Reading through the Bible together
Jacob has come to the end of his journey and he assembles his sons around his deathbed. This is the time for the covenant blessing to be passed on to the next generation. First, Joseph arrives to receive a blessing from his father, but he has also brought with him his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. Jacob does two significant things here: he first adopts both his grandchildren into the direct line of promise thus allocating to Joseph the double-portion he had prophetically dreamed about long ago; he then reverses the order and blesses Ephraim, the second-born over Manasseh, the first-born, coming full circle with his own life story. God is sovereign and if we read Hebrews 11 we can see the interesting twists and turns the covenantal line of promise has taken. People that we might not necessarily have listed as heroes of faith are the ones that God has chosen to be the vessels of his grace. That gives me courage because God’s blessings are not dependent on my merits but on his matchless grace.
We also get a glimpse of Jacob’s intimate relationship with his God when he introduces the blessing by referring to God as his Shepherd who has led him through all his life and who has been his redeemer. These are important personal theological concepts that the patriarch tries to bestow on his descendants wishing for them a similar walk with God as he has experienced throughout his life.
Professor of Biblical Studies and Archaeology
Southern Adventist University