Pristine Grace

Gen 48:1-7, (GILL)

Joseph, hearing that his father Jacob was sick, paid him a visit, Ge 49:1; at which time Jacob gave him an account of the Lord's appearing to him at Luz, and of the promise he made unto him, Ge 49:3; then he adopted his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and blessed them, and Joseph also, Ge 49:5; and whereas he crossed his hands when he blessed the sons of Joseph, putting his right hand on the youngest, and his left hand on the eldest, which was displeasing to Joseph, he gave him a reason for so doing, Ge 49:17; and then assured him that God would bring him, and the rest of his posterity, into the land of Canaan, where he assigned him a particular portion above his brethren, Ge 49:21.

And it came to pass after these things,.... Some little time after Jacob had sent for Joseph, and conversed with him about his burial in the land of Canaan, and took an oath to bury him there, for then the time drew nigh that he must die:

that [one] told Joseph, behold, thy father [is] sick; he was very infirm when he was last with him, and his natural strength decaying apace, by which he knew his end was near; but now he was seized with a sickness which threatened him with death speedily, and therefore very probably dispatched a messenger to acquaint Joseph with it. Jarchi fancies that Ephraim, the son of Joseph, lived with Jacob in the land of Goshen, and when he was sick went and told his father of it, but this is not likely from what follows:

and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim; to see their grandfather before he died, to hear his dying words, and receive his blessing.

2  And [one] told Jacob,.... The same that came from Jacob to Joseph might be sent back by him to, his father, to let him know that he was coming to see him, or some other messenger sent on purpose; for it can hardly be thought that this was an accidental thing on either side:

and said, behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee; to pay him a visit, and which no doubt gave him a pleasure, he being his beloved son, as well as he was great and honourable:

and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon his bed; his spirits revived, his strength renewed, he got fresh vigour on hearing his son Joseph was coming; and he exerted all his strength, and raised himself up by the help of his staff, and sat upon his bed to receive his son's visit; for now it was when he blessed the sons of Joseph, that he leaned upon the top of his staff and worshipped, as the apostle says, Heb 11:21.

3  And Jacob said unto Joseph,.... Being come into his bedchamber, and sitting by him, or standing before him:

God Almighty appeared unto at Luz in the land of Canaan; the same with Bethel, where God appeared, both at his going to Padanaram, and at his return from thence, Ge 28:11; which of those times is here referred to is not certain; very likely he refers to them both, since the same promises were made to him at both times, as after mentioned:

and blessed me; promised he would bless him, both with temporal and spiritual blessings, as he did as follows.

4  And said unto me, behold, I will make thee fruitful,.... In a spiritual sense, in grace and good works; in a literal sense, in an increase of worldly substance, and especially of children:

and multiply thee; make his posterity numerous as the sand of the sea:

and I will make of thee a multitude of people; a large nation, consisting of many tribes, even a company of nations, as the twelve tribes of Israel were;

and I will give this land unto thy seed after thee, [for] an everlasting possession; the land of Canaan, they were to possess as long as they were the people of God, and obedient to his law; by which obedience they held the land, even unto the coming of the Messiah, whom they rejected, and then they were cast out, and a "Loammi" (i.e. not my people, Ho 1:9) written upon them, and their civil polity, as well as church state, at an end: and besides, Canaan was a type of the eternal inheritance of the saints in heaven, the spiritual Israel of God, which will be possessed by them to all eternity.

5  And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh,.... Ephraim was the youngest, but is mentioned first, as he afterwards was preferred in the blessing of him:

which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt, before I came unto thee into Egypt; and therefore must be twenty years of age, or upwards: for Jacob had been in Egypt seventeen years, and he came there when there had been two years of famine, and Joseph's sons were born to him before the years of famine began, Ge 41:50; of these Jacob says, they

[are] mine: as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine; that is, by adoption; should be reckoned not as his grandchildren, but as his children, even as his two eldest sons, Reuben and Simeon; and so should be distinct tribes or heads of them, as his sons would be, and have a distinct part and portion in the land of Canaan; and thus the birthright was transferred from Reuben, because of his incest, to Joseph, who in his posterity had a double portion assigned him.

6  And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine,.... The children of Joseph, that either were, or would be begotten after Ephraim and Manasseh; though whether ever any were is not certain; and this is only mentioned by way of supposition, as Jarchi interprets it, "if thou shouldest beget", &c. these should be reckoned his own, and not as Jacob's sons, but be considered as other grandchildren of Jacob's were, and not as Ephraim and Manasseh:

[and] shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance; they should not have distinct names, or make distinct tribes, or have a distinct inheritance; but should be called either the children of Ephraim, or the children of Manasseh, and should be reckoned as belonging either to the one tribe, or the other, and have their inheritance in them, and with them, and not separate.

7  And as for me, when I came from Padan,.... From Syria, from Laban's house:

Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan; his beloved wife, the mother of Joseph, on whose account he mentions her, and to show a reason why he took his sons as his own, because his mother dying so soon, he could have no more children by her; and she being his only lawful wife, Joseph was of right to be reckoned as the firstborn; and that as such he might have the double portion, he took his two sons as his own, and put them upon a level with them, even with Reuben and Simeon. By this it appears, as by the preceding account, that Rachel came with him into the land of Canaan, and there died:

in the way, when yet [there was] but a little way to come unto Ephrath; about a mile, or two thousand cubits, as Jarchi observes:

and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; where she died, and dying in childbed, could not be kept so long as to carry her to Machpelah, the burying place of his ancestors; and especially as he had his flocks and herds with him, which could move but slowly; and what might make it more difficult to keep her long, and carry her thither, it might be, as Ben Melech conjectures, summertime; and the Vulgate Latin adds to the text, without any warrant from the original, "and it was springtime"; however, she was buried in the land of Canaan, and which is taken notice of, that Joseph might observe it: it follows,

the same [is] Bethlehem; that is, Ephrath; and so Bethlehem is called Bethlehem Ephratah, Mic 5:2; whether these are the words of Jacob, or of Moses, is not certain, but said with a view to the Messiah, the famous seed of Jacob that should be born there, and was.

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