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A Grandfather's Blessing - Gen 48:1-22 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Tsang   
Friday, 08 September 2017 08:52


Gen 48-49 is the story of Jacob at the end of his life. In a poetic ending, now the roles are reversed.  Jacob is in the position of giving the blessing, before him are the two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim. Joseph wanted the Patriarch to bless the two sons in the order of their birth but as the moment approached, Jacob crossed his arms and blessed the younger over the older. The narrator offered no explanation for this symbolic action, perhaps the silence invites the reader to pause and consider all possible meanings.


Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh was important in at least three ways. First, Ephraim and Manasseh will now be seen as part of the twelve tribes of Israel. Secondly, Ephraim and Manasseh were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On (Gen 41:50). The adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh signals that God welcomes those who are not born of pure Jewish descent, and the covenant family is to be a blessing to the nations. Thirdly, as Ephraim and Manasseh was born and raised in Egypt, this blessing anchors them to the covenant promises of God. The descendants of Jacob are to return to Canaan, the land promised to them by Yahweh. For these theological reasons, the blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh was absolutlely important.


From a relational and human perspective, we see the importance of the father’s (or grandfather’s) blessing throughout the book of Genesis. The Blessing, written by Smalley and Trent, unpacks this idea of passing on the blessing to our next generation. There are five aspects of the blessing: meaningful touch , spoken words, expressing high value, picturing a special future, and an active commitment. This book is worth a read. May we learn to bless both our biological family and the larger family of God.


Peace and grace, John

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 December 2017 10:05