Jacob Blesses Joseph's Sons

Receiving a blessing from a father or elder was a significant moment in a man's life in the days of Genesis. Earlier in the Genesis narrative, Jacob pretended to be his older brother, Esau, in order to get the firstborn's blessing. In his old age, Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, but did something quite unexpected. See this powerful and surprising scene brought to life in iBIBLE Genesis episode 40.

While it was traditional to bless the eldest son by putting one’s right hand on his head, Jacob had Joseph’s sons bend down beside him and then crossed his hands so his right one rested on the younger son’s head. You can see this happening in the iBIBLE black-and-white shot from episode 40.


Joseph was disturbed by his father’s decision to bless the second-born in this manner, and tried to intervene, but Jacob defended his decision by telling Joseph:

“I know my son, I know. He [Manasseh, the elder son] also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.” —Genesis 48:19

These images below depict the two brothers in the iBIBLE dream-sequence style, used to indicate their future lives. They would both become “great nations,” but Ephraim would be the greater of the two.


In Jacob’s blessings to Joseph’s sons, he recalled God’s great faithfulness to him and remembered the promise God gave him to make his descendants into a great nation. Ultimately, Jacob's lineage would lead to Jesus Christ Himself, through Whom all nations would be blessed.


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