“After this Joseph was told, ‘Your father is ill.’ So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. When Jacob was told, ‘Your son Joseph has come to you,’ he summoned his strength and sat up in bed. Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty (El Shaddai) appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, `I am going to make you fruitful, and increase your numbers. I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your offspring after you for a perpetual possession.’ Therefore your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine. Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are. The offspring born to you after them shall be yours. They shall be recorded under the names of their brothers with regard to their inheritance. For when I came from Paddan, Rachel, to my sorrow, died in the land of Canaan on the way, while there was still some distance to go to Ephrath. I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).’”
Joseph was told that his father was ill. Joseph then took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and went to Jacob, who had renewed strength when they came. Jacob explained that in the land of Luz, El Shaddai had appeared to him and promised him perpetual offspring. Jacob then claimed the two sons of Joseph as his just like Reuben and Simeon. They would share in his inheritance. This seems strange since Joseph had much more wealth than Jacob. He explained that Joseph’s mother Rachel was buried near Bethlehem.
“When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, ‘Who are these?’ Joseph said to his father, ‘They are my sons, whom God has given me here.’ He said, ‘Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.’ Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see well. So Joseph brought them near him. He kissed them and embraced them. Israel said to Joseph, ‘I did not expect to see your face, and here God has let me see your children also.’ Then Joseph removed them from his father’s knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them near him. But Israel stretched out his right hand laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the firstborn. He blessed Joseph, and said, ‘The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys. In them let my name be perpetuated, and the name of my ancestors, Abraham and Isaac. Let them grow into a multitude on the earth.’”
As Israel, instead of Jacob, wanted to know who the two young boys were, he blessed them, saying to Joseph that he had not expected to see his face, but now he sees his grandchildren. Apparently the children were not that old, but they both ere over twenty years old since they were born before the famine. There then is some sort of adoption ceremony with Joseph holding the children in his right and left hands, but Israel crossed his hand so that his right hand was on the younger Ephraim. He blessed both the children so that his name and that of his father and grandfather might be perpetuated.
“When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him. So he took his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to his father, ‘Not so, my father! Since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand upon his head.’ But his father refused, and said, ‘I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.’ So he blessed them that day, saying, ‘By you Israel will invoke blessings, saying, God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.’ So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘I am about to die, but God will be with you, and will bring you again to the land of your ancestors. I now give to you one portion more than to your brothers, the portion that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.’”
Then Joseph and his father got into a fight about how the oldest son should get the right hand blessing. Israel said that the younger brother will be greater than the oldest as he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. In fact, he wants them to get an extra portion of the inheritance, so that Ephraim and Manasseh come to be treated as equal to the other 11 brothers. Besides they will also get an inheritance from Joseph. Israel wants them to return to the land of their ancestors, Canaan.