“Now you’re two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine. Ephraim and Manasseh will be as much mine as Reuben and Simon are.“–Genesis 48:5
Okay, today we’re going to focus on the technical aspects of the cross-handed blessing that Jacob bestowed on Joseph’s two sons Manasseh and Ephraim.
This is mighty important to grasp because without understanding the technicalities, there is no way you’re going to be able to comprehend the spiritual implications, which are mind-blowing by the way.
Now the first thing you need to know is Jacob making Joseph’s two Egyptian children his own was NOT symbolic or metaphorical.
These two Egyptian children did NOT become adopted grandchildren.
Rather Jacob made them his very own children.
Also this was not a mere religious conversion either whereby Jacob turned these Egyptian children into Israelites.
I’m saying in the most absolute sense that Jacob put these two Egyptian sons of Joseph on par with his other 12 sons!
That’s right, at this point in time, you could say Jacob now has 14 sons.
Or, technically speaking, there are now 14 tribes of Israel in existence.
The next important fundamental you need to grasp is that through Jacob’s adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh, the “double-portion” part of the first-born blessing was finally assigned.
And it was Joseph who received it.
Recall the first-born blessing consists of two parts: “the double-portion” of wealth bestowed upon the firstborn and the “birthright”, which is the ruling authority over the clan.
Joseph received the double portion which means he got twice the amount of wealth of the other sons?
How did this happen?
He received it symbolically through the two boys Ephraim and Manasseh who Jacob had adopted away from him.
When Joseph’s two sons became Jacob’s own sons, each of Joseph’s sons were now entitled to a full share of all the wealth equal with their new brothers.
Here’s a simple example.
Let’s say the total wealth of the clan is $12,000.
Now let’s divide that by 12 which is the number of the tribes of Israel.
So a 1/12th portion comes to $1000.
Now the first-born gets $2000 which is a double-portion amount.
The remaining $10,000 is to be equally divvied up between the 11 sons which comes to about $909 each.
So Ephraim and Manasseh received $1000 each which represents Joseph’s double portion.
Now some of you may be wondering, didn’t you just say that technically there are now 14 sons of Jacob?
So why are you dividing by 12 and not 14?
First, Joseph did NOT receive a 12th in addition to Ephraim and Manasseh.
The idea is that by giving Joseph’s two children each a 1/12th portion, this was equivalent to giving Joseph 2/12th’s.
There is an important Scriptural principle being communicated here and it is this:
Joseph right up until today is represented by his two sons who became the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
In a sense, his authority and identity has been replaced by his two sons.
However, there is another obstacle we need to tackle.
When you take out Joseph and add his two sons to the remaining 11 tribes, the total comes to 13 and not 12.
So why aren’t we dividing by 13?
The answer is that 450 years later God will REMOVE the tribe of Levi from Israel and make them a special group of people whose sole job is to be in service to Yehoveh.
We will see this happen in the Book of Numbers.
Okay, I think that this was a bit complicated.
Here’s a quick recap of what you need to know:
-When Jacob adopted Joseph’s two sons, they became his own children on the same par with his other 12 sons.
-Through this adoption, Joseph received the “double-portion” of the first-born blessing.
-From this point onward, Joseph will be represented by Ephraim and Manasseh who will go on to become prominent Hebrew tribes in their own right.