Welcome back to my study/review of Genesis. If you missed the previous parts of this study, you can find them HERE.
46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, 48 and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. 49 And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.
50 Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. 51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” 52 The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
After enduring a difficult 12-13 years, things for Joseph are now going very well.
From The Pulpit Commentaries:
And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt—literally, a son of thirty years in his standing before Pharaoh. If, therefore, he had been three years in prison (Genesis 40:4; Genesis 41:1), he must have served for ten years in the house of Potiphar. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh (in the performance of his official duties), and went throughout all the land of Egypt—super-intending the district overseers.
And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls (i.e. abundantly). And he (Joseph, through his subordinates) gathered up all the food (i.e. all the portions levied) of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities:—men bringing corn into granaries appear upon the monuments at Beni-hassan—the food of the field, which was round about every city (literally, the food of the field of the city, which was in its environs), laid he up in the same (literally, in the midst of it).
It is easy to overlook in these brief verses the extent to which Joseph may have been held in some measure of awe. He predicted seven years of plenty and seven years of plenty arrived.
Ellicott’s Bible Commentary makes a note regarding Joseph’s practical work here, in verse 48:
(48) All the food.—Probably besides the fifth paid as tax to the king, and out of which all the current expenses of the realm would have to be provided, Joseph bought corn largely during these years when it was at its cheapest.
Continuing then with The Pulpit Commentaries, the text tells us how things are going for Joseph in her personal life:
And unto Joseph wore born two sons before the years of famine came, (literally, before the coming of the gears of famine), which Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called, the name of the firstborn Manasseh (“Forgetting,” from nashah, to forget): For God (Elohim; Joseph not at the moment thinking of his son’s birth in its relations to the theocratic kingdom, but simply in its connection with the overruling providence of God which had been so signally illustrated in his elevation, from a position of obscurity in Canaan to such conspicuous honor in the land of the Pharaohs), said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. Not absolutely (Calvin, who censures Joseph on this account, vix tamen in totem potest excusari oblivio paternae domus), as events subsequently proved, but relatively, the pressure of his former affliction being relieved by his present happiness, and the loss of his father’s house in some degree compensated by the building of a house for himself.
And the name of the second called he Ephraim:—”Double Fruitfulness” (Keil), “Double Land” (Gesenius), “Fruit.” (Furst)—For God (Elohim) hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. This language shows that Joseph had not quite forgotten “all his toil.”
The two sons of Joseph both eventually become tribes of Israel. We will get to that later in Genesis. But I will give a bit of a preview of them both, below:
Manasseh (from wiki):
Manasseh or Menashe (Hebrew: מְנַשֶּׁה, Modern: Menaše, Tiberian: Mənaššé) was, according to the Book of Genesis, the first son of Joseph and Asenath (Genesis 41:50–52). Asenath was an Egyptian woman whom the Pharaoh gave to Joseph as wife, and the daughter of Potipherah, a priest of On (Genesis 41:50–52). Manasseh was born in Egypt before the arrival of the children of Israel from Canaan (Genesis 48:5).
According to the biblical account in Genesis 41:51, the name Manasseh (given to him by Joseph) means “God has made me forget entirely my troubles and my father’s house”.
Jacob, Joseph‘s father, adopted Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to share in Jacob’s inheritance equally with Jacob’s own sons (Genesis 48:5). Manasseh is counted as the father of the Israelite Tribe of Manasseh, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob also blessed Ephraim over his older brother (Genesis 48:20).
Manasseh had a son, Asriel, with his wife; and Machir with his Aramean concubine (1 Chronicles 7:14). Numbers 32:41 and Deuteronomy 3:14 refer to a son called Jair, who “took all the region of Argob, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, and [who] called Bashan after his own name, Havoth Jair.
Ephraim (from wiki):
Ephraim (/ˈɛfraɪjiːm/; Hebrew: אֶפְרָיִם/אֶפְרַיִם, ʾEfrayīm/ʾEfrāyīm) was, according to the Book of Genesis, the second son of Joseph ben Jacob and Asenath. Asenath was an Ancient Egyptian woman whom Pharaoh gave to Joseph as wife, and the daughter of Potipherah, a priest of ʾĀwen. Ephraim was born in Egypt before the arrival of the Israelites from Canaan.
The Book of Numbers lists three sons of Ephraim: Shuthelah, Beker, and Tahan. However, 1 Chronicles 7 lists eight sons, including Ezer and Elead, who were killed in an attempt to steal cattle from the locals. After their deaths he had another son, Beriah. He was the ancestor of Joshua, son of Nun ben Elishama, the leader of the Israelite tribes in the conquest of Canaan.
The two tribes which eventually emerge from the two sons of Joseph are the subject of much modern prophetic speculation. From hoshanarabbah.com (excerpt below):
Genesis 47:28–49:28, Jacob’s end times prophecy. The Jewish sages recognize that this final portion of Genesis chronicles Jacob’s wish to reveal to his sons some prophetic understandings pertaining to Israel’s long and numerous exiles, culminating in “the Final Redemption” or “the Second Exodus” (i.e. the return of Israel [all twelve tribes, not just the Jews] from her exile in “Babylon” at the end of the age just prior to and after the return of Messiah at which time the two houses of Israel will be reunited under Messiah Son of David).
Jacob states the timing of his prophecies regarding his sons in Genesis 49:1 when he predicts what will befall them “in the last days.”
The Jewish sages believe that prior to the establishment of the Messianic Age (or Millennium), all Israel will go into a time of darkness, gloom and exile.
The sages deduct the timing and tenor of this prophecy from the fact that the Torah scroll fails to place the customary nine spaces between the last word of the previous parashah (or Torah portion), which ends in verse 27 and the next parashah, which begins in verse 28. There is only a one space gap in the Hebrew letters between these two Torah portions, which predicts the “closing in” of Israel as they go into exile and captivity in Egypt.
The sages believe that these prophecies not only predicted Israel’s first exile into and redemption from Egypt but also a latter, end times one as well because biblical history often repeats itself. This is evident by the fact that some of these prophecies weren’t fulfilled until Messiah came the first time and afterwards..
Genesis 48:6, Your two sons…are mine. Here Jacob was adopting Joseph’s two sons as his own, who in effect replaced Joseph as Jacob’s heir. In this way, Joseph received the double portion, firstborn blessings, since a tribal inheritance was bequeathed to each of his sons. Additionally, they were to be numbered among the twelve tribes effectively turning the twelve tribe nation into a thirteen tribe one, since the tribe of Joseph was split in two.
While prophesying over Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob crossed his hands over their heads making the symbol of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav (like the letter t or x in the alphabet), which resembles a cross and in that ancient Hebraic script and according to some Hebrew scholars pictographically means “sign of the covenant.” Jacob then spoke of the Heavenly Messenger (the Hebrew word malak mistranslated as “angel” in most Bibles) of YHVH (i.e. the preincarnate Yeshua) who had redeemed him from all evil (see Gen 31:11–13). Jacob then prophesied that the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would become like “fish in the midst of the land” (literal translation of Gen 48:14–16; see The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach).
In light of this prophetic symbolism, which present day religious group would qualify as having fulfilled Jacob’s prophecy as to who the descendents of Ephraim and Manasseh would be? Which religion on earth uses the fish as their symbol, speaks of a Messenger from YHVH as their Redeemer, and has the sign of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav, which looks like a cross? The Buddhists? The Moslems? The Hindus? Even the Jews? No! Only Christianity fits this enigmatic criteria. Many Christians are without a doubt the literal descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh. Those who are not, according to the Paul the apostle, once they come to saving faith in Yeshua in some unique sense become the descendants of Abraham (e.g. Gal 3:7, 29). Many of these unsaved descendants of Abraham will recognize Yeshua their Messiah on the day that he returns to Jerusalem (e.g. Zech 12:10).
Which nation on earth is without a doubt still the greatest Christian nation? It is the United States of America. Having an understanding of how Jacob’s prophecy to Ephraim and Manasseh was fulfilled is the first piece of the puzzle in identifying America in Bible prophecy.
Genesis 48:20, May Elohim make you. Many Jewish fathers pronounce this blessing over their sons every erev Shabbat (in Heb. this phrase means “entering the Sabbath,” i.e. Friday evening) to this day. If the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh became the Christians (of which there are presently about two billion on earth, see notes at Gen 46:14, 16), then what are these Jewish fathers asking of Elohim when pronouncing this blessing over their sons? That they become believers in the Christian Messiah (i.e. Jesus or Yeshua)?
Genesis 48:16, Let my name.The descendant of Ephraim and Manasseh would be known historically as the house of Israel.
I will likely return to the subject of prophecy, and these two sons/tribes, later in the book of Genesis.