Jacob Nears Death

Genesis 47:28-48:7

After 17 years in Egypt, Jacob feels the end of his days approaching. Knowing he would die there and not return to his homeland, he makes Joseph swear to bury him in the Cave of Machpelah with his wife, parents and grandparents.


The Israel Bible emphasizes Jacob’s request. Even though his life is comfortable in Egypt, Jacob knows it is not the place where he belongs. If he cannot return to the Land of Israel in life, he at least wants to be brought there after death. Joseph learns from his father’s yearning, and likewise exacts a promise from his descendants to take his bones with them when they ultimately leave Egypt (50:25).


Some time later, Joseph hears his father is ill, and unlikely to recover. He takes his two sons to visit Jacob. Jacob tells Joseph that God appeared to him in Luz in the Holy Land and promised to give him numerous descendants and the Land of Israel as their inheritance. He claims Joseph’s children, Manasseh and Ephraim, as his own, equal in status to Joseph’s own brothers for the purpose of inheritance. Jacob also reminds Joseph that he was forced by circumstance to bury his beloved Rachel, Joseph’s own mother, on the road to Ephrath.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

What do you think is the significance of Jacob giving his grandsons the status of sons for inheritance?


Comments ( 6 )

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  • Shlomenu muendo

    the birthright must belong to one son so the blessings of God can be centralised and not divided thus inorder to have the blessings to Yosef alone and not the other eleven sons and to have the other sons get the blessings from Yosef,Yaakov had to make Yosef Yisrael whose sons Mnashe and Efraim be like Reuven and Yehuda.You have to exalt a person to be a you inorder to get his blessings,like how the head of a decoder acts like that of an encoder

  • Merrilla

    Joseph had the birthright … Also indicated by the cost of many colours. So he received a double blessing. This was so even though Jacob prophecied that the Kingship would be through Judah.

  • I think that when the grandsons received the status of heirs comparable with the sons of Ja’acov there was no difference between their share and that of the brothers. It also meant that Joseph received a double portion as if Joseph was a firstborn among his brothers.

  • Joseph becomes two tribes receiving a double portion of the land of Israel. Joseph was lost to Jacob and his return represents a double blessing.

  • My first consideration was to look at this mathematically to see if increasing the power of division by +2 somehow changes the inheritance that all of the brothers received, but this seems irrelevant as Yosef's material wealth probably far exceeded his brothers and father's combined.
    The true inheritance that Yosef received from his father was the spiritual inheritance based on the promises of Elohim to make a great nation from the descendants of Avraham that was being worked out and passed along. By lifting Ephraim and Mannesseh to the level of sons, Ya'acov may have increased the power of the spiritual inheritance being passed to Yosef by a factor of 3.
    I base this on the fact that there are still only 12 tribes of Y'srael when all is said and done, but the blessings that are conferred upon Ephraim and Mannasseh by their grandfather makes the House of Yosef clearly a very significant tribe in terms of the weight of the spiritual inheritance. The numbers of people that will enter into the Kingdom of Elohim through this "gate" are far more numerous than the other 11 gates combined.
    This is clearly promised through the blessings of Ya'acov and later reconfirmed by the blessings of Moshe. This was a very significant act on Ya'acov's part to include Ephraim and Mannasseh in the counting of his "sons".
    Baruch Hashem.

    • I agree with you SueJean, I find this the logical reason behind this act of Yaacov, that a greater number will enter the Kingdom of Elohim through the gate of Ephraim and Manasseh, particularly through Ephraim most of whom is still in the nations.

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