Jacob, His Sons, and the Angel

A few random thoughts on Vayechi...

Genesis 47:28 Jacob was 147 years old when he died, which means he was seventy-seven years old when he married Leah and Rachel. Jewish tradition says that they were twins, fourteen years old, when they first met Jacob and twenty-one years old when they married him. They were certainly younger than thirty. He must have been a pretty spry old man, that's all I can say.

Jacob's age at death147
Years in Egypt-17
Years of famine before he came to Egypt-2
Years of plenty-7
Joseph's age when he stood before Pharaoh-30
Years of marriage before Joseph's birth-14
Jacob's age at marriage77

(See here for a little more detailed timeline of Jacob's life.)

Genesis 48:1-20 Reuben and Simeon had substantially failed their father. Jacob chose to pass over them and bestow the blessing of Abraham onto Joseph's two sons, especially Ephraim. Their names were a prophecy of the future of the northern kingdom of Israel. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, because God caused him to forget his people. He named the second Ephraim, because God blessed him doubly in his exile in Egypt. After the Assyrians scattered the northern tribes, they forgot their identity. Some of them kept a few odd traditions of their ancestors, but they forgot that they were Israelites and were assimilated into the nations. While in exile, God has blessed them and multiplied them beyond the numbering of men. But God knows who they are and will call them back to Israel when the time is right.

Genesis 48:16 What angel can redeem anyone from all evil? On one level guardian angels protect us from harm, but no ordinary angel has the power to transfer Abraham's blessing. Jacob had in mind another messenger, who would redeem all mankind from ultimate adversity.

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