48:8 When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he asked, “Who are these?” 48:9 Joseph said to his father, “They are the 1 sons God has given me in this place.” His father 2 said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.” 3 48:10 Now Israel’s eyes were failing 4 because of his age; he was not able to see well. So Joseph 5 brought his sons 6 near to him, and his father 7 kissed them and embraced them. 48:11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected 8 to see you 9 again, but now God has allowed me to see your children 10 too.”
48:12 So Joseph moved them from Israel’s knees 11 and bowed down with his face to the ground. 48:13 Joseph positioned them; 12 he put Ephraim on his right hand across from Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh on his left hand across from Israel’s right hand. Then Joseph brought them closer to his father. 13 48:14 Israel stretched out his right hand and placed it on Ephraim’s head, although he was the younger. 14 Crossing his hands, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, for Manasseh was the firstborn.
48:15 Then he blessed Joseph and said,
“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked –
the God who has been my shepherd 15
all my life long to this day,
from all harm –
bless these boys.
May my name be named in them, 18
and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac.
May they grow into a multitude on the earth.”
[48:10] sn The disjunctive clause provides supplemental information that is important to the story. The weakness of Israel’s sight is one of several connections between this chapter and Gen 27. Here there are two sons, and it appears that the younger is being blessed over the older by a blind old man. While it was by Jacob’s deception in chap. 27, here it is with Jacob’s full knowledge.
[48:11] 8 tn On the meaning of the Hebrew verb פָּלַל (palal) here, see E. A. Speiser, “The Stem pll in Hebrew,” JBL 82 (1963): 301-6. Speiser argues that this verb means “to estimate” as in Exod 21:22.
[48:12] 11 tn Heb “and Joseph brought them out from with his knees.” The two boys had probably been standing by Israel’s knees when being adopted and blessed. The referent of the pronoun “his” (Israel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
[48:16] 16 sn The Samaritan Pentateuch reads “king” here, but the traditional reading (“angel”) may be maintained. Jacob closely associates God with an angelic protective presence. This does not mean that Jacob viewed his God as a mere angel, but it does suggest that he was aware of an angelic presence sent by God to protect him. Here he so closely associates the two that they become virtually indistinguishable. In this culture messengers typically carried the authority of the one who sent them and could even be addressed as such. Perhaps Jacob thought that the divine blessing would be mediated through this angelic messenger.
[48:16] 17 tn The verb גָּאַל (ga’al) has the basic idea of “protect” as a near relative might do. It is used for buying someone out of bondage, marrying a deceased brother’s widow, paying off debts, avenging the family, and the like. The meanings of “deliver, protect, avenge” are most fitting when God is the subject (see A. R. Johnson, “The Primary Meaning of √גאל,” Congress Volume: Copenhagen, 1953 [VTSup], 67-77).