Some Notes:

The English language has no gender-neutral pronouns. So when the words man, he, him, etc are used, they mean "Generic human being" unless the context specifically says otherwise. Only women get words devoted just to them.

Thou, Thee, and Thine are singular pronouns. You and Your are plural in the 16th Century English the King James Bible was translated into. This actually makes the message clearer than our habit of using "you" as both a singular and a plural.

In many scriptures I have changed the King James (English) spelling to American spelling (labour=labor, for example. I understand those in England still spell it with a u). Also, in some scriptures I have changed the "-eth" to a simple "s." Spelling standards weren't set in English until the mid 1800's, well after the translating of the KJV. So I see no problem with making these simple changes that don't affect the meaning of the scripture but make it easier for our modern mouths and ears to deal with.

Genesis 48- Jacob Adopts Joseph’s Sons



1 And it came to pass after these things, that someone told Joseph, “Behold, thy father is sick:” and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

2 And someone told Jacob, and said, “Behold, thy son Joseph comes unto thee:” and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.

3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, “God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,

4 “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 everlasting possession.’

Jacob recounts the promises of God.

5 “And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.

Jacob adopts Ephraim and Manasseh as his own sons, equal in standing to his other children.

6 “And thy children, which thou beget after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance.

There is no record of Joseph ever having any other children but if he had, they would have been counted as children of his first two boys instead of his own.

7 “And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem.”

8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, “Who are these?”

Interesting that he adopted Joseph’s boys without realizing they were in the room.

9 And Joseph said unto his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me in this place.” And he said, “Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.”

10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he (Joseph) brought them near unto him; and he (Jacob) kissed them, and embraced them.

11 And Israel said unto Joseph, “I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath showed me also thy seed.”

Jacob is amazed at his good blessings.

12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.

I find this wording “brought them out from between his knees” kind of odd. It sounds like they are toddlers.

The Bible clearly says both boys were born during the years of plenty. Jacob moved into Egypt in the second year of famine, so the youngest was no less than two years old when he met his grandpa. Jacob died 17 years later, so the youngest either of these boys could be is 19.

How do you bring a 19 year old out from between your knees?

The best explanation I have found is that they were hugging their grandpa as part of the adoption and Joseph brought them out from between Jacob’s knees, away from his hug, in preparation to receive their blessings.

13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.

It was traditional to lay your right hand on the head of the oldest when giving a blessing and to give him the biggest blessing.

14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

Jacob crossed his arms so his hands were on the wrong heads.

15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,

16 “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head.

18 And Joseph said unto his father, “Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.”

19 And his father refused, and said, “I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.”

It really shouldn’t have surprised Joseph for Jacob to do this. Jacob was Isaac’s younger son, who was himself Abraham’s second son. Abraham was probably not Terah’s oldest, either. And Joseph was obviously Jacob’s favorite but was his second youngest of twelve sons.

20 And he blessed them that day, saying, “In thee shall Israel bless, saying, ‘God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh:’ “ and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

These two tribes became the biggest in Israel, Ephraim bigger than Manasseh.

21 And Israel said unto Joseph, “Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.

22 “Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.

Because of Jacob’s adopting Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph actually received two portions of inheritance.

We don’t have a record of Jacob doing much fighting, but this sounds very much like he went to war with his neighbors at some point. The incident is simply not recorded.