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Joshua spoke to the House of Joseph. It is very significant that "the house of Joseph" is mentioned to identify Ephraim and Manasseh. These are, as mentioned, the two sons of the great Joseph. No man ever lived a more exemplary life of faith, hope, and courage than did this man. He was a trailblazer. To be of "the house of Joseph," to say, "Joseph is my father" was enough to hush a crowd, inspire awe, and give enemies pause. The "House of Joseph" was a noble house filled with enormous potential, and destined for greatness. No doubt, the two original brothers carried the name proudly and passed to succeeding generations a great and grand tradition that was strong in affirming God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness to keep His promises.
This brings us back to our earlier question: Of the two sons, do you know who is the firstborn? It turns out that the answer is one of those exceptions to my earlier "law of the firstborn," and "who leads the list?" theory. When Joseph’s father Jacob was dying, he brought his two young sons to their grandfather for his blessing. His words would have more weight than a sentimental gesture of wishing good things to come to them. They were spoken with the heavy anointing of God’s authority. They were heavy with prophetic significance. Here’s the account of that historic meeting.
"And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s (i.e., Jacob’s) left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him.
"Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn.
"And he blessed Joseph, and said: ’God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.’
"Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he book hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.
"And Joseph said to his father, ’Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn;
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