Genesis 48:17
And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Genesis 48:17. It displeased him — Joseph had placed his children so as that Jacob’s right hand should be put on the head of Manasseh the eldest, Genesis 48:12-13; but Jacob would put it on the head of Ephraim the youngest, Genesis 48:14. This displeased Joseph, who was willing to support the reputation of his firstborn, and would therefore have removed his father’s hands, (Genesis 48:17-18,) but Jacob gave him to understand that he knew what he did, and that he did it neither by mistake nor in a humour, nor from a partial affection to one more than the other, but from a spirit of prophecy.48:8-22 The two good men own God in their comforts. Joseph says, They are my sons whom God has given me. Jacob says, God hath showed me thy seed. Comforts are doubly sweet to us when we see them coming from God's hand. He not only prevents our fears, but exceeds our hopes. Jacob mentions the care the Divine providence had taken of him all his days. A great deal of hardship he had known in his time, but God kept him from the evil of his troubles. Now he was dying, he looked upon himself as redeemed from all sin and sorrow for ever. Christ, the Angel of the covenant, redeems from all evil. Deliverances from misery and dangers, by the Divine power, coming through the ransom of the blood of Christ, in Scripture are often called redemption. In blessing Joseph's sons, Jacob crossed hands. Joseph was willing to support his first-born, and would have removed his father's hands. But Jacob acted neither by mistake, nor from a partial affection to one more than the other; but from a spirit of prophecy, and by the Divine counsel. God, in bestowing blessings upon his people, gives more to some than to others, more gifts, graces, and comforts, and more of the good things of this life. He often gives most to those that are least likely. He chooses the weak things of the world; he raises the poor out of the dust. Grace observes not the order of nature, nor does God prefer those whom we think fittest to be preferred, but as it pleases him. How poor are they who have no riches but those of this world! How miserable is a death-bed to those who have no well-grounded hope of good, but dreadful apprehensions of evil, and nothing but evil for ever!Joseph presumes that his father has gone astray through dulness of perception, and endeavors to rectify his mistake. He finds, however, that on the other hand a supernatural vision is now conferred on his parent, who is fully conscious of what he is about, and therefore, abides by his own act. Ephraim is to be greater than Menasseh. Joshua, the successor of Moses, was of the tribe of Ephraim, as Kaleb his companion was of Judah. Ephraim came to designate the northern kingdom of the ten tribes, as Judah denoted the southern kingdom containing the remaining tribes; and each name was occasionally used to denote all Israel, with a special reference to the prominent part. "His seed shall be the fullness of the nations." This denotes not only the number but the completeness of his race, and accords with the future pre-eminence of his tribe. In thee, in Joseph, who is still identified with his offspring.

At the point of death Jacob expresses his assurance of the return of his posterity to the land of promise, and bestows on Joseph one share or piece of ground above his brethren, which, says he, I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow. This share is, in the original, שׁכם shekem, Shekem, a shoulder or tract of land. This region included "the parcel of the field where he had spread his tent" Genesis 33:19. It refers to the whole territory of Shekem, which was conquered by his sword and his bow, inasmuch as the city itself was sacked, and its inhabitants put to the sword by his sons at the head of his armed retainers, though without his approval Genesis 34. Though he withdrew immediately after to Bethel Genesis 35, yet he neither fled nor relinquished possession of this conquest, as we find his sons feeding his flocks there when he himself was residing at Hebron Genesis 37:13. The incidental conquest of such a tract was no more at variance with the subsequent acquisition of the whole country than the purchase of a field by Abraham or a parcel of ground by Jacob himself. In accordance with this gift Joseph's bones were deposited in Shekem, after the conquest of the whole land by returning Israel. The territory of Shekem was probably not equal in extent to that of Ephraim, but was included within its bounds.

- Jacob Blesses His Sons

5. מכרה mekêrāh, "weapon;" related: כיר kārar or כרה kārāh dig. "Device, design?" related: מכר mākar "sell," in Arabic "take counsel. Habitation."

10. מחקק mechoqēq, "lawgiver, judge, dispenser of laws." This word occurs in six other places - Numbers 21:18; Deuteronomy 33:21; Jud. Deu 5:14; Psalm 60:9; Psalm 108:9; Isaiah 33:22; in five of which it clearly denotes ruler, or judge. The meaning "sceptre" is therefore doubtful. שׁילה shı̂ylôh, Shiloh, a softened form of שׁילון shı̂ylôn, a derivative of שׁל shol, the ultimate root of שׁלה shālâh, שׁלם shālam, and possibly שׁלט shālaṭ, and hence, denoting "the peacemaker, the prince of peace." It is not employed as an appellative noun. But it is used afterward as the name of a town, now identified as Seilun. This town probably had its name, like many other ancient places from a person of the same name who built or possessed it.

From the special conference with Joseph we now pass to the parting address of Jacob to his assembled sons. This is at the same time prophetic and benedictory. Like all prophecy, it starts from present things, and in its widest expanse penetrates into the remotest future of the present course of nature.

13. Joseph took them both—The very act of pronouncing the blessing was remarkable, showing that Jacob's bosom was animated by the spirit of prophecy. It displeased him, because of that affection which parents generally have for their first-born. See Genesis 21:11. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him,.... To see the younger preferred to the elder; parents, generally speaking, having the greatest regard to the firstborn with respect to honour and estate, and to them, in those times, the patriarchal blessing particularly was thought to belong; but it did not always go to them, but to the younger, as in Jacob's own case:

and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head; he took him by the right hand, and lifted it up from the head of Ephraim, and held it in order that he might put it by his direction on the head of Manasseh.

And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it {g} displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head.

(g) Joseph fails by binding God's grace to the order of nature.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 17. - And when (literally, and) Joseph saw that his father laid (or was laying) his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: - literally, and it was evil in his eyes (cf. Genesis 28:8) - and (supposing his father had made a mistake) he held up (or took hold of) his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. The Blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh. - Genesis 48:8. Jacob now for the first time caught sight of Joseph's sons, who had come with him, and inquired who they were; for "the eyes of Israel were heavy (dim) with age, so that he could not see well" (Genesis 48:10). The feeble old man, too, may not have seen the youths for some years, so that he did not recognise them again. On Joseph's answering, "My sons whom God hath given he mere," he replied, "Bring them to me then (קחם־נא), that I may bless them;" and he kissed and embraced them, when Joseph had brought them near, expressing his joy, that whereas he never expected to see Joseph's face again, God had permitted him to see his seed. ראה for ראות, like עשׂו (Genesis 31:28). עלּל: to decide; here, to judge, to think.
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