Genesis 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!
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