Genesis 48:1-12 contains many items on which I could elaborate. But we will briefly consider just a few of them.
Verses 1-2 tell about Jacob becoming ill, Joseph hearing of it, and taking with him his two sons—Manasseh (Forgetting) and Ephraim (Fruitful)—to see their Grandfather before his death. When they were announced to Jacob, the great Patriarch stirred himself in his bed, sat up and received them.
What is about to follow in this text is the profound respect that the two great men had for each other. I am reminded in my own life of my father’s exhilaration when he visited his mother—my grandmother Jeffie Estes Barkley—late in her life and took with him myself and my younger brother Edgar when we were small children. Daddy seldom saw Grandmother: there had been severe issues between them over his marriage to a woman not to her liking (I will not give the detail of this)—for which she disinherited him. But now, on one of the few occasions when she received him during my lifetime, he was another man. He almost danced about with glee in his mother’s house. I never saw him behave like this at any other time. It must have been similarly so with the Viceroy of Egypt Joseph as he visited his majestic father Jacob in the final days of Jacob’s life. Parental veneration exceeds all ordinary honors. So also the veneration of a godly spouse.
The issue uppermost in Jacob’s mind was the fact that EL SHADDAI (ALMIGHTY GOD) had visited him many years before and had promised to him the land of Canaan as an eternal inheritance to Jacob and his descendants. Because of this divine land grant, Jacob adopted Joseph’s two sons as his own sons and made any future descendants of Joseph subordinate to them as to inheritance in Israel. ^ This act was Jacob’s conveyance to Joseph of the double-portion inheritance of The Firstborn Son, which meant that he was the appointed head of the family after the death of the father. This is one of the most important events in the Bible. Ultimately, the Eternal Firstborn Inheritance has manifested itself on behalf of humanity in the Only-Begotten Son of God: JESUS OF NAZARETH—“Ben Adam / Son of Man”— GOD’S FIRSTBORN OVER ALL CREATION (Revelation 3:14 w/ 1 Corinthians 15:22 seq.), just as the Nation of Israel is GOD’S FIRSTBORN* over the Gentile Nations. (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:7) (The Eternal Inheritance of Messiah is judicial since God cannot die. See 1 Corinthians 15:27-28)
Jesus of Nazareth has been appointed by God to be the Head over Humanity—to the Jew first and then to all Nations—and Title-Holder to all Creation, including all created beings and things. (Revelation 4-5)
*The FIRSTBORN status of our Lord Jesus is well-documented in the NT: Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15-18; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 3:14. ^There were no further sons born to Joseph.
In verses 8-12 we see the moment at which Joseph presented his sons to Jacob. It is a most tender event. Jacob’s heart swelled with love and joy, and he said, “I dared not accept the thought that I would see your face, and here God has shown me even your offspring!” (STONE Tanakh translation)
God is the God of the miraculous. The raising of Joseph from the pit and the prison to the headship of Egypt is one of the most astounding events in the history of man. His restoration to his father is one of the most pathos-filled events in Biblical history.
Dearly Beloved—God has you in mind just as much as he had Joseph and Jacob in mind. There is no favoritism with God. But there is covenantal priority with God. You and I are co-inheritors of all of God’s blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:17) Christ is the Heir of All Things—including you. Therefore, God has a destiny imprinted onto your life that He will perform as you walk with him in the Word and the Spirit of our Savior. (Jeremiah 29:11-13; John 13-17; Romans 8)
Let God work in your life. Follow Jesus through the steps of your days. (Matthew 11:28-30) Let him make of you all that He intended when he formed you in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13-18)