The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 48

Gen 48:5

YOUR TWO SONS BORN TO YOU IN EGYPT BEFORE I CAME TO YOU HERE WILL BE RECKONED AS MINE; EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH WILL BE MINE, JUST AS REUBEN AND SIMEON ARE MINE: Note the order: vv 19,20. 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 here 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 (Gen 41:50). Of these Jacob says, "they are mine: as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine" -- that is, by adoption; they would 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 tribes, 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.

Thus there were actually 13 tribes of Israel -- for the Levites owned no land but had their inheritance in things spiritual. Two of the tribes [Ephraim & Manasseh] are included through the principle of adoption -- which principle opens the way for Gentiles also to be reckoned with Israel. There is no tribe of Joseph mentioned in scripture... until Rev 7:8 -- and obviously Joseph is here reckoned, showing the principle of adoption once more for spiritual Israel.

Gen 48:7

AV: "Rachel died by me", or "because of me": ie, because of his vow: "With whomsoever you find your gods, let him not live" (Gen 31:32).

Gen 48:14

See Lesson, Laying on of hands.

Gen 48:15

3 stages of truth: (1) "Before whom my fathers walked": the COVENANT GOD. (2) "Who has been my shepherd": the SHEPHERD GOD. (3) "Who has delivered me" (v 16): the REDEEMER GOD.

Gen 48:16

Guardian angels: Exo 23:20; Psa 34:7; Ecc 5:6; 1Co 11:10; Luk 15:10.

MAY THEY BE CALLED BY MY NAME: Their descent from a Gentile mother presents no impediment.

INCREASE GREATLY: AV mg: "As fishes do increase". "The cod produces 9,384,000 eggs" (Xd 122:259). The gathering of men and women into the hope of Israel is likened to the gathering of fish (Mat 4:19).

Possibly the miraculous appearance of the multitude of fish (John 21:6), after the resurrection, typ the multitude of Israel, gathered back to the hope of their fathers.

Gen 48:18

RIGHT HAND: Strength (Exo 15:6; Psa 20:6; 63:8; 118:15,16); righteousness (Psa 48:10); authority (Isa 62:8); honor (Gen 48:13-18; 1Ki 2:19); salvation (Psa 17:7; 60:5); and fellowship (Psa 16:11).

Gen 48:20

A model blessing for all future times.

Gen 48:22

I GIVE... THE RIDGE OF LAND: Cp Jeremiah's purchase of land, as a sign of God's lasting blessing upon Canaan, and Jeremiah's ultimate inheritance: Jer 32. "Ridge" is the Heb "shekem". Jacob is telling Joseph that he has given him a certain portion of the land of promise, ie, "Shechem" (= portion in KJV). Here Joseph's bones were buried (Jos 24:32), in the territory given to Ephraim (Jos 20:7).

I TOOK FROM THE AMORITES WITH MY SWORD AND BOW: But Gen 33:19,20 states that he bought it and set up an altar there. So either this conquest was done by Jacob's sons on his behalf (which, if true, is not recorded in Gen), or Jacob was prophesying of the conquest of the land under Joshua.

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