THE YOUNGER GREATER THAN THE ELDER
LYNNE GRAY, Latter Rain Magazine, Australia
WE know from Genesis how successful Joseph was in Egypt and of his close alliance with Pharaoh. Jacob eventually had to take his entire family down to dwell in Egypt due to famine. In due course Jacob (Israel) aged, and wanted to pass his blessing and birthright to his heir. The word birthright used in the Bible comes from the Hebrew word 'bekorah' meaning status of a first-born. Due to various indiscretions the structure of the sons of Israel had changed, and Israel chose to pass the blessing and birthright on to Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
“And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward 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 firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." - (Genesis 48:13-16).
And so the first-born status was altered whereby Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh were blessed by their grandfather, but with this blessing Jacob also swapped the boys positions - the elder became the younger and the younger the heir of the birthright. Thus Ephraim the younger became the elder. This process should sound familiar for it is similar to what happened between Reuben and Joseph, and Jacob and his brother Esau.
Symbolically there must be something here - the younger son overtaking the elder son. Joseph, in particular is often seen as a type of Jesus. Remember that Adam is referred to as the son of God “... which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God” (Luke 3:38). In I Corinthians 15:45 Paul tells us, “the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam (Jesus Christ) was made a quickening spirit.” Thus Adam is referred to as the “son of God” and Jesus as the latter (younger) son of God, which must make Adam the first son and Jesus the second. So as with Esau and Jacob, Reuben and Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim we see a type of the first and second Adam where the younger son (Jesus) gains the birthright and the blessing over the elder (Adam); Jacob, Joseph and Ephraim being figurative of He who was to come, Jesus Christ. Also, in all cases cited, the ones that lost the birthright did so from their own actions (Adam, Esau, Reuben) -the focus was not where it should be (on God).
(Excerpted from: "Israel - A History" and reproduced from The Kingdom Digest with permission)
Back To Archive Contents