Abraham Unconditional Covenant, (Part 2)

Abraham Unconditional Covenant, (Part 2)

Now, Picking up from last time.  We come to the question, who did Jacob (Israel – Remember Jacob name was changed to Israel) give the Blessing and the Inheritance to?

What did we learn last time?  Think about last week.

  • Abraham was given an Unconditional Covenant by God, one way
  • We covered Inheritance and Birthright to the oldest son.
  • Abraham was given promises from God, includes blessings and inheritance.
  • We found this Unconditional Covenant was passed on to his descendants
  • Descendants will take possession of the gates of those who hate them
  • All the nations of the earth shall be blessed
  • Unconditional Covenant went to Isaac and then to Jacob
  • Jacob name was changed to Israel

Jacob to Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations

Now, Picking up from last time.  We come to the question, who did Jacob (Israel – Remember Jacob name was changed to Israel) give the Blessing and the Inheritance to?

Now, as Jacob was growing old, it was time for him to pass on the inheritance and blessings to his first born son. 

Who was the first born of Jacob and Leah? 

Genesis 35:23-26 the sons of Leah were Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun;  (24)  the sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin;  (25)  the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maidservant, were Dan and Naphtali;  (26)  and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maidservant, were Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Padan Aram.  {Jacob had 12 Sons}

Since, Reuben was the first born son, he should receive it.  The Scriptures tells us.

Reuben lost his inheritance and blessings because of incest with Bilhah, Rachel’s maidservant

Genesis 35:22 And it happened, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel (Jacob) heard about it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:

Genesis 49:3 “Reuben, you’re my first born, my strength, and the first fruit of my vitality. You excel in rank and excel in power.

Genesis 49:4 Unstable as water, you shall not excel, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it— He went up to my couch.  {Future prophecy about Reuben}

1 Chronicles 5:1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel—he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright;

1 Chronicles 5:2 yet Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came a ruler, although the birthright was Joseph’s

Joseph did received the Inheritance, birthright and Blessings

This is the verse that started me to wonder about the subject, about Blessings.

I found a confusing verse in the book of Hebrews, the faith chapter,

Hebrews 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Why would the Apostle Paul add this to the faith chapter about blessing Joseph two sons and his staff.  If you ask anyone today, Judah received the blessing.

Interesting, staff means: a cane or a baton of royalty): – rod, scepter, staff.

I ask myself why would Jacob give the main blessing to each of Joseph’s sons and not to Judah?  We know this was done by the direction of the Lord God while having in his hand, his staff or scepter which was the symbol of Jacob office and authority, as the head person of his family.

I knew about the story of Jacob crossing his hands, but did not put two and two together. 

Even though Judah became prominent among his relatives—that is, the Commander-in-chief will be his descendant—nevertheless we read that the right of the firstborn went to Joseph.  

So, the rights of the firstborn did go to Joseph and not Judah, which is the Inheritance and Blessings and the Unconditional Covenant that was given to Abraham.

Judah did receive the staff or scepter from Jacob.  Jesus came through the loins of Judah.

We are told,

Genesis 49:8-10 “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you.  (9)  Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? 

(10)  The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.  {Lion is Judah symbol}

Scepter leave Judah

The term “scepter” refers to their tribal identity and the right to apply and enforce Mosaic Laws and adjudicate capital offenses and enforce the Mosaic Law upon its people:  It is the badge of royal power, kingly office.  Basically, scepter was meant to symbolize power over life and death.

The term “Shiloh” was understood by the early rabbis and Talmudic authorities as referring to the Messiah.

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes;

The Jewish leadership authority on capital punishment was replaced by a Roman Governor named Caponius around 6 or 7 AD. Rome established Judea as a province of the Roman Empire.  The legal power of the Sanhedrin was immediately restricted and the adjudication of capital cases was lost.

This was normal Roman policy throughout their empire.  This is why the Jewish Leadership had to go to the Roman Leadership to put Jesus to death, because legally they could not do it.  (Josephus, Wars of the Jews)

When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, they covered their heads with ashes and their bodies with sackcloth, and bemoaned and march around Jerusalem and saying, “Woe unto us for the scepter has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come!” (Babylonian Talmud, Chapter 4, folio 37)

This quote from the Talmud bears out the significance of this change in Jewish thought.

The Jewish Leadership was horrified and thought God had failed to keep His promise.  The scepter had, indeed, been removed from Judah, but to them the Shiloh had not come. 

While the Jews wept in the streets of Jerusalem, what they didn’t know a young son of a carpenter was alive and growing up in Nazareth.

Indeed, “Shiloh” had come!

The Messiah, Jesus was to come from Judah and Judah was to carry the staff and was to keep the written Word of the Old Testament

Now we know why Joseph two sons were blessed with the birthright while Judah prevailed above his brethren and was given the right to rule.  Both Judah and Joseph were given a different type of responsibility from the Lord God.

What blessings and inheritance were the two sons of Joseph were to receive?  As I dug deeper into this question, a number of answers came that I was not expecting.   

Jacob told Joseph, Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh

Genesis 48:1-4 Some time later, somebody informed Joseph, “Your father is ill!” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him to visit Jacob. (2) As soon as Jacob was informed, “Look! Your son Joseph has come to visit you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up in bed.

(3) Jacob reminded Joseph, “God Almighty revealed himself to me at Luz in Canaan and blessed me. (4) He told me, ‘Pay attention! I’m going to make you fruitful and numerous. I’m going to build you into a vast nation of people and then I’ll give this land to your descendants for an eternal possession.’ 

Genesis 48:5-6 “You have two sons who were born to you in Egypt before I came to be with you, whom I now take as my own. Ephraim and Manasseh are mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are. (6) Your descendants are to be reckoned as yours, but are to be referred to among the names of their brothers in their respective inheritances.

Jacob just adopted Joseph two sons as his own

Jacob gave the birthright to Joseph by “adopting” Ephraim and Manasseh to the rank of his firstborn sons, thus giving a double portion to Joseph. They thus replaced Reuben and Simeon, Jacob’s first two sons, born to Leah.

I knew about the story about Jacob crossing his hands and putting it on the two boys and blessing them, not realizing it was the blessings of a father to the first born son that Paul covered in the faith chapter.


We saw that the name of Jacob was changed to Israel and this became very important to the family of Jacob.

Joseph said to his father,

Genesis 48:7-9 “Now as for me, Rachel died after I arrived in Canaan from Paddan, much to my sorrow. While I was on my journey to Ephrathah (also known as Bethlehem), I buried her there.”

(8) Just then, Israel saw Joseph’s sons and asked, “Who are these?” (9) “These are my sons,” Joseph replied. “God gave them to me here in Egypt.” “Please bring them close to me,” Jacob said, “so I can bless them.

The Scriptures at this point is not using Jacob, but now start using the name Israel.  In spiritual matters the Scriptures uses Israel name.

Genesis 48:10-13 Now Israel’s eyesight had become poor from age. Because he couldn’t see well, Joseph brought them close to him, and Israel kissed them both and embraced them. (11) Then he told Joseph, “I never thought I’d see you again, and now God has allowed me to see your children as well!”

(12) Joseph took them off his knees and then bowed low with his face to the ground. (13) Then he brought them both close to his father, placing Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right.

Genesis 48:14-15 But Israel stretched out his right hand, laying it on Ephraim’s head (he was the younger son) and laying his left hand on Manasseh‘s head (even though Manasseh was the first born).

(15) Then Israel blessed Joseph by saying: “May the God in whose presence my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has continued shepherding me my whole life even until today,

Genesis 48:16 the angel who has been rescuing me from all sorts of evil, bless these young men. May my name continue to live on within them, including the names of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac, and may they grow into a vast multitude throughout the earth.”

Israel just said Let my name be named upon them

The blessings the Joseph boys received.

Let my name be named upon them

May they be called by my name:  These two boys, Ephraim and Manasseh, are to be called by the name of Israel. 

This explains why the Northern Kingdom is called Israel and sometime Ephraim. 

Ephraim was put ahead of Manasseh, his older brother.  The Southern Kingdom, is called the House of Judah, Jerusalem or Jews.

The names of my father’s Abraham and Isaac:  This mean that the two boys take on the names of Abraham and Isaac with the promises and blessings.

May they increase greatly upon the earth:  The Northern Kingdom, house of Israel did greatly increase before they were taken captivity after 200 plus years. 

In Jacob final comments to his sons, he told Joseph,

Genesis 48:17-19  But Joseph observed that his father had laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head. That displeased him, so he grabbed his father’s hand and started to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. (18) “No, father, this one is the first born. Place your right hand on his head.”

(19) But his father refused. “I know,” he said. “I know. He’s going to produce a large nation, and he’s going to be very great. However, his younger brother will become even greater than he, and his descendants will become a multitude of nations.”

There it is again, Manasseh family will be a great nation, but Ephraim family will be greater than Manasseh with many nations.

Genesis 48:20 That very day, Jacob blessed them with this blessing: “By you Israel will extend this blessing: ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!'” By doing this, he placed Ephraim before Manasseh.

Years later Ephraim became a leading tribe in the Northern Kingdom, much superior to the tribe of Manasseh, as Jacob had predicted.

Today, the Jewish people have a Shabbat Blessing for a Son

The traditional blessing said for a son asks God to make him like Ephraim and Menashe, who were two of Joseph’s sons in the Bible.

English: May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe

Transliteration: Ye’simcha Elohim ke-Ephraim ve hee-Menashe

Jacob blesses them, expressing his hope that they become role models for the Israel people in years to come. 

Many have wondered why Jacob chooses to bless his grandsons before blessing his 12 sons. Traditionally, the answer has been that Jacob chose to bless them because they are the first set of brothers who did not fight with each other.

All the brothers who came before them in the Bible – Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers – deal with issues of sibling rivalry. By contrast, Ephraim and Menashe were friends known for their good deeds. And what parent wouldn’t wish for peace among their children?   {later, they did fight against each other as a people}

Psalms 133:1 “How good and pleasant is it for brothers to sit peacefully together.”

Genesis 48:21-22 Then Israel told Joseph, “Pay attention! I’m about to die, but God will be with you. He’ll bring you back to the land that belongs to your ancestors. (22) I’m assigning you one portion more than your brothers from the land that I confiscated from the control of the Amorites in battle.    {my sword and bow}

Jacob Blesses His Sons – verses never covered today

Genesis 49:1-2 After this, Jacob called his sons together and told them, “Assemble yourselves around me so I can tell you all what is going to happen to you in the last days. (2) “Gather together and listen, you children of Jacob. Listen to your father Israel.”

Last Days, from that time to right before Jesus Returns to the earth

All 13 sons are told what they will be like at the end of the age

Genesis 49:3-4 “Reuben, you are my first born, my might, the first sign of my strength. You excel in rank, honor and excel in power. (4) But you’re as undisciplined as a roaring river, so eventually you won’t succeed, because you got in your father’s bed, defiled it, and then he approached my couch.”

Genesis 49:5-7 “Simeon and Levi are brothers; their violent weapon is their swords. (6) I’ll never join their council; I’ll never enter their assembly. In their anger they committed murder and lamed cattle just for fun. (7) Their anger is cursed, because it is so fierce, as is their fury, because it is so cruel. I will scatter them throughout Jacob’s territory and disperse them throughout Israel.” 

Genesis 49:8-12 “Your brothers will praise you, Judah. Your hand will be at the throat of your enemies, and your father’s children will bow down to you. (9) Judah is a lion cub. My son, you have gone up from the prey. Crouching like a lion, he lies down, Like a lioness, who would dare rouse him?

(10) The scepter will never depart from Judah, nor a ruler’s staff from between his feet, until the One comes, who owns them both, and to him will belong the allegiance of nations. (11) Binding his donkey to the vine and his mare’s foal to its thick tendrils, he will wash his garments in wine and his robe in the juice of grapes. (12) His eyes are darker than wine and his teeth whiter than milk.”   {warfare Jesus wages to establish His Kingdom}

Genesis 49:13 “Zebulun will settle down near the sea shore and become a safe haven for shipping, bordering Sidon.”

Genesis 49:14-15 “Issachar is a strong donkey, resting between sheepfolds. (15) He observed that his resting place was excellent, and that the land was pleasant, he bent down, picked up his burdens, and became a slave at forced labor.”  {rather be a slave than undertake fight for liberty}

Genesis 49:16-18 “Dan will judge his people as one of Israel’s tribes. (17) Dan will be a snake on the path, a viper on the road that snaps at the heels of horses, causing their riders to fall off. (18) “LORD, I’m waiting for your salvation.”

Genesis 49:19 “Bandits will raid Gad, but Gad will raid them back.”

Genesis 49:20 “Asher’s food will be delicious; he will be a provider of delicacies fit for royalty.”

Genesis 49:21 “Naphtali is a free running deer who produces eloquent literature.” 

Gen 49:22-26 “Joseph is a fruitful vine, A fruitful vine by a well; His branches run over the wall.  (23)  With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.  The archers have bitterly grieved him, Shot at him and hated him.  (24)  But his bow remained in strength, And the arms of his hands were made strong By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel),

(25)  By the God of your father who will help you, And by the Almighty who will bless you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath {oceans}, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.  (26)  The blessings of your father Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers. 

Genesis 49:27 “Benjamin is a vicious like a wolf; In the morning he shall devour the prey, And at night he shall divide the spoil.”

Genesis 49:28 That’s how Israel blessed these twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father told them when he pronounced his blessing for them, blessing each one with a blessing suitable for them.

Over period of time, David became King and had a son, Solomon.  King Solomon son became King and laid heavy taxes on the people.

We will continue the story next time

Leave a Reply