Jacob Blesses His Grandsons

Genesis 48:8-22

Having claimed them as equal in status to his own sons, Jacob now notices his two grandsons standing with their father. Confirming their identities, he asks Joseph to bring them close that he may bless them. Jacob is overwhelmed with joy, as he had not thought he would ever see Joseph again, let alone his grandchildren.


Joseph positions his sons within his father’s reach, with the eldest, Manasseh, at Jacob’s right hand. Jacob, however, crosses his arms to place his right hand on Ephraim’s head. Joseph protests, but Jacob insists he knows what he is doing, and someday, Ephraim will outstrip Manasseh in greatness. Jacob blesses his grandsons in his own name and in the names of his fathers, saying one day the nation will bless their children in their names. He also tells Joseph that he is giving him an additional portion (shechem) over his brothers, one that he took with his own sword.


The Israel Bible asks why future generations would bless their children in the names of Ephraim and Manasseh (as is, indeed, the custom in many Jewish homes every Friday night). Ephraim and Manasseh were the first generation to be born Egypt, yet they remained loyal to the traditions of their father despite the temptations of Egypt. Thus, they serve as a template for the survival of the Jewish people and their return to Israel in the future.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think Jacob has to ask who Manasseh and Ephraim are when he sees them?

Comments ( 6 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Martha Williams

    Hello: Well, I do not understand all of this, but I know in 2005 God spoke to me & gave me scriptures. I wrote them down and then in 2007 I went back to Israel with a group of people who had gone in 1996, 1997. God told me I would go 3 times. I was a housewife not into traveling but I went because I love the Lord. He had me take 2 sticks from my back yard and write Ephraim and Manasseh on them. He told me to bury them at a particular spot in Israel, which I did. The only think God has told me since was: "NOW I CAN REMOVE THE CURSE I PUT ON THEM AND BLESS THEM THE WAY I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO.' martha
    I am 82 yrs old. I have known God for 72 years and HE does still speak as HE did to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

  • Lori

    Joseph's wife was the daughter of a gentile priest.

  • First thought is , was Ja’acov blind ? But i is also possible that he didn’t recognize them. Maybe that in the spirit he foresaw the wicked kings that would descend from them or for me the shocking truth: may they “proliferate abundantly like fish within the land” I am still shocked in reading this for the first time in my life. Christians had the sign of a “fish”. Does this sign refer to the blessing of the sons of Joseph ? Anyhow there are good and bad christians…..I am happy to know many good Christians. So I can have peace at this thought…..Ephraim would become a congregation of nations….Are they the Western part of Europe and The United States? Did Ja’acov again flee to the disapora of Joseph and become spread over the nations of Efraim ?

  • In addition to what you have said above, somewhere in this portion, it says that Yaacov had grown so old and his eyesight wearing out, it probably explains why he had to ask.

  • He probably hasn't seen them in a while as Joseph is the ruler of the land.

  • I see this as simply a loving and playful comment made by a doting grandfather when faced with his two grandsons that are always growing up and changing.
    I would think that Yosef's duties as viceroy would keep him and his family in the main city near the Pharaoh and Ephraim and Mannasseh wouldn't be able to spend as much time with their grandfather as a result of that. They would have gaps of time between visits that would make for a more long distant type of relationship as opposed to growing up in the same camp like in Yosef's childhood.
    Baruch Hashem.

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