Joseph is informed that his father is sick. He understands that this sickness will lead to death. He takes both his sons to his sick father, expecting them to receive the blessing of their dying grandfather. Joseph, more than any of his brothers, was full of love for his father. Therefore he has reason to expect special favor from him.
It is a privilege for young people who are just starting their careers in the world to be in contact or to come into contact with their grandparents who have lived with the Lord and are about to leave the world. Old believers can witness the goodness of God and of His ways He has gone with them in His wisdom. That will be a great encouragement for the upcoming generation.
When Israel (verse 2b2When it was told to Jacob, “Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed.) hears that Joseph is coming, he collects his strength and sits up straight in bed. Hearing the name of Joseph gives him strength. As Jacob (verse 33Then Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me,) he begins to tell about the blessing God has given him and the promises made to him. He now wants to pass on the blessing he has received to his offspring.
Jacob deprives Reuben and Simeon of the blessing of the birthright and gives that blessing to Joseph’s sons. For this he adopts both of Joseph’s sons, who were given to him by a pagan woman, to be his own sons (1Chr 5:11Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was 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 he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright.). Reuben has lost the birthright; Jacob himself has bought it and appropriated it for himself with deceit, by pretending to be Esau (Gen 25:31-3331But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.”32Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what [use] then is the birthright to me?”33And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.; 27:1919Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done as you told me. Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.”). The Lord Jesus is also called the Firstborn, because He is worth the title, while the first Adam forfeited it. Jacob first mentions Ephraim.
Jacob is reminded by Joseph’s sons of the death of Rachel, his favorite wife. In her death he learned – in pictures – that everything the flesh relies on must be taken away. God has taken Rachel from him, Rachel whom he wanted to spare at all costs. God also took Joseph and Benjamin from him. But God gives him back Joseph and Benjamin and he even sees Joseph’s sons.
A burial also speaks of new life. The death of Rachel was accompanied by the birth of Benjamin. Bethlehem is the turning point in the life of Jacob, Bethlehem is also the turning point in the history of the people of Israel, because the Lord Jesus, their Messiah, was born there: “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, [Too] little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity” (Mic 5:22“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
[Too] little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”
; Mt 2:11Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,). They don’t see it yet, but they will see it.