Jacob is at the end of his life, having lived in Egypt seventeen years, when Joseph brings his boys to his bedside for a blessing. Jacob tells Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’ And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine.” Then Jacob blesses the younger brother, Ephraim, over the older brother, Manasseh, saying that the younger shall become greater than the older. Joseph tries to get his father to bless the older one instead, but Jacob is adamant about his blessing. Although blessing the younger brother above the older brother would not have been the cultural norm, we have already seen with the story of Esau and Jacob that God’s plans often differ from the current culture.
After blessing Joseph’s sons, Jacob blesses his own sons. Pay special attention to Judah’s blessing in Genesis 49:10 – “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” This blessing is a prophecy that the Messiah, the One God promised to send back in the garden (Genesis 3:15), will come through Judah’s descendants. In the Kingdom Era, the Lord makes a promise to King David, a descendant of Judah, that his throne shall be established forever pointing to the ultimate King, Jesus Christ, who is coming through this lineage.
Before Jacob dies, he commands his sons to bury him in the cave Abraham bought in the land of Canaan where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah are buried. “So the sons did for him just as he had commanded them. For his sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave.”
Now that Jacob is dead, the brothers begin to worry that Joseph is going to take revenge on them. However, Joseph assures them by saying, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
That is God – He turns evil into good!
We end the reading with Joseph making the Israelites swear to take his bones with them when they leave Egypt. Then Joseph, at one hundred and ten years old, dies.
Soon we will enter the Exodus Era, but not before reading the book of Job. Tomorrow we meet Job, so keep reading! (Genesis 47:28-50:26)