Richard Agee

Genesis 47-48: Ya’akob moves to Goshen; Yosef takes control via the famine; Yisra’el blesses Ephraim & Manasseh

Richard AgeeYa’akob (Jacob) blessed pharaoh of Mitsraim (Egypt) upon arrival there. Ya’akob blessed the sons of Yosef (Joseph), Ephraim and Manasseh, as if they were his own elder sons. As we have noticed in past studies of the account of Yosef in Genesis, there are parallels between the roles of pharaoh, Yosef and Yisra’el (Israel), f.k.a. Ya’akob, and those of the Father, the Son and a people called Yisra’el.

Genesis 47: Ya’akob blesses pharaoh

When Yosef brought Ya’akob and his family into Mitsraim, he introduced them to Pharaoh. Not only did Pharoah give them the best of the land but he asked Yosef to find a member of the household of Yisra’el to take charge of all of Pharaoh’s animals and all the shepherds, cattleman and goat-herders who were already taking care of Pharaoh’s animals. (Gen. 47:1–6)

We don’t know which son or grandson of Israel chosen to become the “prince of the livestock” but he would have had many Mitsraimian employee’s answering to him. 

Ya’akob at this time is 130 years old. Yosef by this time was about 40 years old, which is a number often associated with judgment in the Bible (e.g., 40 days and nights of rain in the Flood, 40 years of exile from the Land for Israel). Ya’akob was 90 years old when Yosef was born. Ya’akob told Pharaoh his long years were “few.”

“The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.” (Gen. 47:9)

Abraham, Yitskhak (Isaac) and Ya’akob were all sojourners on the Earth. They all saw something and understood things that many of us don’t understand. There is a pattern in the prophets, including Moses, David, Noah had hard, difficult times with wars, bloodshed, violence and had to flee their homes. They didn’t live comfortable, pleasant lives. 

Even in the Apostolic Writings, we see many people had hard, difficult lives, to the degree that many of us have not experienced. We are to “enter by the narrow gate” which is a difficult, hard way to go, but it leads us to eternal life. Few will find it.

When we experience hardships, we have to stick with it and stay on the path. 

Ya’akob then blessed Pharaoh (Gen. 47:7). Some think only one who is greater blesses the lesser, but we see there are times when the lesser blesses the greater. Pharaoh gave Ya’akob and his family physical blessings, but Ya’akob gave Pharaoh a spiritual blessing. Yosef, who was the younger/lesser one in his family blessed Ya’akob, who was his father and his superior too. 

The effects of the famine on the Mitsraimian came in stages (Gen. 47:13–26). The first year, the people gave all their money for food, the second year, they gave up their livestock for food. In the third year, those who had no more money or livestock gave their land and themselves to Pharoah for food. Yosef put many of these landless people into the cities. The others were allowed to stay on the land but they had to give Pharaoh one-fifth (20 percent) of the produce of their land to Pharaoh in taxation. 

Only the priestly families and the royal families were exempted from these taxes. In three years, Yosef had brought full and complete control over the land of Mitsraim into Pharaoh’s hands.

God told Ya’akob while he was still living in Canaan that his family would become fruitful and numerous, and a company of peoples, and He will give the land of Canaan to his descendants after you for an everlasting possession.

Genesis 48: Ya’akob blesses Ephraim and Manasseh

Ya’akob told Yosef that his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born in the land of Mitsraim would be his just as Reuben and Simeon are his sons. He took Reuben’s and Simeon’s status and birthrights and gave them to Ephraim and Manasseh. (Gen. 48:5–6)

Right after this Ya’akob talks to Yosef about the last days of Rakhel (Rachel) and her death near Beit Lekhem (Bethlehem). But she never made it to the “House of Bread.” This is why she nicknamed Ben-Yamin (Benjamin), which means “son of my right hand,” the “son of my sorrow.” Rakhel’s connection to Beit Lekhem is profoundly Messianic (Matt. 2:18, quoting the messianic prophecy in Jer. 31:15; Ramah = Beit Lekhem). 

Yosef brought the two sons to Yisra’el and we see that Yosef tried to set them up so that the first born (Manasseh) would get the first son’s blessing and that Ephraim would get the blessing of the second born but Ya’akob switched his hands, as guided by the Holy Spirit to give the first born status to the second son, Ephraim. Ephraim was blessed twice as much as Manasseh but Ya’akob took them both as his sons. 

God had allowed Yosef to live this life in Mitsraim this way and to forget about his family in Canaan for a time for a greater purpose. 

Ya’akob says the nation of Yisra’el will receive their greatest blessing through Ephraim and Manasseh. The mantle of Abraham (the exalted father of many), Isaac (laughter and joy) and Yisra’el (the one who rules in God’s stead), passed to these two young men. 

He also gave Yosef one more portion, or “shoulder” (שְׁכֶם shekhem, Strong’s lexicon No. H7926) more than his brothers which he describes as the land “which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow” (Gen. 48:21–22).

There is no record of Ya’akob participating in a war, as Abraham had done when he convinced the Amorites to help him go to war against the five kings from the east who had kidnapped Lot. Yet, Ya’akob’s sons Shimon (Simeon) and Levi did attack Shekhem (Shechem) after Dinah was kidnapped and raped by the city leader’s son (Genesis 34).

Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

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