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…
We have in this chapter a further illustration of the truth, which runs throughout Scripture, of the first-born being set aside and the younger being chosen. So bent are we upon expecting God to move in our own circle, and according to our ideas of things, that it is hard to dislodge it from the mind. It is well that this law should be reversed, to show us that " God's thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways," and lest we should imagine that grace must always wait upon nature. It is a truth with which we are presented in every phase of our history, that God is constantly reversing our order of things. These crossed hands of blessing meet us everywhere. Like Joseph here, we have some favourite plan or scheme, and we are always expecting God will bless it. He suddenly crosses all our plans and puts before us not only what we had never thought of, but perhaps something we had despised. Or we had prayed for some favourite son on whom we had set very high expectations, when we find God crossing our plans, and blessing another whose talents or abilities we had looked down upon. Like Joseph we are constantly thrusting forward some Manasseh to bless, and God is continually crossing us by taking up some Ephraim and blessing him. Like Joseph, too, we are "displeased" when things do not turn out as we expected them, but in some very opposite way, and we rush to set God right by taking up some other course of our own. Sometimes we never can understand the meaning of these crossings in life. They baffle us, and we begin to think God is neither hearing our prayers nor caring for us. We are constantly saying as Joseph, "Not so, my father; for this is the first-born: put thy right hand on his head." "Not this course, not this plan, not this way, not this place" — such are some of the thoughts which possess us, and which we are constantly thrusting before God. It needs a lifetime's discipline sometimes to make men see that "God's ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts." The soul has to be constantly emptied from vessel to vessel, to be bruised and broken, before it can learn it. Mark, in the next place, the character of the blessing: "And he blessed Joseph and said, God," &c. Here we have distinctly the Triune blessing brought before us — the grand source from which all blessings flow. The first clause is that of the Father; the second that of the Holy Spirit; the third that of the Son. God in His threefold Person and office as the Almighty Father, the Supplier of all grace to the soul, and the Redeemer from all evil. From such a source we are warranted in expecting large blessings, even that Ephraim's seed should become "a multitude of nations," or, as the word means, "the fulness of nations." And where and when is this blessing to be fulfilled? It will be fulfilled in Israel's own land, when the Lord shall return from heaven the second time as "the King of the Jews," to reign over them. And so God declares, through Jacob: "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 everlasting possession." Mark the words, "this land"; and "for an everlasting possession." Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. The Turk may hold it temporarily, or any other power, but they are usurpers. Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. God gave it them. It is, and is shall be, theirs "for ever."
(F. Whitfield, M. A.)
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.