day that his father was very sick. He immediately laid aside his affairs of state, took his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and hurried to see his father (v. 1). Jacob sat up in bed and when Joseph presented his two sons to him the aged patriarch pronounced his blessing on them and gave them the inheritance rights of the firstborn (vv. 2-5). This not only meant giving a double portion to Joseph but replaced Reuben and Simeon who were Jacob’s first two sons, born to Leah (v. 6). This elevation of the sons of Joseph was promted by his remembrance of Rachel, who died in Canaan (v. 7) (Gen. 35:16-20).

Jacob was very old and almost blind so Joseph identified them as his two sons and Jacob hugged and kissed them (vv. 8-10). He reminded Joseph that he had thought he was dead for many years but was now glad to see his children (v. 11) Then Joseph bowed down in front of his father (v. 12). Soon he got up and put Ephraim on Jacobs’s left and Manasseh on his right (v. 13). In the blessing Jacob crossed his hands so that his right hand was on Ephraim’s head and his left on Manasseh’s (vv. 14-16). Since Manasseh was the firstborn he would normally have been blessed with the right hand. When Joseph saw this happening he protested but his father assured him that he knew what he was doing and that he was blessing according to God’s divine plan and not according to normal custom (vv. 17-20). Years later Ephraim became a leading tribe in the Northern Kingdom and was superior to the tribe of Manasseh as Jacob had predicted (vv. 21-23).

It is interesting to note that for four generations younger brothers received the family blessing: Isaac instead of Ishmael (Gen. 17:18-19), Jacob instead of Esau (Gen. 25:23), Joseph instead of Reuben (Gen. 49:3-4, 26) and now Ephraim instead of Manasseh.


Joseph, like so many, expected God to work in a certain way. I need to realize that God’s ways are not always man’s ways. It may please Him to work differently and sometimes unconventionally so I should not try to put everyone in the same mold. 

Genesis 48:1-22 (English Standard Version)

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