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Sunday, February 19 2012
Jacob's Blessing Of Ephraim And Manasseh
Joseph was a son of Jacob (who the LORD renamed as "Israel": "32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" Genesis 32:28 KJV), who had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers (Israelite slavery in Egypt actually began by Israelites inflicting slavery upon a brother Israelite: "37:27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. 37:28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt" Genesis 37:27-28 KJV).
But there was, moreover, a purpose for Joseph going to Egypt, that Joseph himself, after tremendous hardship, came to understand: "50:18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 50:19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:18-20 KJV). With the help of the LORD ("10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 KJV; see The Rock Of The Church), Joseph rose from a dungeon slave to Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh himself.
"41:41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 41:42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 41:43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt [see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt].
"Before the years of famine came," Asenath (verse 45 above) gave birth to two sons of Joseph, the firstborn Manasseh, and Ephraim his brother.
"41:50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. 41:51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. 41:52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction." (Genesis 41:50-52 KJV)
During the years of the famine, after discovering that Joseph was the ruler of Egypt, Jacob / Israel moved his family to Egypt, into the well-watered land of Goshen (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?).
"46:1 And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.
"Thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine"
Jacob / Israel lived in Egypt for the remainder of his life - 17 years. When he realized that he would soon die, he made a will that included his burial instructions, back in the family tomb in Hebron.
"47:27 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.
A little later, after his health had further declined, he called for Joseph to attend to another matter of legality - Jacob had decided to adopt his two grandsons, as sons.
"48:1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 48:2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.
Jacob's reason for the adoption was so that he could have more children through his deceased wife Rachel, by means of Jacob's son with Rachel, Joseph (Rachel had died giving birth to Joseph's brother Benjamin; again, see the Fact Finder question below).
"48:5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. 48:6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance. 48:7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem." (Genesis 48:5-7 KJV)
The "blessing" adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh by Jacob has been frequently depicted in art through the centuries, but rarely have any of them been Biblically accurate. Typically, Jacob and his family are portrayed as northern Europeans (as were most of the artists themselves), but Jacob and Joseph would have had a typical Middle Eastern appearance, and Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph, also had an Egyptian mother (Egyptians of that time were typically black; see The Family Of Ham) - a fact that is almost always overlooked or ignored by adherents of the "Anglo-Israelism" theory.
As well, while artwork usually portrays Ephraim and Manasseh as little boys at the time of the blessing / adoption, according to the Scriptures, they were born a few years before Jacob arrived in Egypt, and the blessing / adoption of them occurred when Jacob had been in Egypt for seventeen years - Ephraim and Manasseh were approximately twenty years old at the time of the blessing / adoption.
"48:8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?
Fact Finder: What prophecies were linked to Joseph's mother Rachel?
This Day In History, February 19
197: Roman Emperor Septimius Severus defeated rebel commander Clodius Albinus at the Battle of Lugdunum, the greatest battle between Roman armies (see The Politics Of Rome, Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire, A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Legions Of Men And Angels).
356: Emperor Constantius II issued a decree to favor the Roman newly-created version (perversion) of Christianity in the Roman Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).
842: The Medieval Iconoclastic Controversy ended. A Council in Constantinople formally reinstated the veneration of graven images (which they called "icons"). This debate over icons is often considered the last event which led to the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Roman Churches.
1401: William Sawtree, regarded by some as the first English religious martyr, was burned in London.
1408: The English Northumberland Rebellion ended when Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, was defeated by Henry IV at the Battle of Bramham Moor.
1473: Nicholas Copernicus was born in Poland. He is considered by some to be the founder of modern astronomy.
1568: Miles Coverdale died at age 80. He was the translator and publisher of the first complete Bible to be printed in English, in 1535. He was also the editor of the "Great Bible" of 1539.
1674: The Treaty of Westminster was signed to end the Anglo-Dutch War. One of the results was that the city of New Netherlands (today, New York) became British.
1797: Pope Pius VI signed the Treaty of Tolentino with Napoleon under which Bologna, Romagna and Ferrara were ceded to France.
1800: Napoleon Bonaparte established himself as first consul in France.
1915: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), British and French warships began attacks on Ottoman (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) fortifications at the mouth of the Dardenelles, in an abortive expedition to force the straits of Gallipoli.
1918: With the beginning of communism in Russia, a decree abolishing all private ownership of land, water and natural resources was issued by the Soviet Central Executive Committee.
1942: Japanese forces made the first attack on the Australian mainland, bombing Port Darwin.
1942: During the Second World War (which began in September 1939 for the rest of the world, but only in December of 1941 for the U.S. with the Japanese attack on the U.S. military base in Hawaii), President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the arrest and camp internment, without charge or legal due process, of many people of Japanese race, even those born in the U.S.
1953: Georgia approved the first "literature censorship board" in the U.S.
1959: The Prime Ministers of Britain, Turkey and Greece signed an agreement in London for the independence of Cyprus.
1976: Iceland severed diplomatic relations with Britain during the "Cod War," a dispute over fishing rights of depleted Atlantic cod stocks.
1976: Executive Order 9066 of 1942 (see listing above), which provided the legal means to incarcerate Japanese Americans (including those born in the U.S. for generations) to "internment camps" without charge or trial during the Second World War, was rescinded by President Gerald Ford.
1986: The Soviet Union launched its Mir space station. It remained in Earth orbit for 15 years.