Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 13

Genesis 48–50, Psalm 31

Bible text(s)

Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh

1Some time later Joseph was told that his father was ill. So he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and went to see Jacob. 2When Jacob was told that his son Joseph had come to see him, he gathered his strength and sat up in bed. 3Jacob said to Joseph, “Almighty God appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. 4He said to me, ‘I will give you many children, so that your descendants will become many nations; I will give this land to your descendants as their possession for ever.’ ”

5Jacob continued, “Joseph, your two sons, who were born to you in Egypt before I came here, belong to me; Ephraim and Manasseh are just as much my sons as Reuben and Simeon. 6If you have any more sons, they will not be considered mine; the inheritance they get will come through Ephraim and Manasseh. 7I am doing this because of your mother Rachel. To my great sorrow she died in the land of Canaan, not far from Ephrath, as I was returning from Mesopotamia. I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath.” (Ephrath is now known as Bethlehem.)

8When Jacob saw Joseph's sons, he asked, “Who are these boys?”

9Joseph answered, “These are my sons, whom God has given me here in Egypt.”

Jacob said, “Bring them to me so that I may bless them.” 10Jacob's eyesight was failing because of his age, and he could not see very well. Joseph brought the boys to him, and he hugged them and kissed them. 11Jacob said to Joseph, “I never expected to see you again, and now God has even let me see your children.” 12Then Joseph took them from Jacob's lap and bowed down before him with his face to the ground.

13Joseph put Ephraim at Jacob's left and Manasseh at his right. 14But Jacob crossed his hands, and put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, even though he was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, who was the elder. 15Then he blessed Joseph:

“May the God whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac served bless these boys!

May God, who has led me to this very day, bless them!

16May the angel, who has rescued me from all harm, bless them!

May my name and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac live on through these boys!

May they have many children, many descendants!”

17Joseph was upset when he saw that his father had put his right hand on Ephraim's head; so he took his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to the head of Manasseh. 18He said to his father, “Not that way, father. This is the elder boy; put your right hand on his head.”

19His father refused, saying, “I know, my son, I know. Manasseh's descendants will also become a great people. But his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become great nations.”

20So he blessed them that day, saying, “The Israelites will use your names when they pronounce blessings. They will say, ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’ ” In this way Jacob put Ephraim before Manasseh.

21Then Jacob said to Joseph, “As you see, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will take you back to the land of your ancestors. 22It is to you and not to your brothers that I am giving Shechem, that fertile region which I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”

Genesis 48GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Last Words of Jacob

1Jacob called for his sons and said, “Gather round, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the future:

2“Come together and listen, sons of Jacob.

Listen to your father Israel.

3“Reuben, my firstborn, you are my strength

And the first child of my manhood,

The proudest and strongest of all my sons.

4You are like a raging flood,

But you will not be the most important,

For you slept with my concubine

And dishonoured your father's bed.

5“Simeon and Levi are brothers.

They use their weapons to commit violence.

6I will not join in their secret talks,

Nor will I take part in their meetings,

For they killed men in anger

And they crippled bulls for sport.

7A curse be on their anger, because it is so fierce,

And on their fury, because it is so cruel.

I will scatter them throughout the land of Israel.

I will disperse them among its people.

8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.

You hold your enemies by the neck.

Your brothers will bow down before you.

9Judah is like a lion,

Killing his victim and returning to his den,

Stretching out and lying down.

No one dares disturb him.

10Judah will hold the royal sceptre,

And his descendants will always rule.

Nations will bring him tribute

And bow in obedience before him.

11He ties his young donkey to a grapevine,

To the very best of the vines.

He washes his clothes in blood-red wine.

12His eyes are bloodshot from drinking wine,

His teeth white from drinking milk.

13“Zebulun will live beside the sea.

His shore will be a haven for ships.

His territory will reach as far as Sidon.

14“Issachar is no better than a donkey

That lies stretched out between its saddlebags.

15But he sees that the resting place is good

And that the land is delightful.

So he bends his back to carry the load

And is forced to work as a slave.

16“Dan will be a ruler for his people.

They will be like the other tribes of Israel.

17Dan will be a snake at the side of the road,

A poisonous snake beside the path,

That strikes at the horse's heel,

So that the rider is thrown off backwards.

18“I wait for your deliverance, LORD.

19“Gad will be attacked by a band of robbers,

But he will turn and pursue them.

20“Asher's land will produce rich food.

He will provide food fit for a king.

21“Naphtali is a deer that runs free,

Who bears lovely fawns.

22“Joseph is like a wild donkey by a spring,

A wild colt on a hillside.

23His enemies attack him fiercely

And pursue him with their bows and arrows.

24But his bow remains steady,

And his arms are made strong

By the power of the Mighty God of Jacob,

By the Shepherd, the Protector of Israel.

25It is your father's God who helps you,

The Almighty God who blesses you

With blessings of rain from above

And of deep waters from beneath the ground,

Blessings of many cattle and children,

26Blessings of corn and flowers,

Blessings of ancient mountains,

Delightful things from everlasting hills.

May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph,

On the brow of the one set apart from his brothers.

27“Benjamin is like a vicious wolf.

Morning and evening he kills and devours.”

28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said as he spoke a suitable word of farewell to each son.

The Death and Burial of Jacob

29Then Jacob commanded his sons, “Now that I am going to join my people in death, bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30at Machpelah, east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought this cave and field from Ephron for a burial ground. 31That is where they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah; that is where they buried Isaac and his wife Rebecca; and that is where I buried Leah. 32The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites. Bury me there.” 33When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he lay down again and died.

Genesis 49GNBOpen in Bible reader

1Joseph threw himself on his father, crying and kissing his face. 2Then Joseph gave orders to embalm his father's body. 3It took forty days, the normal time for embalming. The Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.

4When the time of mourning was over, Joseph said to the king's officials, “Please take this message to the king: 5‘When my father was about to die, he made me promise him that I would bury him in the tomb which he had prepared in the land of Canaan. So please let me go and bury my father, and then I will come back.’ ”

6The king answered, “Go and bury your father, as you promised you would.”

7So Joseph went to bury his father. All the king's officials, the senior men of his court, and all the leading men of Egypt went with Joseph. 8His family, his brothers, and the rest of his father's family all went with him. Only their small children and their sheep, goats, and cattle stayed in the region of Goshen. 9Men in chariots and men on horseback also went with him; it was a huge group.

10When they came to the threshing place at Atad east of the Jordan, they mourned loudly for a long time, and Joseph performed mourning ceremonies for seven days. 11When the citizens of Canaan saw those people mourning at Atad, they said, “What a solemn ceremony of mourning the Egyptians are holding!” That is why the place was named Abel Mizraim.

12So Jacob's sons did as he had commanded them; 13they carried his body to Canaan and buried it in the cave at Machpelah, east of Mamre, in the field which Abraham had bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial ground. 14After Joseph had buried his father, he returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone with him for the funeral.

Joseph Reassures his Brothers

15After the death of their father, Joseph's brothers said, “What if Joseph still hates us and plans to pay us back for all the harm we did to him?” 16So they sent a message to Joseph: “Before our father died, 17he told us to ask you, ‘Please forgive the crime your brothers committed when they wronged you.’ Now please forgive us the wrong that we, the servants of your father's God, have done.” Joseph cried when he received this message.

18Then his brothers themselves came and bowed down before him. “Here we are before you as your slaves,” they said.

19But Joseph said to them, “Don't be afraid; I can't put myself in the place of God. 20You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened. 21You have nothing to fear. I will take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them with kind words that touched their hearts.

The Death of Joseph

22Joseph continued to live in Egypt with his father's family; he was 110 years old when he died. 23He lived to see Ephraim's children and grandchildren. He also lived to receive the children of Machir son of Manasseh into the family. 24He said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will certainly take care of you and lead you out of this land to the land he solemnly promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” 25Then Joseph asked his people to make a vow. “Promise me,” he said, “that when God leads you to that land, you will take my body with you.” 26So Joseph died in Egypt at the age of 110. They embalmed his body and put it in a coffin.

Genesis 50GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Prayer of Trust in God

1I come to you, LORD, for protection;

never let me be defeated.

You are a righteous God;

save me, I pray!

2Hear me! Save me now!

Be my refuge to protect me;

my defence to save me.

3You are my refuge and defence;

guide me and lead me as you have promised.

4Keep me safe from the trap that has been set for me;

shelter me from danger.

5I place myself in your care.

You will save me, LORD;

you are a faithful God.

6You hate those who worship false gods,

but I trust in you.

7I will be glad and rejoice

because of your constant love.

You see my suffering;

you know my trouble.

8You have not let my enemies capture me;

you have given me freedom to go where I wish.

9Be merciful to me, LORD,

for I am in trouble;

my eyes are tired from so much crying;

I am completely worn out.

10I am exhausted by sorrow,

and weeping has shortened my life.

I am weak from all my troubles;

even my bones are wasting away.

11All my enemies, and especially my neighbours,

treat me with contempt;

those who know me are afraid of me;

when they see me in the street, they run away.

12Everyone has forgotten me, as though I were dead;

I am like something thrown away.

13I hear many enemies whispering;

terror is all round me.

They are making plans against me,

plotting to kill me.

14But my trust is in you, O LORD;

you are my God.

15I am always in your care;

save me from my enemies,

from those who persecute me.

16Look on your servant with kindness;

save me in your constant love.

17I call to you, LORD;

don't let me be disgraced.

May the wicked be disgraced;

may they go silently down to the world of the dead.

18Silence those liars —

all the proud and arrogant

who speak with contempt about the righteous.

19How wonderful are the good things

you keep for those who honour you!

Everyone knows how good you are,

how securely you protect those who trust you.

20You hide them in the safety of your presence

from the plots of others;

in a safe shelter you hide them

from the insults of their enemies.

21Praise the LORD!

How wonderfully he showed his love for me

when I was surrounded and attacked!

22I was afraid and thought

that he had driven me out of his presence.

But he heard my cry,

when I called to him for help.

23Love the LORD, all his faithful people.

The LORD protects the faithful,

but punishes the proud as they deserve.

24Be strong, be courageous,

all you that hope in the LORD.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
Find us on