How many sons did Jacob have? Why did he take the two sons of Joseph to be his children?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Automatic Transcript Generated

Speaker 1

All right.

Speaker 2

So the first question Linus is asking, my question is how many sons of Jacob and why he take two sons of his son Joseph? His children?

Speaker 1

Okay.

Speaker 3

So I think I could clarify this before you answer Tina. There was situation in the Bible, in the book of Genesis which you probably talk about, where Joseph brings his two sons to his father Jacob and Jacob blesses them and adopts them as his children, which has huge ramifications for going forward for who’s the children of Israel. And Tina, I guess. Now answer why, what did Jacob do? What he did?

Speaker 1

Sure. Well, to answer the first part of the question, our friend first asks how many sons did Jacob have? And the answer in the Bible is twelve. If you go to Genesis chapter 35 and verse 22, it says basically and it came to pass when Israel, who was Jacob, because remember Jacob, he wrestled with God for the night and God renamed him Israel because Jacob meant liar. And then when he wrestled with God and admitted who he was, he admitted his name that he was a liar. God said no, now your name is Israel, which means Prince of God. So God renamed him, which was just kind of a beautiful blessing that he gave to him. Speaking when you say Jacob and Israel, it’s the same person. So again, Genesis 35 22 says and it came to pass when Israel dwelt in that land that Reuben, which was his oldest son, lay with his brother’s Concubine and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve. So again Israel and Jacob are the same person but he had twelve sons and let’s just say his sons were not all perfect and there was definitely some issues with them.

Speaker 1

Very dysfunctional family, very dysfunctional and I mean from basically four different moms. And so whenever you have blended family there’s going to be issues and when there’s sin in the family it definitely keeps things going. And just like you were saying Jay, that’s exactly right. What happened was we read about in Genesis chapter 48, verse five is kind of what happened as far as the story with Jacob basically adopting the two sons of Joseph. And so if you read in Genesis chapter 45, genesis 48, verse five, it reads and now your two sons E Frame and Manassa, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. So Reuben and Simeon were the older sons of Jacob. So Jacob is basically saying look Joseph, I know you’re like the second to youngest son, but you are so valuable to me that I want to adopt your sons just as my own and basically give them a blessing. Now the thing with this is kind of why did he do that? Now it’s kind of interesting. At least this is my take on the story.

Speaker 1

When you look in the line of it’s, abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they always talk about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Now, what happened with Abraham, his sin was that, remember, God promised him a son, but he kind of took things into his own hands and he ended up having a son with his wife’s handmaid, who was Ishmael. And eventually, God did give him a son, Isaac. But Abraham favored that son. And so there was always problems between Ishmael and Isaac, so much so that he had to send Isaac and his mom away. And basically, Ishmael and his descendants gave problems to God’s people for generations to come. And so it was that favoritism that you see with Abraham, with his son Isaac and Ishmael. And so that kind of got passed down. When you look at Isaac, he had the two sons, Jacob and Esau, and he favored Esau, but mom kind of favored Jacob. And so just this playing favorites caused this rivalry and just problems in the family. And then again, you see now Jacob playing favorites, which he had already played favorites with Joseph before and even Benjamin. But now, again, playing favorites with Joseph and blessing only his sons and adopting them.

Speaker 1

So why he did that, it’s just this problem in the family, just that kind of got, I feel, passed down in generations of playing favorites with your kids. And that never plays out well.

Speaker 3

And what’s interesting, too, is he blesses Joseph’s younger son, just like Jacob was the younger. So he also switches things there, too. But, I mean, we presume it’s through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that was what God had wanted. Jacob couldn’t force God to bless someone. God wouldn’t want to.

Speaker 1

No, absolutely. But at the same time, Isaac blessed Jacob, and he wasn’t supposed to. But we know that Jacob, in a sense, was the more spiritual one who really wanted the birthright, but he went about it the wrong way. Exactly.

Speaker 3

He didn’t trust God to work it out.

Speaker 1

Yeah, exactly. And God is so merciful in that he sometimes works out his will, even with our mistakes. But I just think at least what I always get out of these stories is just God has a perfect will and then he has a permissive will, which is exactly things that have been perfectly there wouldn’t have been so many problems. And the lesson we can glean from this is if we trust God to do things perfectly, he will. But even if we’ve made mistakes, that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. We can always turn to God, and God can make things right in the end. So anyways, that’s my two cent. I don’t know if you have anything else to say.

Speaker 3

Yeah, I mean, I would say that why he blessed Joseph. Yeah, Joseph was his favorite son. But if we look at things, I think he was also, in God’s eyes, the favorite of the children. And then God blesses Joseph with even though he had two sons, each one becomes a separate tribe of Israel or they refer to it as a half tribe and they just get that big. And later on Joseph actually does bless all twelve of the sons. Actually some almost get like a curse in their blessing. But Joseph, I think is referred to as like the prince amongst his brothers. And so I think I see that as God blessing Joseph for his faithfulness in his life and giving him such a huge prosperous family. But it’s really interesting because the birthright always followed or seemed to come with being the priest of the family. And so Jacob died and then Joseph probably became the next priest of God, probably. Or at least for that family. But then later on we don’t see that. It just fizzles out.

Speaker 1

Yeah.

Speaker 3

To me that’s a really interesting thing to figure out. And why did that happen?

Speaker 1

Yeah, no, for sure. And I definitely see in the story of this lineage of Abraham because obviously he’s like the father of our faith because he believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. So it’s by faith that he saved and it’s just kind of this example of faith in God and that’s really what matters with God, not physical things. And I see that throughout the lineage because with Jacob and Esau, esau was the oldest brother. Physically he should have got the birthright, but spiritually he wasn’t capable of it. He didn’t even want it. And so God did allow Jacob to get the birthright. And same thing with Ishmael and Isaac. I mean, technically Ishmael was older and he should have, but he didn’t because he was spiritually it wasn’t for him. And you see that again with Jacob’s twelve sons. Reuben, what a mess.

Speaker 3

I mean, that was such a big point you made there. Which is so right. It’s interesting because yeah, Jacob sounds like would have given it to Ruben if he hadn’t done such a horrible thing.

Speaker 1

Yeah, he did some pretty bad stuff. He was a murderer and player and all kinds of things. And I think that God says not by strength, not by might, but by my spirit, says the Lord. And so again, God is about who’s humble, who’s more Christ like and that’s who God, he who’s least in the world will be greatest in the kingdom. And so we always need to remember that. We need to be humble. And it’s not about how things look or physical thing like oh, my dad is a pastor or whatever, that doesn’t really matter. It’s about you and your heart and being humbled.

Speaker 3

And that’s so huge. Yeah. God is no respecter of persons. I know you quote that all the time and that’s just so true. It’s not how we’re born that matters in God’s eyes.

Speaker 1

Yeah, exactly.

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In His Service
BibleAsk Team

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