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Bible question (For Jews, Christians, and those with Biblical knowledge)

In Genesis 48, when Jacob (Israel) blesses Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, he crosses his hands. Traditionally, the right hand was supposed to bless the elder son, being the "greater blessing" and the left hand the younger. Joseph presented his son's to his father with the elder (Manasseh) on the side to receive the right-hand blessing, and Ephraim on the other. Jacob crossed his hands, and placed his left hand on the elder's head - Joseph tried to correct him, and became upset, but Jacob explained that Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh and the right-hand blessing was for him, and he proceeded.

My question: how bound is God to which hand was used? If Jacob had done it the other way, would the course of history have been changed? Is God beholden to fulfill the blessings as spoken, or is Jacob merely relaying what God already revealed to him? What does this passage mean to you, or what were you taught about it?


Asked by Collinsky at 3:38 PM on May. 28, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 10 (376 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (13)
  • I agree. It was a prophesy. It was revealed to Jacob that Ephraim would be greater. This is how he had to pray then. Prayer is not about asking God to accomplish our will, but prayer should rather be a desire for our hearts to be in line with God's will. "May Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

    I also think it is so interesting, because when Jacob's father Isaac was dying he tricked his father out of his brother's blessing by pretending to be his older brother. His name was Jacob, which meant deciever. But God later changed his name to Israel which means "governed by God." So even in his final blessings, he does not make the mistake that his father made, he knows that he does what he does because he is now "governed by God."

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 4:21 PM on May. 28, 2009

  • I am a firm believer in the concept that God has a set plan and we can reveal it as you suggested.
    Biblical writers say in thier writings "This is not from me, but from God through me."
    We are messangers, so in doing what he did Jacob was revealing God's plan ahead of time.

    No man can change the will of God, can you imagine how many fathers back then did it the other way only to have the younger son turn out greater? Jacob's actions only show his connection with God.

    Answer by amber710 at 3:46 PM on May. 28, 2009

  • My assumption on this, is that Jacob was doing what God revealed to him. God would not be bound by a man's decision. Just my $.02.

    Answer by corbysmom531 at 3:48 PM on May. 28, 2009

  • Great answer Amber! God bless you. And, I agree, nothing we do is going to change God's plans or His will for our lives, or the world.

    Answer by stvmen88 at 3:48 PM on May. 28, 2009

  • I agree with amber.

    Answer by NovemberLove at 4:00 PM on May. 28, 2009

  • "I also think it is so interesting, because when Jacob's father Isaac was dying he tricked his father out of his brother's blessing by pretending to be his older brother. His name was Jacob, which meant deciever." Thanks for bringing this up, Cinnamon, because I was thinking about this example too - where it is assumed by the people involved that how they bless, and who gets blessed by whom, has a great impact on the outcome.

    Answer by Collinsky at 4:27 PM on May. 28, 2009

  • What is interesting though is even though Isaac was decieved when he was giving his blessing. It was all along the choice of God to bless Jacob. Even though Jacob totally sinned against his dad and brother when he was getting the blessing.

    It was prophesied even before the boys were born that the boys would always struggle with each other. Remember that before the twins were born, when they were striving, fighting with each other in Rebekah's womb. She could not figure out all of the activity. She prayed and God said, "There are two nations striving in your womb". They are diverse from each other and before they were ever born, God said, "And the elder shall serve the younger".

    God knew their nature before they were even born that Jacob could be transformed and he would be more spiritual in nature, while Esau was more of a manly man/materialist hunter type guy--not interested in spiritual things. cont.

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 4:36 PM on May. 28, 2009

  • Isaac really prefered Esau, he wanted to bless him. They probably had more in common. Jacob probably had more in common with his mom, and that is why she schemed to get him blessed. In the end, it isn't man's schemes that bring God's blessings. But God's plans are made for our lives before we are born. He is so amazing that He can even work around all the dumb things we do to accomplish His perfect will.

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 4:38 PM on May. 28, 2009

  • Proverbs 16:9 says: "A man's heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps." I agree with Amber and Cinnamon.

    Answer by Lexylex at 6:01 PM on May. 28, 2009

  • good stuff!

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 8:52 PM on May. 28, 2009