Manasseh and Ephraim
1 After these things Joseph was told,1 “Your father is weakening.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him. 2 When Jacob was told,2 “Your son Joseph has just3 come to you,” Israel regained strength and sat up on his bed. 3 Jacob said to Joseph, “The sovereign God4 appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. 4 He said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful5 and will multiply you.6 I will make you into a group of nations, and I will give this land to your descendants7 as an everlasting possession.’8
5 “Now, as for your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, they will be mine.9 Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine just as Reuben and Simeon are. 6 Any children that you father10 after them will be yours; they will be listed11 under the names of their brothers in their inheritance.12 7 But as for me, when I was returning from Paddan, Rachel died – to my sorrow13 – in the land of Canaan. It happened along the way, some distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there on the way to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).14
8 When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he asked, “Who are these?” 9 Joseph said to his father, “They are the15 sons God has given me in this place.” His father16 said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.”17 10 Now Israel’s eyes were failing18 because of his age; he was not able to see well. So Joseph19 brought his sons20 near to him, and his father21 kissed them and embraced them. 11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected22 to see you23 again, but now God has allowed me to see your children24 too.”
12 So Joseph moved them from Israel’s knees25 and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 Joseph positioned them;26 he put Ephraim on his right hand across from Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh on his left hand across from Israel’s right hand. Then Joseph brought them closer to his father.27 14 Israel stretched out his right hand and placed it on Ephraim’s head, although he was the younger.28 Crossing his hands, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, for Manasseh was the firstborn.
15 Then he blessed Joseph and said,
“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked –
the God who has been my shepherd29
all my life long to this day,
16 the Angel30 who has protected me31
from all harm –
bless these boys.
May my name be named in them,32
and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac.
May they grow into a multitude on the earth.”
17 When Joseph saw that his father placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him.33 So he took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.”
19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a nation and he too will become great. In spite of this, his younger brother will be even greater and his descendants will become a multitude34 of nations.” 20 So he blessed them that day, saying,
“By you35 will Israel bless,36 saying,
‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”
So he put Ephraim before Manasseh.37
21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you38 and will bring you back to the land of your fathers. 22 As one who is above your39 brothers, I give to you the mountain slope,40 which I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”