Genesis 48:4
And said to me, Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people; and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) A multitude of people.—In Genesis 35:11 the words are “a congregation (or church) of nations;” here “a congregation (same word) of peoples.” (See Note there.)

Genesis 48:4. For an everlasting possession — His natural seed should long inherit Canaan, and his spiritual seed enjoy the heavenly inheritance typified by Canaan, for ever.48:1-7 The death-beds of believers, with the prayers and counsels of dying persons, are suited to make serious impressions upon the young, the gay, and the prosperous: we shall do well to take children on such occasions, when it can be done properly. If the Lord please, it is very desirable to bear our dying testimony to his truth, to his faithfulness, and the pleasantness of his ways. And one would wish so to live, as to give energy and weight to our dying exhortations. All true believers are blessed at their death, but all do not depart equally full of spiritual consolations. Jacob adopted Joseph's two sons. Let them not succeed their father, in his power and grandeur in Egypt; but let them succeed in the inheritance of the promise made to Abraham. Thus the aged dying patriarch teaches these young persons to take their lot with the people of God. He appoints each of them to be the head of a tribe. Those are worthy of double honour, who, through God's grace, break through the temptations of worldly wealth and preferment, to embrace religion in disgrace and poverty. Jacob will have Ephraim and Manasseh to know, that it is better to be low, and in the church, than high, and out of it.After these things. - After the arrangements concerning the funeral, recorded in the chapter. "Menasseh and Ephraim." They seem to have accompanied their father from respectful affection to their aged relative. "Israel strengthened himself" - summoned his remaining powers for the interview, which was now to him an effort. "God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz." From the terms of the blessing received it is evident that Jacob here refers to the last appearance of God to him at Bethel Genesis 35:11. "And now thy sons." After referring to the promise of a numerous offspring, and of a territory which they are to inherit, he assigns to each of the two sons of Joseph, who were born in Egypt, a place among his own sons, and a separate share in the promised land. In this way two shares fall to Joseph. "And thy issue." We are not informed whether Joseph had any other sons. But all such are to be reckoned in the two tribes of which Ephraim and Menasseh are the heads. These young men are now at least twenty and nineteen years of age, as they were born before the famine commenced. Any subsequent issue that Joseph might have, would be counted among the generations of their children. "Rachel died upon me" - as a heavy affliction falling upon me. The presence of Joseph naturally leads the father's thoughts to Rachel, the beloved mother of his beloved son, whose memory he honors in giving a double portion to her oldest son.4. Behold, I will make thee fruitful—This is a repetition of the covenant (Ge 28:13-15; 35:12). Whether these words are to be viewed in a limited sense, as pointing to the many centuries during which the Jews were occupiers of the Holy Land, or whether the words bear a wider meaning and intimate that the scattered tribes of Israel are to be reinstated in the land of promise, as their "everlasting possession," are points that have not yet been satisfactorily determined. No text from Poole on this verse. And said unto me, behold, I will make thee fruitful,.... In a spiritual sense, in grace and good works; in a literal sense, in an increase of worldly substance, and especially of children:

and multiply thee; make his posterity numerous as the sand of the sea:

and I will make of thee a multitude of people; a large nation, consisting of many tribes, even a company of nations, as the twelve tribes of Israel were:

and I will give this land unto thy seed after thee, for an everlasting possession; the land of Canaan, they were to possess as long as they were the people of God, and obedient to his law; by which obedience they held the land, even unto the coming of the Messiah, whom they rejected, and then they were cast out, and a "Loammi" (i.e. not my people, Hosea 1:9) written upon them, and their civil polity, as well as church state, at an end: and besides, Canaan was a type of the eternal inheritance of the saints in heaven, the spiritual Israel of God, which will be possessed by them to all eternity.

And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an {b} everlasting possession.

(b) Which is true in the carnal Israel until the coming of Christ, and in the spiritual forever.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years. He then sent for Joseph, as he felt that his death was approaching; and having requested him, as a mark of love and faithfulness, not to bury him in Egypt, but near his fathers in Canaan, he made him assure him on oath (by putting his hand under his hip, vid., p. 164) that his wishes should be fulfilled. When Joseph had taken this oath, "Israel bowed (in worship) upon the bed's head." He had talked with Joseph while sitting upon the bed; and when Joseph had promised to fulfil his wish, he turned towards the head of the bed, so as to lie with his face upon the bed, and thus worshipped God, thanking Him for granting his wish, which sprang from living faith in the promises of God; just as David also worshipped upon his bed (1 Kings 1:47-48). The Vulgate rendering is correct: adoravit Deum conversus ad lectuli caput. That of the lxx, on the contrary, is προσεκύνησεν Ἰσραὴλ ἐπὶ τὸ ἄδρον τῆς ῥάβδου αὐτοῦ (i.e., המּטּה); and the Syriac and Itala have the same (cf. Hebrews 11:21). But no fitting sense can be obtained from this rendering, unless we think of the staff with which Jacob had gone through life, and, taking αὐτου therefore in the sense of αὑτοῦ, assume that Jacob made use of the staff to enable him to sit upright in bed, and so prayed, bent upon or over it, though even then the expression המטה ראשׁ remains a strange one; so that unquestionably this rendering arose from a false reading of המטה, and is not proved to be correct by the quotation in Hebrews 11:21. "Adduxit enim lxx Interpr. versionem Apostolus, quod ea tum usitata esset, non quod lectionem illam praeferendam judicaret (Calovii Bibl. illustr. ad h. l.).
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