Notes for Gen 48:1LEB

"and one said." With no expressed subject in the Hebrew text, the verb can be translated with the passive voice.


Notes for Gen 48:2LEB

"and one told and said." The verbs have no expressed subject and can be translated with the passive voice.


"Look, your son Joseph."


Notes for Gen 48:3LEB

"El Shaddai." See the extended note on the phrase "sovereign Yahweh" in Gen 17:1LEB.


Notes for Gen 48:4LEB

"Look, I am making you fruitful." The participle following הִנֵּה (hinneh) has the nuance of a certain and often imminent future.


The perfect verbal form with vav consecutive carries on the certain future idea.


The Hebrew text adds "after you," which has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.


The Hebrew word אֲחֻזָּה (’akhuzzah), translated "possession," describes a permanent holding in the land. It is the noun form of the same verb (אָחַז, ’akhaz) that was used for the land given to them in Goshen (Gen 47:27LEB).


Notes for Gen 48:5LEB

They will be mine. Jacob is here adopting his two grandsons Manasseh and Ephraim as his sons, and so they will have equal share with the other brothers. They will be in the place of Joseph and Levi (who will become a priestly tribe) in the settlement of the land. See I. Mendelsohn, "A Ugaritic Parallel to the Adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh," IEJ (1959): 180-83.


Notes for Gen 48:6LEB

Or "you fathered."


"called" or "named."


Listed under the names of their brothers in their inheritance. This means that any subsequent children of Joseph will be incorporated into the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.


Notes for Gen 48:7LEB

"upon me, against me," which might mean something like "to my sorrow."


Notes for Gen 48:9LEB



"and he"; the referent (Joseph’s father) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


The cohortative with prefixed vav (ו) indicates purpose after the imperative.


Notes for Gen 48:10LEB



The disjunctive clause provides supplemental information that is important to the story. The weakness of Israel’s sight is one of several connections between this chapter and Gen 27. Here there are two sons, and it appears that the younger is being blessed over the older by a blind old man. While it was by Jacob’s deception in chap. 27, here it is with Jacob’s full knowledge.


"he"; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


"them"; the referent (Joseph’s sons) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


"and he"; the referent (Joseph’s father) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 48:11LEB

On the meaning of the Hebrew verb פָּלַל (palal) here, see E. A. Speiser, "The Stem pll in Hebrew," JBL 82 (1963): 301-6. Speiser argues that this verb means "to estimate" as in Exod 21:22LEB.


"your face."



Notes for Gen 48:12LEB

"and Joseph brought them out from with his knees." The two boys had probably been standing by Israel’s knees when being adopted and blessed. The referent of the pronoun "his" (Israel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 48:13LEB

"and Joseph took the two of them."


"and he brought near to him." The referents of the pronouns "he" and "him" (Joseph and his father respectively) have been specified in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 48:14LEB

The disjunctive clause is circumstantial-concessive here.


Notes for Gen 48:15LEB

"shepherded me." The verb has been translated as an English noun for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Gen 48:16LEB

The Samaritan Pentateuch reads "king" here, but the traditional reading ("angel") may be maintained. Jacob closely associates Yahweh with an angelic protective presence. This does not mean that Jacob viewed his Yahweh as a mere angel, but it does suggest that he was aware of an angelic presence sent by Yahweh to protect him. Here he so closely associates the two that they become virtually indistinguishable. In this culture messengers typically carried the authority of the one who sent them and could even be addressed as such. Perhaps Jacob thought that the divine blessing would be mediated through this angelic messenger.


The verb גָּאַל (gaal) has the basic idea of "protect" as a near relative might do. It is used for buying someone out of bondage, marrying a deceased brother’s widow, paying off debts, avenging the family, and the like. The meanings of "deliver, protect, avenge" are most fitting when Yahweh is the subject (see A. R. Johnson, "The Primary Meaning of גאל," Congress Volume: Copenhagen, 1953 [VTSup], 67–77).


Or "be recalled through them."


Notes for Gen 48:17LEB

"it was bad in his eyes."


Notes for Gen 48:19LEB



Notes for Gen 48:20LEB

The pronoun is singular in the Hebrew text, apparently elevating Ephraim as the more prominent of the two. Note, however, that both are named in the blessing formula that follows.


Or "pronounce a blessing."


On the elevation of Ephraim over Manasseh see E. C. Kingsbury, "He Set Ephraim Before Manasseh," HUCA 38 (1967): 129-36; H. Mowvley, "The Concept and Content of ‘Blessing’ in the Old Testament," BT 16 (1965): 74-80; and I. Mendelsohn, "On the Preferential Status of the Eldest Son," BASOR 156 (1959): 38-40.


Notes for Gen 48:21LEB

The pronouns translated "you," "you," and "your" in this verse are plural in the Hebrew text.


Notes for Gen 48:22LEB

The pronouns translated "your" and "you" in this verse are singular in the Hebrew text.


The Hebrew word שְׁכֶם (shékhem) could be translated either as "mountain slope" or "shoulder, portion," or even taken as the proper name "Shechem." Jacob was giving Joseph either (1) one portion above his brothers, or (2) the mountain ridge he took from the Amorites, or (3) Shechem. The ambiguity actually allows for all three to be the referent. He could be referring to the land in Shechem he bought in Gen 33:18–19LEB, but he mentions here that it was acquired by warfare, suggesting that the events of Gen 34:25–29LEB are in view (even though at the time he denounced it, Gen 34:30LEB). Joseph was later buried in Shechem (Josh 24:32LEB).