Genesis 48:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 48:8, NIV: When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, 'Who are these?'

Genesis 48:8, ESV: When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?”

Genesis 48:8, KJV: And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?

Genesis 48:8, NASB: When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, 'Who are these?'

Genesis 48:8, NLT: Then Jacob looked over at the two boys. 'Are these your sons?' he asked.

Genesis 48:8, CSB: When Israel saw Joseph's sons, he said, "Who are these? "

What does Genesis 48:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph has come to his dying father, Jacob, once again called by his God-given name Israel (Genesis 35:9–11). Joseph brings his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 41:50–52) to receive a blessing. Jacob's response has been significant. Jacob has announced he is claiming Joseph's two oldest sons as his own, replacing Reuben and Simeon as the oldest. The result will be that Joseph and his family will receive the birthright and a double portion of the family inheritance (Genesis 48:1–7).

So near to death, Jacob's eyesight is failing (Genesis 48:10). When he spots Ephraim and Manasseh, he asks who they are. At first, this might seem surprising, since Jacob has just been talking about them. However, it's likely Jacob wants Joseph to formally identify them before he confers the blessing.

There's a deep irony in Jacob's question. He knows full well the blessing is irrevocable—and understands the chance that a blind man could be tricked over it (Genesis 27:30–37). It was Jacob who conspired against his own father, Isaac, using the old man's blindness to steal a blessing meant for his older brother, Esau.

This adds to the parallels between Jacob and his father Isaac. Isaac, too, had been blind, requiring him to ask who had come to him (Genesis 27:18–19). Jacob, in his case, had lied, claiming to be his older brother. Fortunately, Joseph has no plans to deceive.