And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, your father is sick: and he took with him his two sons…
I. THE AUTHORITY WHICH HE CLAIMED FOR THIS ACT. He refers to a leading point in the covenant history. God the Almighty, who is able to perform His Word, had appeared to him, had promised to make him a great nation, and to give his seed the land of Canaan (ver. 3). God had spoken to him, and this is his authority. On this he bases all the family hopes. The mention of God's appearance and promise would inspire confidence in Joseph.
II. THE PURPOSE HE HAD IN VIEW.
1. To deliver them from the corrupting influences of the world. Though they had an Egyptian mother, and belonged to that nation by birth and circumstances, yet they were not to be suffered to remain Egyptians. Ordinary men would regard them as having brilliant prospects in the world. But it was a far nobler thing that they should espouse the cause of God, and cast in their lot with His people.
2. To give them a recognized place in the covenant family. This would impart a dignity and meaning to their life, and an impulse and an elevation to all their thoughts Godward.
3. To do special honour to Joseph.
III. THE SAD MEMORIES WHICH AWOKE.
1. They were selected in the room of Jacob's two sons, who had forfeited the blessing. Instead of Reuben and Simeon. They had grievously sinned, and thus lost their inheritance. The portion of Reuben was given to Ephraim; and of Simeon to Manasseh. The grounds of this are given in 1 Chronicles 5:1; see also Genesis 34., 49:5-7; Numbers 26:28-37; 1 Chronicles 7:14-29.
2. They reminded him of one whom he had loved and lost (ver. 7).
(T. H. Leale.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.