R. Judah HeḤasid, in his comment on Jacob’s blessing asserts that the subject of Genesis 48:20b, “he placed Ephraim before Manasseh,” and 48:22, “I have given you [=Joseph] an extra portion…,” is not Jacob but Moses, referring to when Moses put Ephraim before Manasseh in the tribal listings in Num 2:18-21. And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh" (verses 18-20). Jacob makes it clear that both preventing the negative and striving for the positive—defense and offense—are important, as both boys receive blessings. As Manasseh does this, he will reap the blessing of the patriarchs with visible results. In other words, Manasseh is defense and Ephraim is offense. The Ephraim and Manasseh blessing is the lens through which I describe the all-important principle and practice blessing in my new book, The Power to Bless (Baker Books, Feb 2, 2021). Here Jacob gives Joseph’s two sons the first born status and blessing. Reuben and Simeon were disqualified because of sins they committed (see 1 Chr 5:1–2). Ephraim and Manasseh, Abraham blessings. 21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your fathers. Ephraim was placed on Jacob’s left. Manasseh represents overcoming the obstacles imposed by one’s past, and Ephraim represents advancement and growth. Genesis 48:5, Ephraim and Manasseh. But instead of blessing Ephraim with his left hand and Manasseh with his right one, Jacob crossed his arms and gave Ephraim the better blessing. Manasseh, the older son, was placed at the right hand of Jacob in order to, as was customary, receive the better blessing. In this Torah portion, we also read about the adoption of Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, by their grandfather, Jacob. “By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying, ‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’” Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. God’s plan through the gospel is to bring all nations to him and to make them his people. All pre-orders will receive a FREE audio copy of the book! In GENESIS 48:19, Manasseh was told that he was to become a great people, or nation. Ephraim is to head up this great work, but Manasseh is to roll up his sleeves and be there at his side. Genesis 48:6, Your two sons…are mine. After this visit, Jacob then speaks words of blessing and rebuke to each of his sons. Along with Ephraim, Manasseh is responsible to gather the other tribes. These two leading tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, were to become the heads of the two great sections into which Israel was to be divided. In the blessings that Jacob pronounced on Manasseh and Ephraim recorded in Genesis 48, the last part of verse 20 reads, “And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.” Here, God establishes the order, the younger, Ephraim, first and then the elder, Manasseh. With this blessing the National Name of Israel is transferred to Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, with Ephraim the younger receiving the direct transfer of the ‘Birthright Blessing’, and will later also be called ‘Israel’, being the larger of all the other tribes. God’s people are an extension of Jacob’s blessings to Ephraim and Manasseh, to many nations. Here Jacob was adopting Joseph’s two sons as his own, who in effect replaced Joseph as Jacob’s heir. As his people, we have a responsibility to live soberly and righteously in this present world. Instead, Manasseh was to become the great single nation and Ephraim the company of nations. This grand outpouring of bounty is a sign of the times. Available for pre-order at Amazon now! Jacob dies, and Genesis concludes with Joseph's death in Egypt. As we have already seen, Israel was to become a nation and a company of nations. Furthermore, we see clarified here that the national birthright blessing of a nation and company of nations given in Genesis 35:11 did not refer to the tribes of Israel generally.

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