Go back to normal view
By Linda Roovers with inspiration from the New Spirit-filled Life Bible NLT
Learning from Jacob, how to pray a blessing over those we love
This is a short Bible study about Joseph and his wife Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, and their two children and the events until Jacob's death after the family reunion.
Joseph named his older son Manasseh for he said "God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father's family." Joseph named his second son Ephraim for he said "God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief."
Pharoah gave Joseph an Egyptian name Zaphenath-Paneah (probably meaning "God speaks and lives"). Joseph's wife was a pagan but Joseph continued to worship Yahweh.
Jacob sets out for Egypt on the way at Beersheba God spoke to Jacob, telling him not to be afraid to go to Egypt and that he would die there but "Joseph will be with you to close your eyes." (v26-27)
The total number of Jacob's direct descendants who went with him to Egypt, not counting son's wives was 66; adding Jacob, Joseph and his two sons this was 70 entering Egypt in 1710BC 450 years later 600,000 left Egypt.
Jacob is dying; Joseph takes his sons to be blessed by Jacob. Jacob says that he is claiming both boys as his sons. Verse 5 as Jacob is half-blind Joseph arranges the boys in the 'right position' but Jacob changes it and gives the youngest boy the first blessing, saying he will become greater than his brother. In verse 20 Jacob said "The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing, they will say 'May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh'."
BY BLESSING PEOPLE IN THIS WAY ONE IS ASKING GOD TO CAUSE ONE'S NEGATIVE PAST TO BE FORGOTTON AND HIS FUTURE TO BE FRUITFUL (based on the meanings of their names); this is similar to the Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6:23 and also has echoes of the Lord's prayer from Luke 11 when we seek to honour, to bless, to hallow God's Holy Name.
Jacob's last words to his sons is prophecy. Reuben, Simeon and Levi's descendants are to be dispersed throughout Israel due to their sin. Judah is given the blessing as firstborn (verse 10 says that the sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the rulers staff from his descendants until the coming of the One to whom it belongs (Jesus) (See Ez 21:27; Mt 1:3; Lk 3:34 (Although Judah had sinned against Tamar in Gen 38 God is the God of 2nd chances)). Zebulon maritime position, Issachar sturdy donkey, Dan will govern his people, Gad will suffer attacks, Asher will dine on rich food, Naphtali will be prosperous, Joseph will be a prince amongst his brothers, and Benjamin according to Jacob will be a spirited tribe. In the future Judah would be in the south and Ephraim and Manasseh in the north.