● Gen 48:17-19a . .When Joseph saw that his father was placing his right hand on Ephraim's head, he thought it an error; so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's. Not so, Father; Joseph said to his father; for the other is the firstborn; place your right hand on his head. But his father objected, saying: I know, my son, I know.
Joseph himself was an inspired man; so you'd think he'd instantly perceive that Jacob's prioritizing Ephraim over Manasseh was from God; but didn't. That's curious, and tells me that inspired people aren't always 100% inspired all the time. Inspiration is, after all, a Divine prerogative rather than a personal talent. God is under no one's beck and call; and inspired people are able to understand certain things only as God himself decides when, where, and how to get in their heads and clear things up.
For example according to 1John 2:26-27 all believers are endowed with a special anointing that enables them to grasp God's thoughts; but does that mean they can get by on their own without Spirit-empowered Bible teachers? No. It's via Spirit-empowered Bible teachers that God communicates His thoughts. (Eph 4:11-15)
● Gen 48:19b . . He too shall become a people, and he too shall be great. Yet his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall be plentiful enough for nations.
This is now the third instance in Genesis where the right of the firstborn is seen transferred to a younger sibling. The first instance was Jacob and Esau, and the second was Joseph and Reuben. The important lesson to be learned from this is that in the Bible, the male born first isn't eo ipso the firstborn. That may seem trivial but when its applied to Christ, it's a really big deal.
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." (Col 1:14-15)
Was Christ the first human born in all creation? No; Adam was; and there was a time when Adam was the creation's senior patriarch; but not any more. That honor has been transferred to Christ so that there is not a man on earth superior to that one. (Dan 7:13-14, Matt 28:18, Php 2:9-11)
● Gen 48:20-22 . . So he blessed them that day, saying: By you shall Israel invoke blessings, saying: God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh. Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph: I am about to die; but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. And now, I assign to you one portion more than to your brothers, which I wrested from the Amorites with my sword and bow.
There exists no specific Biblical record of Jacob's own personal conquest of Canaanite peoples; so what Jacob is doing here is apparently predicting Joshua's conquest of Canaan as something so certain to take place that he could speak of it as an historical fact already accomplished; similar to the manner in which the apostle John reported many of his visions in the book of Revelation as having taken place as he watched them.
Jacob was an inspired man, so it shouldn't surprise anyone if he was permitted a vision of his offspring's future successes in Palestine. Whatever Joshua was to conquer in later years, would certainly be credited to Jacob's sword and bow just as surely as if he'd been there and led the attacks himself because it was his own blood kin who eventually did all of it, which would be in keeping with his prediction that "God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers."
Joseph's body returned to the land as a mummy. But the prediction is a reality: Joseph will return to the land some day, not just to be buried, but to take up residence. (Ezk 37:1-14, Dan 12:1-2, Heb 11:8-16)
The "one portion more than to your brothers" was in keeping with the custom of the firstborn son inheriting a double portion of his father's estate.
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