Happy Thursday! It’s a beautiful sunny day outside, so let’s get this over with so I can go synthesize some vitamin D.
For your listening pleasure! This song popped into my head when I was thinking about what a beautiful day it is.
Chapter 48- Joseph brings his sons Manasseh and Ephraim to see Jacob before he dies. Jacob blesses the children, and gives the younger son the better blessing.
I like how this story unfolds. Jacob is described as having eyes “dim with age” so it seems like an accident that he places his right hand on the younger son’s head (the right hand being the position of honor). When Joseph tries to correct him, though, Jacob refuses to switch hands. He may be old and blind, but he knows what he’s doing.
The younger son getting the better blessing is pretty much old hat by now. My guess is that it’s supposed to be symbolic of the rise of Judaism, and eventually Christianity. Like the author of Genesis is saying, “Look, I know we’re a little religion now, but see all these stories where the underdog little brother prospers? That’ll happen to us too!”
Verses 5 and 6, Jacob says to Joseph “And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; and Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. Your offspring whom you beget after them shall be yours…” I don’t know what’s up with that.
This is another of those annoying situations where the Bible doesn’t offer explanation, so many theories abound. I found two explanations that I like: Ephraim and Manasseh apparently get listed among the tribes of Israel, and this explains why they’re included even though they weren’t Jacob’s sons. Alternately, some think that Joe was worried Jacob wouldn’t accept the boys into the family since they were born in Egypt to and Egyptian mother, and this was Jacob’s way of showing his approval.
Chapter 49- Jacob’s sons gather ’round for their blessings. After the blessings, he asks to be buried in the field where Abraham and Sarah are buried. Then Jacob dies.
Finally, we see why the story of Reuben sleeping with Bilhah was included oh-so-many chapters ago. Jacob uses it here as the reason Reuben isn’t getting the expected good blessing as the firstborn.
He also calls out Simeon and Levi for how they handled Dinah’s rapist. I had to laugh that it says “in their anger they slew a man.” A man? More like a whole town full of men. Way to whitewash that massacre, Jacob.
It struck me as interesting that Jacob says Simeon and Levi will not receive his honor, and they will be divided and scattered. Yet, we know that the Levites become the tribe of priests. Moses, one of the most important characters in the Old Testament, was a Levite. Curious that one of the sons who (I think rightfully) gets a less than stellar blessing still goes on to father an important tribe.
Chapter 50- Joseph mourns his father’s death, and has him embalmed. The Egyptians mourn Jacob as well. Joseph, his family, and many Egyptians take Jacob to his requested burial plot. Joe’s brothers are scared he will seek revenge on them now that Jacob has died, but he forgives them. Joseph dies.
You know, for supposedly finding Hebrews to be abominations, the Egyptians are awfully fond of Jacob. They weep and mourn so much that the place they mourn actually gets named “Mourning of Egypt” by the locals who witnessed their grief. The Westboro Baptist Church could stand to learn a thing or two about how to treat those they think are abominable.
In their worry that Joseph will now exact revenge, the brothers send messengers to lie to him and say that Jacob wanted Joe to forgive them, but they never actually apologize. “You know that bad thing we did to you? Dad wanted you to forgive us for that.”
Joseph was far more forgiving than I would’ve been, considering what they did and they can’t even bother to apologize in person.
That concludes Genesis! Hooray! Tomorrow we get to start a whole new adventure in Exodus. See you then!