What does Genesis 48:20 mean?
ESV: So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying, ‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’” Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.
NIV: He blessed them that day and said, 'In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: 'May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.'' So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
NASB: So he blessed them that day, saying, 'By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying, ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!’?' And so he put Ephraim before Manasseh.
CSB: So he blessed them that day, putting Ephraim before Manasseh when he said, "The nation Israel will invoke blessings by you, saying, 'May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.' "
NLT: So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: 'The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing. They will say, ‘May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh.’' In this way, Jacob put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
KJV: And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
NKJV: So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will bless, saying, ‘May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!’ ” And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
Verse Commentary:
Jacob is giving a deathbed blessing to the two oldest sons of Joseph. In fact, Jacob is giving them the primary blessing. They are being honored even beyond Jacob's naturally-born oldest sons (Genesis 48:1–13). Joseph had been displeased that Jacob had done so with his right hand on the younger son's head instead of the firstborn. Jacob explained to Joseph that he did this intentionally. Though Manasseh will be greatly blessed, his younger brother Ephraim will be even greater and grow into a much larger people (Genesis 48:14–19).

Now Jacob concludes his blessing on the two boys. Both will be greatly blessed. Both will be held up in Israel as an example of God's blessing and prayer for others to be blessed likewise: "May God make you as Ephraim and Manasseh." And yet, the verse ends with one more acknowledgement that Ephraim will be more blessed than his brother Manasseh.
Verse Context:
Genesis 48:1–22 describes the blessing Jacob pronounces over Joseph's oldest two sons. Significantly, Jacob claims Joseph's two oldest sons as his own, ensuring that each will receive a full portion of his inheritance. This means Joseph's family will receive a double portion. Jacob blesses the pair with a prayer for God's blessing in their lives as he himself has experienced it.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 48 describes Jacob's deathbed blessing of Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. In a surprising move, Jacob claims Joseph's two oldest boys as his own. This makes each a full heir. The result is that Joseph's family will receive a double portion of the inheritance. Jacob prays for them to receive many of the blessings God has given to him during his long life. In another twist, Jacob gives greater blessing to the younger of his two grandsons.
Chapter Context:
Despite a long, difficult life, Jacob survives another 17 years after moving to Egypt. The suffering of his son, Joseph, resulted in the salvation of his family line. Now truly at the end of his days, Jacob claims Joseph's oldest two sons as his own—giving them full rights to a portion of his inheritance. The following chapters will include Jacob's remaining blessings for his sons, and a description of the death and burials of both Jacob and Joseph.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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