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What did Jacob mean when he said to Joseph, "I have given you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword"?



      

Genesis 48:22

ESV - 22 Moreover, I have given to you rather than to your brothers one mountain slope that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.

Clarify (1) Share Report Asked February 18 2014 1460160737 Joseph Umaru

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Jacob had 12 sons. Before Jacob's death, he allocated an inheritance in the land of Canaan to each of his sons, except Joseph, Levi and Simeon. (Genesis 49). Levi and Simeon had disgraced Jacob by murdering their sister Dinah's boyfriend together with all the men in his village. (Genesis 34). So in his last words, Jacob had decreed that they would be scattered among their brothers' territories.
“Simeon and Levi are brothers; Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; Let not my honor be united to their assembly; For in their anger they slew a man, And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob And scatter them in Israel. (Genesis 49:5-7 NKJV).

We see 400 years later that the tribe of Levi was not given territory of its own, but were rather given places of refuge in territories of the other tribes where they ministered as priests while surviving on the offerings brought to the temple and synagogues. The tribe of Simeon was given territory as an enclave in the territory of Judah and over the course of time became more and more insignificant.

Now, Reuben, the first born son had been guilty of sleeping with his father Jacob's concubine. (Genesis 35:22). This disgraceful behaviour made him lose the favour of the first born and this favour was transferred to Joseph in the final blessing given by Jacob. (Genesis 49:4). In the final blessing for Joseph in Genesis 48, Jacob gives a double portion blessing to Joseph by counting his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh as though they were among Jacob's own sons (48:5). Thus Ephraim and Manasseh made up the last 2 of the 12 tribes since there was no territory awarded to Levi and in the name of Joseph. As Jacob predicted in his blessing, the tribe of Ephraim does indeed become great, so much so that sometimes the entire territory of the Northern Kingdom of Israel was sometimes referred to as Ephraim by God through the prophets (Isaiah 7).

For the part where Jacob speaks about Joseph's double portion having been obtained from the Amorite with sword and bow, there is no other mention of these battles in the bible, but using other historical sources, namely the Jewish Midrash (Va Yissa'u) and the Jubilees 34, Jacob and his sons apparently fought against Amorite Kings for control of territory in the land of Canaan. Later we see Moses giving instructions to Eleazar and Joshua that once they enter the Promised Land, they should give Amorite territories to Manasseh (Numbers 32:33&39), thus fulfilling Jacob's decision to bequeath Amorite territory to Joseph.

February 19 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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