In comparison to the rather longish post from last time (sorry for that), I don’t have much to say about this chapter. A few quirky things. Even though this is supposedly 17 years later, this seems to be the first time Jacob has met Ephraim and Manasseh. Again, I see the chronology as suspicious.
Jacob chooses to bless the younger son, Ephraim, more than the older one, in spite of Joseph gently trying to correct his old man. I tried looking at a little of the scholarly take on why Ephraim and Manasseh get treated as two separate tribes here rather than Joseph getting his own tribe, and what midrashim there are on it, but it’s all very conflicted. I’ll have to talk a little more about theories about the tribes when we get to the Conquest Narratives (however long that will take – months, at the rate I’m going).
As it is here, it reads like Jacob just knows the pattern. There’s an elder son (Ishmael, Esau) who gets blessed by God but not as blessed as the younger son (Isaac, Jacob). Jacob’s just trying to get it out of the way without anyone being banished to the desert or stealing someone’s birthright.
God does seem to favor younger siblings. Moses is younger than Aaron, and David is the youngest of, what, seven? It’s very un-Confucian of him, where the older brother is always above the younger.
I’m pushing for any more thoughts on this chapter. Hopefully I’ll have more with Jacob’s lengthy blessing of his sons.
The Japanese: furuiokosu “to muster” (v 2) han’ei suru “to prosper” (v 4), sazukeru “to confer, to grant” (v 9), kousa suru “to cross” (v 14), kobamu “to refuse” (v 19).
I’m partly pleased that I had so few words, but partly frustrated in that a few of them are words I know I’ve already encountered but forgot. Baby steps.