Blessing By Jacob
Let’s return now to Genesis 48, where we meet another part of the plan.
One of the effects of this adoption and blessing by Jacob is that the first-born blessing was finally assigned…and it was to Joseph. Now, it may not seem so at first glance, but this is the case.
One of the inherent attributes of the first-born blessing, is that the one who receives it gets a double-portion…in fact, another name for the first-born blessing, is the “double-portion” blessing. The two terms traditionally mean the same thing. That is, the son who receives the first-born blessing gets double (or more) of the clan’s wealth, twice as much as any one else. Joseph’s double-portion was manifested in that Joseph was to get two full portions of “Israel” itself.
How can that occur?
By making Joseph’s 2 boys Jacob’s own sons, each of Joseph’s sons were entitled to a full share of all the wealth and authority and heritage equal with their new brothers, the other 12 tribes of Israel.
Think of it this way: all the other sons of Israel, from Rueben right down to Benjamin, since there were 12 of them, each were entitled to an inheritance of 1/12th of all that Israel possessed.
But, since Joseph’s 2 sons were now considered as Jacob’s sons, then each of them also received an equal share. So, Joseph’s family, Joseph’s tribe, got the double-portion blessing in that it received 2 shares of Israel (one each for Ephraim and Manesseh) where as all the other sons got but one.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, yeah, but I thought with the additions of Ephraim and Manasseh, there were now 14 sons, 14 tribes of Israel.
So, why are we dividing by 12th’s, and not 14th’s?
First, as I’m going to show you in scripture, Joseph did NOT receive a 12th, in addition to each of his sons receiving shares. The idea was that by giving Joseph’s two sons each a portion of Israel, 1/12th each, the effect was the SAME as giving Joseph 2/12th’s…double.
So, as we’ll soon see, Joseph would be, right on up until today, replaced (or, more accurately, represented) as a tribe of Israel by his two sons…EACH given their own tribe, the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
But, there’s still a problem. Even with removing, so to speak, Joseph as one of the tribes of Israel, and replacing him with his 2 sons, you still have 13 tribes of Israel and not 12.
The original 12, minus Joseph, equals 11. Add in the 2 sons of Joseph, and we get 13.
Well, the answer lies in what occurs some 450 years after this Cross-Handed Blessing, and I’m going to take you there next time we meet. Up to this point in our study, I’ve given you bits and pieces concerning certain prophecies about the Israelites, and we’ve briefly discussed Ephraim.
But, having reached this important point in Genesis, it is now time to flesh out the impact of Jacob’s Cross-Handed Blessing upon Joseph’s two Egyptian sons. Or better, how this Cross-Handed Blessing would affect the descendants of Ephraim and Manesseh far into the future.
So, let’s stop here for today, and next time we’ll take a walk through several Bible passages to help explain the significance of what has just occurred here in Genesis 48.
To Be Continued…