Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Genesis
Book: Genesis
Chapter: 48

Joseph visits his dying Father. (1-7) Jacob blesses Joseph's
sons. (8-22)

1-7 The Death-beds of believers, with the prayers and counsels
of dying persons, are suited to make serious impressions upon
the young, the gay, and the prosperous: we shall do Well to take
children On such occasions, when it can be done properly. If the
Lord please, it is very desirable to Bear our dying Testimony to
his Truth, to his faithfulness, and the pleasantness of his
ways. And one would wish So to live, as to give energy and
weight to our dying exhortations. All true believers are blessed
at their Death, but all do not depart equally full of spiritual
consolations. Jacob adopted Joseph's two sons. Let them not
succeed their Father, in his power and grandeur in Egypt; but
let them succeed in the inheritance of the promise made to
Abraham. Thus the aged dying Patriarch teaches these young
persons to take their Lot with the people of God. He appoints
each of them to be the head of a Tribe. Those are worthy of
double honour, who, through God's Grace, break through the
temptations of worldly wealth and preferment, to embrace
religion in disgrace and poverty. Jacob will have Ephraim and
Manasseh to know, that it is better to be low, and in the
Church, than high, and out of it.

8-22 The two good men own God in their comforts. Joseph says,
They are my sons whom God has given me. Jacob says, God hath
showed me thy seed. Comforts are doubly sweet to us when we see
them coming from God's Hand. He not only prevents our fears, but
exceeds our hopes. Jacob mentions the care the Divine Providence
had taken of him all his days. A great Deal of hardship he had
known in his time, but God kept him from the evil of his
troubles. Now he was dying, he looked upon himself as redeemed
from all Sin and sorrow for ever. Christ, the Angel of the
Covenant, redeems from all evil. Deliverances from misery and
dangers, By the Divine power, coming through the Ransom of the
Blood of Christ, in Scripture are often called Redemption. In
blessing Joseph's sons, Jacob crossed hands. Joseph was willing
to support his First-born, and would have removed his Father's
hands. But Jacob acted neither By mistake, nor from a partial
Affection to one more than the other; but from a Spirit of
Prophecy, and By the Divine counsel. God, in bestowing blessings
upon his people, gives more to some than to others, more Gifts,
graces, and comforts, and more of the good things of this Life.
He often gives most to those that are least likely. He chooses
the weak things of the world; he raises the Poor out of the
Dust. Grace observes not the order of nature, nor does God
prefer those whom we think fittest to be preferred, but as it
pleases him. How Poor are they who have No riches but those of
this world! How miserable is a Death-Bed to those who have No
Well-grounded Hope of good, but dreadful apprehensions of evil,
and nothing but evil for ever!