When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, "Who are these?"
I. WHAT IT WAS.
1. It was not anxiety about temporal support, for that had been generously made sure to him by his son Joseph.
2. It was not concern about the future fortunes of his family, for these had been graciously taken under God's protection.
3. It was not uncertainty as to his own personal acceptance with Jehovah, for of that he had long ago been assured.
4. It was scarcely even fear of his approaching death, for besides being a thought with which Jacob had long been familiar, to a weary pilgrim like him the event itself would not be altogether unwelcome.
5. It was dread lest his lifeless body should be interred in Egypt, far from the graves of his ancestors in the holy land.
II. WHENCE IT AROSE.
1. From the deeply-seated instinct in human nature, which makes men wish, if possible, to sleep beside their fathers and friends. Though religion teaches us to believe that every spot on earth is in a manner holy ground, yet it does not induce a spirit of indifference as to the last resting-place where we shall lie.
2. From a firm faith in the Divine promise that his descendants should yet return to Canaan. Even if Jacob did not anticipate that this would immediately occur, if, as is probable, he had already dark forebodings that the period of exile and servitude spoken of by Jehovah to Abraham was about to commence, he was yet able to detect a silver lining in the cloud, to see the happy time beyond, when his children, in accordance with the promise "I will surely bring thee up again," should return home to their presently abandoned inheritance.
III. HOW IT WAS REMOVED.
1. By Joseph's promise. Requested by his aged parent to convey his body back to Canaan, when the life had departed, Joseph solemnly, engages to carry out that parent's wishes to the letter. "I will do as thou hast said."
2. By Joseph's oath. As if to remove every possible ground of apprehension, the old man further binds his son by an appeal to heaven. "And he said, Swear unto me; and he (Joseph) sware unto him." The venerable patriarch's anxieties were at an end. "And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head." - W.
Israel beheld Joseph's sons.1. Prudence in good men may divert nature from the remembrance of sad events. About Rachel.
2. Weak nature may see in part that which it doth not discern. So Jacob.
3. Reason suggests inquiry to know what sight doth not discern (ver. 8).
4. Sons in strength should help the weakness of aged parents. So Joseph to his father.
5. It concerns fathers to own their children especially in order to a blessing. So Joseph his.
6. Godly parents account their children God's gift unto them. So Joseph.
7. It is a mercy remarkable to have children for blessing in a strange place.
8. Gracious fathers desire their children's children to bless them (ver. 9).
9. Old age makes the saints subject to the same infirmities as other men. So to Jacob.
10. Dimness of sight is a usual symptom of old age.
11. Weakness in sight makes mistakes that need direction in the holiest men.
12. Good fathers yield to the desires of bringing children to them that can bless them.
13. Kisses and embracings are not unseemly from holy ancestors to their seed's seed in order to blessing (ver. 10).
14. It is meet for the holy ancestors to acquaint the sons of God's dealings, with them.
15. Hopelessness of mercy with good souls makes them remember it more sweetly.
16. God's mercies sometimes over-reach hope and expectation of His people.
17. Saints delight to show their over-abounding mercies to His praise (ver. 11).
18. Suitable motions to dispose for a ministerial blessing is but meet.
19. Filial obeisance in honour of parents is a just duty in expectation of a blessing (ver. 12).
20. There are right-hand and left-hand blessings, which God giveth by His ministers, greater and less.
21. Good men may aim one to the right, and another to the left.hand blessing, whom God changeth.
22. It is needful to come near So the ministers of blessing if men desire to have it (ver. 13).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
PeopleAmorites, Ephrath, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Manasseh, Rachel, Reuben, Simeon
PlacesBethlehem, Canaan, Ephrath, Luz, Paddan, Rameses
TopicsBeheld, Joseph, Joseph's, Sons
Outline1. Joseph with his sons visits his sick father.
2. Jacob strengthens himself to bless them.
3. He repeats God's promise.
5. He takes Ephraim and Manasseh as his own sons.
7. He tells Joseph of his mother's grave.
8. He blesses Ephraim and Manasseh.
17. He prefers the younger before the elder.
21. He prophesies their return to Canaan.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 48:1-20
1651 numbers, 1-2
LibraryTwo Retrospects of one Life
'And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.'--GENESIS xlvii. 9. 'The God which fed me all my life long unto this day; the Angel which redeemed me from all evil.' --GENESIS xlviii. 15,16. These are two strangely different estimates of the same life to be taken by the same man. In the latter Jacob categorically contradicts everything that he had said in the former. 'Few and evil,' he said before Pharaoh. 'All my life long,' 'the Angel which redeemed me from …
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