Genesis 48:1-11

Talks for Growing Christians

Jacob Adopts Joseph’s Sons

Genesis 48:1-11

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Lesson Number 104

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God controls the unexpected twists and turns of history.
  2. God controls the unexpected blessings and sorrows of life.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s pass on a legacy of faith.


  1. Was Jacob ready to die?
  2. Why did Jacob officially adopt the sons of Joseph as his own?
  3. After the adoption, it would mean that there were thirteen tribes in Israel. Why, then was the land divided up into twelve tribal areas?
  4. Why doesn’t Jacob mention Reuben and Simeon (Genesis 48:5)?
  5. God controls the unexpected twists and turns of history. How did this principle apply to Reuben’s sin?
  6. How was doctrinal point #1 demonstrated a few hundred years later?
  7. Why did Jacob change the name of Benjamin after Rachael died?


  1. Yes. He was trusting the Lord, and he believed in the promises of God.
  2. So they would become tribes in Israel. Instead of a single tribe of Joseph in Israel, there would be two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh.
  3. Because the tribe of Levi had no tribal area. They became the priestly tribe and were situated among the other tribes.
  4. The birthright is being removed from Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn) and Simeon (Jacob’s secondborn), and given to Joseph (the firstborn of Rachael).
  5. God overruled in spite of Reuben’s sin, and Joseph’s sons were given the birthright. See 1 Chronicles 5:1.
  6. A large group of Hebrew slaves in Egypt would actually escape and become one of the greatest nations ever to live on the face of this earth. God overruled the Satanic schemes of Pharaoh to kill off all the male Hebrew babies, and preserved a baby named Moses.
  7. Jacob recognized that God was in control. He changed the name of Benjamin, “son of my sorrow,” to “son of my right hand.”


  1. Is doctrinal point #1 true for individuals as well as for nations?
  2. Rachael died on the way to Bethlehem. Although we may wonder why, God allowed it to happen and He was in control. We, too, have unexpected sorrows in our lives. Do you believe that God is in control of your unexpected sorrows?


  1. Jacob passed on the legacy of faith by being God-centered instead of self-centered. Are you concerned about passing on a legacy of faith?

Key Verses

  • “Jacob said, ‘God Almighty appeared to me...and blessed me (and gave me a promise).’“ Genesis 48:3-4
  • “Bring them to me, and I will bless them.” Genesis 48:9
  • “I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!” Genesis 48:11

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