Second-generation immigrants often struggle to know where they belong. In Affinity magazine, one second-generation teenager said: “I feel too American to be Chinese and too Chinese to be American.”
As we’ve seen, Joseph had assimilated well to Egypt. But how would his sons fit into his Hebrew family? Joseph likely could have raised them as Egyptians and given them every advantage his position afforded. Instead, he gave them Hebrew names. In the scene from our reading today, Joseph has his sons formally adopted by Jacob. This would firmly cement their identity as a part of the family of Israel. Joseph knew that being a part of God’s covenant family was far more important than having the advantages of being Egyptian.
After a long life of struggle and sorrow, Jacob was now on his deathbed. Scripture devotes almost all of chapters 48 and 49 to describing Jacob’s final words and actions, highlighting for us the importance of this moment of the passing of the Patriarchs. Jacob reflected on God’s promise that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan and become a great nation (vv. 3–4). He wanted Joseph’s sons to be a part of this and declares, “Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine” (v. 5). They would inherit as if they were full sons of Jacob.
Joseph arranged his sons so that the older would approach Jacob’s right hand while the younger would approach his left (v. 13). The right hand was thought to convey a more powerful blessing and was more appropriate to the firstborn. As we see so often throughout the book of Genesis, the roles get reversed. Perhaps Jacob was thinking about his own struggle with Esau as the younger brother who sought his father’s blessing (see Genesis 27).Genesis 48:1–14
In conclusion of our prayers for the IT department, please include the Enterprise Infrastructure Services team—Joseph Kessinger, William Eyerdom, and Michael Paniak. Thank God for their expertise as they provide systems and security support.