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JACOB BLESSING EPHRAIM AND
JACOB falling sick, Joseph went to see him, and took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, in order that he and they might receive the patriarch's blessing. He found his father in bed, but the old man rose upon hearing of his entrance, and felt so far revived as to be able to descant upon the glorious promises which God had made unto Abraham, concerning the land of Canaan coming into the possession of his posterity. He concluded by telling Joseph that his two boys, born in a foreign country of an alien mother, and who, according to the usual order of inheritance, could only claim a minute subdivision of the promised inheritance, should be placed in the rank of his own sons, and be made the heads of two distinct tribes. When Jacob was informed of the presence of his grandchildren, "Joseph took them both, Ephraim on his right hand towards Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand towards Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the first-born." When Jacob, in giving the blessing to his grandchildren, crossed his hands, placing his right hand on the head of the youngest, Joseph thought that he had erred, on account of his blindness, and was about to rectify the imagined mistake; but the venerable patriarch briefly told him that what he did was according to Divine appointment, as the younger boy was designed by the Almighty's will to receive the prior nomination, and a more considerable blessing than the elder. Joseph instantly bowed to the Divine determination, and his sons received the blessing in that order to which God directed the venerable hierophant. Shortly after this the aged man summoned the rest of his sons, gave them severally his parting benediction, then "gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost."