Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Genesis 48: The Younger Brother Gets the Greater Blessing

Today's Episode

Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh (v. 1-22)

Jacob was ill so Joseph brought his two sons to see him. Jacob was very happy as he never thought he would see his son Joseph again, and how he even gets to meet 2 grandchildren that he didn't know existed.

This is a nice scene, it would truly be a great thing to find out your son (who you thought was dead) had children of his own.

Jacob blesses his grandchildren, but he gives the better blessing to the younger one. Joseph protests as that should go to the firstborn, but Jacob insists that the younger will be greater than the older. He also says that he is giving some land to Joseph instead of to his brothers.

My memory is spotty on this, but if wikipedia is to be believed, Joseph is almost the last son. It is pretty silly of Joseph to complain so much that the younger son is going to get special treatment when he got a ton of special treatment. Perhaps that is the whole point here.

Jacob vs Israel
I loved this movie 15 years ago

This whole thing with Jacob's name being changed has been bothering me for a while. God changed his name from Jacob to Israel in chapter 32, then again in chapter 35. In chapter 46 I pointed out that it was strange that the narrator called him Israel but God called him Jacob. And now in this chapter this narrator flops back and forth within one verse. v2
And it was told to Jacob, "Your son Joseph has come to you." Then Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed.
I honestly don't know what to make of this, but it is certainly weird. Perhaps it is as simple as poor translating. One thought I had was that it is a merging of two different stories. Maybe there were stories about Israel and other stories about Jacob which had similar components and they eventually got melded together into one story. Perhaps they were trying to appeal to two different groups of people so they couldn't simply transfer everything to one name or the other. Obviously these are just guesses, but something has got to be up here.

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