Genesis  ◦   Chapter 48

1One day, not long after this, Joseph was told, “Your father is weakening.” So he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to see their grandfather. 2When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to see you,” Israel’s love for Joseph gave him the strength to sit himself up on the bed.

3Jacob told Joseph, “El-Shaddai, the Almighty Creator God, appeared to me at Luz in Canaan, and blessed me 4and said to me, ‘I will make you flourish and have many descendants. I will make from you a congregation of people from all nations, and I will give this earth to you and your descendants to possess forever.’

5“I am claiming your two sons, born in Egypt before I arrived, as my own: they will inherit directly from me as my sons. Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine and inherit a full portion each, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine and will inherit a full portion each. Thus, I am giving you, the firstborn of Rachel, a double portion and Reuben a single portion. 6Any children born to you after them are yours, and their inheritance will be through their brothers Ephraim and Manasseh. 7This is for Rachel, my first chosen wife, who died in Canaan while we were still traveling, just outside Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).

8When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he asked, “Who are these young men?”

9Joseph happily told him, “These are the sons God has given me here in Egypt.”

Then Israel instructed him, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.”

10Israel was old and his eyesight was poor, so Joseph brought his sons close to him; and Israel hugged and kissed the boys.

11Israel rejoiced and told Joseph, “I never thought I would see you again, and now I have not only seen you, but God has allowed me to see your children too.”

12Overjoyed himself, Joseph removed his sons from Israel’s lap, and together they bowed down in thanks, with their faces to the ground. 13Then Joseph took his sons close to his father, placing Ephraim on his right, toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left, toward Israel’s right hand. 14But as Israel reached out, he crossed his arms and placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, even though he was younger, and he placed his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was firstborn.

15Then Israel gave Joseph the double blessing, saying, “May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and father Isaac walked, the God who has guided me like a shepherd throughout my entire life, 16the Creator who appeared to me in the form of an angel and who has freed me from all evil – may he bless these boys. May they carry on our names, possessing the faith of Abraham, the promise of Isaac, and the renewed heart of Israel; and may they multiply greatly upon the earth.”

17When Joseph saw that his father had his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he was displeased, and he tried to move his father’s right hand from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18Joseph said to him, “No, father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”

19But he refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. Manasseh too will become a great people. But his younger brother will be greater; Ephraim’s descendants will become a group of nations.” 20He blessed them that day and said, “The Israelites will use your name to pronounce blessings. They will say, ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’” And so he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

21Then Israel said to Joseph, “It is my time to die, but God will be with you all and take you all back to the land of your fathers. 22To you, who lived above your brothers in integrity, I give the fertile region of Shechem that they don’t deserve for their actions there, and which I defended against the Amorites with my sword and bow.