Everybody likes reunions, as they are a fun time to re-unite with old friends and share memories of the past. You remember the good times, and sometimes the bad times, and reflect on how it all worked together for good.
You may notice in this chapter that Jacob is now called "Israel". This reflects Genesis 32, when Jacob wrestled with God and lived. When Jacob grabbed his brother's heal when coming out of the womb, his name meant "deciever". But when Jacob wrestled with God, God blessed him by naming him Israel, which meant "he struggles with God and still lives." And this is the same name that Jewish people have called their state today. Jacob's 12 sons represented the 12 tribes of God, who went from Canaan to Egypt because of the famine. Then God raised up Moses, Jacob's great, great grandson, who delivered them from the Egyptians at the Red Sea and led them back into Canaan.
But today Jacob upon being reunited with Joseph, blesses Joseph and his two boys, Ephraim and Manessah. But Jacob puts his had on Ephraim's head instead of Manasseh's who was the older brother. Joseph notices the mistake and tries to correct his father. But Jacob refused saying, "Manasseh too will become a people and become great. But his younger brother will become greater and his descendants will become a group of nations." These would become the nations that went back into the promised land.
Isn't it ironic that Jacob came out of the womb grasping his brother Esau's heal, and that is why he is called the "supplanter". Later when they were older and their Father Issac was about to die, Jacob deceived his dad when he was old and blind, by putting hair on his body to look feel and smell like his brother. Issac mistook Jacob from Esua and blessed Jacob. Understandably Esau was mad. Now Jacob blesses the younger right before he dies as well.
There is great power in the blessing. When a young man asks for a family's daughter in marriage the father says, "You have our blessing." Today in church we still use the Aaronic blessing to end our church services. We bless the congregation as they go out saying, "May The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit". Who in your life are you a blessing to? Who can you bless today in Jesus' name? God bless you and your family!
15 Then he blessed Joseph and said,
“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life to this day,
16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
—may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
on the earth.”
17 When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”
19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.”