Genesis 48:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 48:14, NIV: But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim's head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh's head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.

Genesis 48:14, ESV: And Israel stretched out his right hand and 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).

Genesis 48:14, KJV: 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 firstborn.

Genesis 48:14, NASB: But Israel reached out his right hand and placed it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn.

Genesis 48:14, NLT: But Jacob crossed his arms as he reached out to lay his hands on the boys' heads. He put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, though he was the younger boy, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, though he was the firstborn.

Genesis 48:14, CSB: But Israel stretched out his right hand and put it on the head of Ephraim, the younger, and crossing his hands, put his left on Manasseh's head, although Manasseh was the firstborn.

What does Genesis 48:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

God met with Jacob and renamed Him Israel (Genesis 35:9–11). Years later, Jacob is about to pronounce his official blessing on two of his grandsons (Genesis 48:1–12). Genesis seems to describe Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh as being lined up three across, bowed before Jacob's lap (Genesis 48:13). The previous verse described the care with which Joseph placed Ephraim, the younger son, on his own right side so that Jacob's left hand would be on Ephraim's head. Joseph placed Manasseh on his left side facing Jacob so that Jacob's right hand would be on the older son's head, indicating that he was receiving the best of the blessing.

In doing so, Joseph would have been helping his blind father Jacob to get the blessing right, according to custom and legal standards world of their era. However, Jacob crosses his hands. He puts his right hand on the younger son's head, and he puts his left hand on the older one. From his perspective, Joseph will see this as a serious misstep (Genesis 48:17). After all, this blessing will carry the weight of the blessing of God, in addition to conferring legal ramifications for the inheritance. In addition, the blessing, once given, will be irrevocable. After the blessing is given, Joseph will object (Genesis 48:17). Jacob will reveal it was no mistake; he knew what he was doing and did it intentionally.