OceanSide church of Christ

 Previous Return to The Book of Genesis Next 


Genesis 48

Victor M. Eskew


I.           The Title of Genesis 48


A.   Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Son (Gen. 48:9, 15, 16, 20)


II.         The Key Verse of Genesis 48:  Genesis 48:5


And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born to thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee in Egypt, are mine, as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.


Why this verse?  Jacob lifts up Joseph’s children to the level of his first and second born sons.  They are not in inferior to any of the children of Jacob just because they were born in Egypt.


III.       The Outline of Genesis 48


i.               JOSEPH VISITS HIS SICK FATHER (Gen. 48:1-2)

ii.              JACOB REHEARSES HISTORY TO JOSEPH (Gen. 48:3-7)

iii.            JACOB BLESSES JOSEPH’S SONS (Gen. 48:8-20)

iv.            JACOB PROMISES THEIR RETURN TO CANAAN (Gen. 48:21-22)


IV.        The Lessons of Genesis 48


A.   When a person is sick, to visit the person involves us in a good work (Gen. 48:1).


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.


1.     Visiting is not something the younger generation does.

2.     Parents need to take their children with them when they visit.  Children learn much through observation.

3.     Visiting the sick is involved in our eternal destiny (Matt. 25:36, 43).


Naked, and ye clothed me:  I was sick, and ye visited me:  I was in prison and ye came unto me…I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked and ye clothed me not:  sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.


B.    Those who are visited when sick muster strength to enjoy the company of the one who comes to visit (Gen. 48:2).


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


1.     Those visiting need to remember that visits can and do take strength from the one being visit.

2.     Several short visits are better than one long visit.


C.   We need to always keep in memory the things God has said to us (Gen. 48:3-4).


And Jacob said to Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and I will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.


1.     Numbers 15:40


That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.


2.     Jude 17


But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles and of our Lord Jesus Christ.


D.   Passages like Genesis 48:4 are used to “prove” that the land of Canaan was promised to the Jews forever.

1.     Answer #1:  The word “everlasting” can be qualified by the terms of a covenant.  Then land of Canaan would belong to the Jews as long as they adhered to the covenant that God gave them at Sinai.

2.     Answer #2:  The word “everlasting” can simply mean “for a long period of time.”


E.    Having been born in Egypt and being partial Egyptians did not change the status of Joseph’s children.  They were counted as Israelites (Gen. 48:5).


And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee in Egypt are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.


F.     Equality is determined by name and inheritance (Gen. 48:6).


And thy issue, which thou begettest after thee, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.


G.   There is both connection and closure knowing about the death and burial places of one’s relatives (Gen. 48:7).


As for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was a little way to come unto Ephrath:  and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is in Bethlehem.


1.     Rachel was the mother of Joseph (Gen. 30:22-24)

2.     Rachel never saw Joseph after his brethren sold him into slavery.

3.     She died giving birth to Benjamin (Gen. 35:16-19).


H.   One of the afflictions of old age is diminishing eye sight (Gen. 38:10a).


And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.


I.     Grandparents love to hug and kiss their grandchildren (Gen. 48:10b).


And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.


J.    What man thinks to be impossible, God can bring to pass, and then some (Gen. 48:11).


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


K.   There are questions about the blessings the patriarchs gave to their children that we are not able to answer (Gen. 48:14).


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.


1.     How did Jacob know to do this?

2.     Did God speak to Jacob at this time through inspiration?


L.    It is nice to hear when generations of people have faithfully served God (Gen. 48:15a).


And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk…


M.  Jacob understood where his physical necessities came from (Gen. 48:15b).


…the Lord which fed me all my life long unto this day.


N.   Jacob attributes his protection to a divine being called “The Angel” (Gen. 48:16).


The Angel which redeemed me from all evil…


O.   The prophecy concerning Ephraim (Gen. 48:19).


…but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multi-tude of nations.


1.     Barnes:  “This blessing began to be fulfilled from the time of the Judges when the tribe of Ephraim increased in extent and power, that it took the lead of the northern tribes and became the head of the ten tribes, and its name acquired equal importance with the name Israel, whereas under Moses, Manasseh had numbered 20,000 more than Ephraim (Num. 26:34 and Num. 26:37).  As a result of the promises received from God, the blessing was not merely a pious wish, but the actual bestowal of a blessing of prophetic significance and force (e-sword.com).


P.    The nation of Israel will not stay in the land of Egypt forever (Gen. 48:21).


And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold I die:  but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.


Q.   Joseph would receive one portion of land more in the land of Canaan than did his brothers (Gen. 48:22).


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.


1.     Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh received portions of land in Canaan.  Thus Joseph received one portion above his brethren.

2.     NOTE:  We find the prophetic perfect in this verse.  The future is trans-ported to the present as being already accomplished.

3.     Eventually, Joseph would be brought to Shechem (Josh. 24:32) in Manasseh.  In New Testament times, this was called Samaria.  In John 4:5, we read an interesting historical statement in connection with the events we are considering.


Then cometh he (Jesus) to the city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.