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Genesis: 48

Jacob blesses Ephraim and Manasseh.  Gn.48.1-22

1The time came when Joseph was told that his father was ill, so he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2Jacob heard that his son Joseph was coming to him, and he summoned his strength and sat up on the bed. 3Jacob said to Joseph, 'God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in Canaan and blessed me. 4He said to me, "I will make you fruitful and increase your descendants until they become a host of nations. I will give this land to your descendants after you as a perpetual possession." 5Now, your two sons, who were born to you in Egypt before I came here, shall be counted as my sons; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine as Reuben and Simeon are. 6Any children born to you after them shall be counted as yours, but in respect of their tribal territory they shall be reckoned under their elder brothers' names. 7As I was coming from Paddan-aram I was bereaved of Rachel your mother on the way, in Canaan, whilst there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, and I buried her there by the road to Ephrath, that is Bethlehem.'

8When Israel saw Joseph's sons, he said, 'Who are these?' 9Joseph replied to his father, 'They are my sons whom God has given me here.' Israel said, 'Bring them to me, I beg you, so that I may take them on my knees [Or may bless them]? 10Now Israel's eyes were dim with age, and he could not see; so Joseph brought the boys close to his father, and he kissed them and embraced them. 11He said to Joseph, 'I had not expected to see your face again, and now God has granted me to see your sons also.' 12Joseph took them from his father's knees and bowed to the ground. 13Then he took the two of them, Ephraim on his right at Israel's left and Manasseh on his left at Israel's right, and brought them close to him. 14Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, although he was the younger, and, crossing his hands, laid his left hand on Manasseh's head ; but Manasseh was the elder. 15He blessed Joseph and said:

17When Joseph saw that his father was laying his right hand on Ephraim's head, he was displeased; so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's. 18He said, 'That is not right, my father. This is the elder; lay your right hand on his head.' 19But his father refused; he said, 'I know, my son, I know. He too shall become a people; he too shall become great, but his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall be a whole nation in themselves.' 20That day he blessed them and said:

thus setting Ephraim before Manasseh. 21Then Israel said to Joseph, 'I am dying. God will be with you and will bring you back to the land of your fathers. 22I give you one ridge of land more than your brothers: I took it from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.'
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