Some time later Joseph was told, "Your father is ill." So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him.
When Jacob was told, "Your son Joseph has come to you," Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.
Jacob said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me
and said to me, `I am going to make you fruitful and will increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.'
"Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine.
Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers.
As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath" (that is, Bethlehem).
When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, "Who are these?"
"They are the sons God has given me here," Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, "Bring them to me so I may bless them."
Now Israel's eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.
Israel said to Joseph, "I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too."
Then Joseph removed them from Israel's knees and bowed down with his face to the ground.
And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel's left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel's right hand, and brought them close to him.
But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim's head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh's head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.
Then he blessed Joseph and said, "May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
the Angel who has delivered me from all harm --may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly upon the earth."
When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim's head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head.
Joseph said to him, "No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head."
But his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations."
He blessed them that day and said, "In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: `May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.'" So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
Then Israel said to Joseph, "I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers.
And to you, as one who is over your brothers, I give the ridge of land I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow."
Then Jacob called for his sons and said: "Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
"Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.
"Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.
Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father's bed, onto my couch and defiled it.
"Simeon and Levi are brothers-- their swords are weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.
"Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons will bow down to you.
You are a lion's cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness--who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.
He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.
His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.
"Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon.
"Issachar is a rawboned donkey lying down between two saddlebags.
When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor.
"Dan will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse's heels so that its rider tumbles backward.
"I look for your deliverance, O LORD.
"Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them at their heels.
"Asher's food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
"Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns.
"Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.
With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.
But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
because of your father's God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb.
Your father's blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
"Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder."
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.
Then he gave them these instructions: "I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, along with the field.
There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah.
The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites. "
When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
Joseph threw himself upon his father and wept over him and kissed him.
Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him,
taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.
When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh's court, "If I have found favor in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him,
`My father made me swear an oath and said, "I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan." Now let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.'"
Pharaoh said, "Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do."
So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh's officials accompanied him--the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt--
besides all the members of Joseph's household and his brothers and those belonging to his father's household. Only their children and their flocks and herds were left in Goshen.
Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company.
When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan, they lamented loudly and bitterly; and there Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for his father.
When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, "The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning." That is why that place near the Jordan is called Abel Mizraim.
So Jacob's sons did as he had commanded them:
They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, along with the field.
After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father.
When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?"
So they sent word to Joseph, saying, "Your father left these instructions before he died:
`This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said.
But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God?
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father's family. He lived a hundred and ten years
and saw the third generation of Ephraim's children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph's knees.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place."
So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
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