God Will Be With You [Genesis 47–48 Study]

What will your final words be to your children? Can we borrow and utter Jacob's words to Joseph, "As God has been with me, God will be with you."

God Will Be With You [Genesis 47–48 Study]
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  • I invite you to open your Bibles and turn with me to Genesis 47:27.
  • The title of today's Bible study is "God Will Be With You."
  • We will read the rest of Genesis 47 and all of Genesis 48.


  • What final words will your share with your children?
  • If you had one more day with your family, what would you say?
  • According to biographer George Marsden, Jonathan "Edwards spent his whole life preparing to die. As he often reminded his congregations, those who were sitting comfortably one Sabbath might be in the grave by the next."[1]
  • In today's Bible passage, we will examine what Jacob said to Joseph and Joseph's two sons in private conversation shortly before Jacob's death.
  • It will contain a request, a blessing, and a final word of encouragement.

We will divide today's passage into four sections:

  1. God Blesses Israel (47:27-28)
  2. Israel Beseeches Joseph (47:29-31)
  3. Israel Blesses Joseph (48:1-12)
  4. Israel Blesses Ephraim over Manasseh (48:13-22)

1. God Blesses Israel (47:27-28)

  • "Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt." (v.27a)
    1. "gained possessions" or "acquired property" (NAS)
      • Juxtapose the acquiring of possession and property with the Egyptian's loss of all possession: (1) their money, (2) their livestock, (3) their land, and (4) their autonomy.
      • The Egyptians had sold their livestock, and all the livestock was likely placed under the care of Joseph's brothers based on the Pharoah's commission in Genesis 47:6.
    2. "were fruitful and multiplied greatly" or "became very numerous" (NAS)
      • Fertility is under the sovereign control of the almighty God.
      • The pattern of God's blessing was to "be fruitful and multiply."
      • Genesis 1:22 - God told Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful and multiply."
      • Genesis 9:1 - God told Noah and his sons, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth."
      • Genesis 28:3 - Isaac's sincere blessing to Jacob was, "God Almighty [El Shaddai] bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples."
      • Genesis 35:11 - At Luz, God told Jacob, "I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]: be fruitful and multiply."
  • "Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years" (v.28a)
    • Jacob was with Joseph in Canaan for his first 17 years of life.
    • Jacob remained with Joseph in Egypt for his final 17 years of life.

2. Israel Beseeches Joseph (47:29-31)

  • At the end of Jacob's life, he calls Joseph to make one final request.
    1. "put your hand under my thigh" (v.29b)
      • Genesis 24, Abraham asked his servant to put his hand under Abraham's thigh and swear an oath to find a wife for Isaac.
    2. "promise to deal kindly חֶ֫סֶד and truly with me" (v.29c)
      • Parallels Genesis 21 when Abraham made a treaty with Abimelech. Abimelech asks Abraham, "swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me...but as I have dealt kindly with you."
      • Joseph had requested חֶ֫סֶד from the cupbearer: "Please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house." (Genesis 40:14)
      • Jacob had no direct control and must entrust his request for burial to Joseph.
    3. "Do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place." (v.30a)
      • Jacob likely conceded that the nation of Israel would remain in Egypt for 400 years as God had foretold Abraham in Genesis 15:13.
      • Jacob did not want to wait 400 years to have his brought back to Canaan. He wanted his body to rest with his father and grandfather in Canaan in the caves of Machpelah.
  • Joseph answered, "I will do as you have said." (common wording)
    • But Jacob says to Joseph, "Swear to me." (v.31a)
      • "Swear to me" is the formula for a typical oath.
    • Jacob "bowed himself upon the head of his bed." (v.31b)
      • In the LXX and Hebrews 11:21 - the word bed is replaced with staff.
      • Perhaps this is a final fulfillment of Joseph's dream in Genesis 37. Jacob prostrated himself in the presence of Joseph.

3. Israel Blesses Joseph (48:1-12)

  • "After this." - Implication that some time had elapsed between the end of chapter 47 and the start of chapter 48.
  • Learning Jacob was ill, Joseph brings his two sons. (v.1-2)
  • Jacob reminds Joseph that God had appeared to him at Luz and had blessed him. (v.3-4)
    1. "I will make you fruitful and multiple you." (v.4b)
    2. "I will make of you a company of peoples." (v.4c)
    3. "I will give this land to your offspring זֶ֫רַע after you for an everlasting possession." (v.4d)
  • Jacob promotes Ephraim and Manasseh as joint-heirs with his other sons. (v.5-6)
  • Jacob seemingly changes the topic and recounts the death and burial of his wife Rachel. (v.7)
    • Rachel died and was buried in Ephrath. We'll see that later, Jacob will be buried with his first wife Leah.
  • Israel sees Joseph's two sons and offers to bless them. (v.8-9)
    • Notice Jacob's expression of emotion: "he kissed them and embraced them." (v.10)
    • "I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring זֶ֫רַע also." (v.11)
  • "Joseph removed them from his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth." (v.12)
    • Joseph may be the second most powerful man in Egypt, but he never loses his respect for his father, and he never ceases to be gracious toward him.[2]

4. Israel Blesses Ephraim Over Manasseh (48:13-22)

  • Notice the graphic depiction of Joseph presenting his two sons to be blessed by Jacob. (v.13-14)
    • Ephraim led by Joseph's right hand toward Jacob's left hand.
    • Manasseh in Joseph's left hand is directed to Jacob's right hand.
    • Like his father Isaac in Gen 27, Jacob's sight was dim.
    • Jacob stretches his right hand and laid it on the younger son.
    • Jacob crosses his left hand and places it on the older son.
  • Jacob blesses Joseph (v.15-16)
    • He describes God in three ways.
      • Self-existent: "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked," (v.15b)
      • Shepherd: "The God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day." (v.15c)
        • Remember that Jacob and his family were shepherds.
        • Significant that Jacob refers to God as his lifelong shepherd.
        • First time in Scripture God is identified as a shepherd.
        • Jacob will refer to God as a shepherd a second time in Gen 49:24 when he blesses Joseph with his brothers.
      • Redeemer: "the angel who has redeemed me from all evil." (v.16a)
  • The author states that Jacob blesses Joseph (v.15a) by blessing his two sons. He gives Joseph the double portion and divides the birthright between his two sons.
    • "bless the boys"
    • "let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;" (v.16b)
    • "and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." (v.16c)
  • Joseph is displeased and redirects his father's hand. (v.17-18)
    • Joseph said, "Not this way, my father; since this one is the firstborn,"
    • Jacob refused, saying, "He also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations." (v.19b)
  • Jacob blesses Joseph's sons (v.20)
    • "God makes you as Ephraim and as Manasseh. Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh." (v.20b)
  • Jacob's final encouragement to Joseph (v.21-22)
    1. "God will be with you."
      1. Gen 28:15: God said, "I am with you and will keep you wherever you go."
      2. Gen 31:5: Jacob said, "The God of my father has been with me."
        • When Jacob met Pharaoh, he described his life as one full of suffering and disappointment.
        • Jacob's conclusion remained unchanged: God has been with me.
      • Now, Jacob tells Joseph, the same God "will be with you."
        • The God who is self-existent, your good shepherd, your redeemer, is the God who will always be with you.
        • I am leaving you, but God will be with you.
    2. "God will bring you again to the land of your fathers."
    3. I have given you one mountain slope that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow."
      • Both Jacob and Joseph will die in Egypt, so this gift of land is a future promise.
      • Three possibilities of what Jacob is saying:
        1. Jacob gives the land he had purchased from Hamor in Genesis 33.
        2. Jacob is giving the land that had been taken by Simon and Levi with their devastating assault of Shechem's family in Genesis 34.
        3. Jacob is speaking prophetically of a future time when the people of Israel will defeat the Canaanites, and a portion of land from the future conquest will be given to Joseph.
  • "As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph." (Josh 24:32)


Story: Jonathan Edwards's final weeks at Princeton University with his two daughters.

  • In January 1758, Jonathan Edwards left his wife at Stockbridge and set for Princeton.
  • February 16, Edwards was installed as president of Princeton University.
  • February 23, a doctor inoculated Edwards' family with smallpox.
  • Edwards died on March 22.
  • Jonathan Edwards's last words, written by daughter Lucy.

It seems to me to be the will of God that I must shortly leave you; therefore give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her, that the uncommon union, which has so long subsisted between us, has been of such a nature, as I trust is spiritual, and therefore will continue forever: and I hope she will be supported under so great a trial, and submit cheerfully to the will of God. And as to my children, you are now like to be left fatherless, which I hope will be an inducement to you all to seek a Father, who will never fail you.[3]

  1. God is with you, and he will remain with you and keep you wherever you go.
  2. When you reach the sunset of your life, you will realize, like Jacob, that God has been with you.
  • After Abraham, God remained with Isaac.

  • After Isaac came Joseph.

  • After Joseph were Ephraim and Manasseh.

  • What will be the final words you share with your children? To the next generation.

  • Perhaps you will borrow the words Jacob shared with Joseph.

  • "Just as God has been with me, God will be with you."

  1. George M. Marsden. Jonathan Edwards: A Life. Chap. 30. Kindle Edition. ↩︎

  2. Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18–50, New International Commentary on the Old Testament. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 635. Accordance. ↩︎

  3. Marsden. Jonathan Edwards. Chap. 30. ↩︎

Bible Studies on the Story of Joseph

  1. Introduction to the Joseph Narrative in Genesis
  2. Joseph the Dreamer (Genesis 37:2–11)
  3. Joseph Sold to Slavery (Genesis 37:12–36)
  4. Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38)
  5. Joseph Tempted by Potiphar's Wife (Genesis 39)
  6. God Remembers Joseph in Prison (Genesis 40)
  7. Pharoah's Dreams Interpreted (Genesis 41:1–36)
  8. Joseph Made Prime Minister (Genesis 41:37–57)
  9. Jacob's Sons' First Trip to Egypt (Genesis 42)
  10. Jacob Accepts Judah's Guarantee (Genesis 43:1–14)
  11. Joseph Reunites with Benjamin (Genesis 43:15–34)
  12. Joseph Plants His Silver Cup (Genesis 44:1–17)
  13. Judah's Plea for Benjamin (Genesis 44:18–34)
  14. Judah Becomes Surety for Benjamin (Genesis 44)
  15. A Portrait of Forgiveness (Genesis 45:1–8)
  16. It Is Enough (Genesis 45:9–28)
  17. Prepared to Die (Genesis 46)
  18. God Rescues Egypt (Genesis 47:1–26)
  19. "God Will Be With You" (Genesis 47:27–48:22)
  20. Lion of Judah: When All Is Said and Done (Genesis 49)
  21. God Meant It For Good (Genesis 50)