The Blessings had been given to Abraham, then to Isaac, then to Jacob who was renamed Israel. Jacob (Israel) passed the blessings onto his Twelve Sons who became ancestors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Joseph was one of these sons. Joseph received the right of the firstborn meaning that he received two portions. His two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh were both counted as full-fledged Tribes in their own right. In addition, Joseph received a blessing of his own beyond that inherited through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Jacob blessed Joseph, "The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of JOSEPH, and on the crown of him that was separated from his brethren" (Genesis 49:26).
"unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills" in Hebrew, "ad Ta-avat Givaot Olam" which may also be understood to say "from before the foundation of the most ancient hills" i.e. from the beginning of the world.
The extra blessing to Joseph contained an element conceived from the beginning of time. Joseph is destined to rectify all of humanity.
Joseph had received an additional blessing and task beyond that of the other Tribes and BEYOND that promised to Abraham, Isaac, and the rest of the Tribes.
Joseph is not only in the place of the firstborn with an extra portion; he is also in another dimension.
Joseph is placed both amongst the other tribes and separate from them.
The blessings were concomitant with a Divine Purpose. Of Abraham it was said, "Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. For I know him that he will command his children and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him" (Genesis 18:18-19).
The task of performing "justice and judgment" after becoming "a great and mighty nation" through which all the nations of the earth would be blessed devolved upon Joseph. Tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of people throughout the world have not starved to death or massacred each other only because the "Anglo-Saxon" nations saved them. The only real restraint on tyranny anywhere today is that exercised by these countries.
Joseph today is to be found mainly amongst the English-Speaking peoples. Joseph is part of the Ten Lost Tribes. These tribes had separated from the Jews (Judah) and created their own kingdom which was then conquered by the Assyrians and all its people were exiled. In their place of Exile the Ten Tribes i.e. the majority of Israelites) lost their identity. Nevertheless they are spoken of by the Prophets and have a task of their own to fulfill. This task pertains especially to Joseph.
The quality of Empathic Consideration (Chesed) was associated with the Northern Kingdom in which the Tribe of Joseph was paramount. "We have heard that the kings of the House of Israel are merciful kings", said servants of the King of Syria (1-Kings 20:31).
This is repeated by Amos who refers to the separate specialties and major goals of Judah and Joseph.
The prophet Amos condemned Judah for not keeping the Law. He also condemned "Israel", meaning the Ten Tribes, "because they sold the righteous for silver" (Amos 1:4-6). A great Rabbinical Authority (the "Natziv") explained that keeping the Law was the special forte of Judah and therefore it was expected of him. When he failed to fulfill the expectation he became liable. The Ten Tribes on the other hand, had never been noted as scripturally observant but they had been known for empathic consideration of others (Chesed). The Ten Tribes were not censored for not keeping the Law but rather for not maintaining their level of social justice. When, through selling the righteous for silver, their level of Social Justice fell and they too became liable.
This is like a father saying to a wayward son:
"If you cannot keep up with your brothers on their strong points at least maintain your own level at what you are supposed to be good at."
In their place of exile and re-settlement it would seem that Social Justice is still expected from the Ten Tribes. "Hate the evil and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of Hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of JOSEPH" (Amos 6:15).
JOSEPH AND THE TASK OF LOST ISRAEL
The blessing to Abraham involved becoming "a great and mighty nation" in which all the nations of the earth would be blessed and which would do "justice and judgment" (Genesis 18:18-19). From the context it would seem that becoming mighty was a prerequisite to becoming a blessing to other nations and doing justice. The use of force and the possession of means enabling its use (if needed) were necessary to become a civilizing influence. Since the quality of Social Justice and mercy was special to Northern Israel so too does it follow that the necessary MIGHT and Greatness be theirs and these qualities were also promised to them.
Joseph in Egypt as Prototype
The Ten Tribes are often referred to collectively as "Joseph" or "Ephraim". Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt. He rose to become an effective ruler of the land and second only to Pharaoh (Genesis chapters 39-41, 41:41-44). As ruler of Egypt, Joseph saved much of the world from famine (Genesis 41:57) and changed the Egyptian economic and social order (Gen. 47:19-26). Joseph was unknown to his brothers at first and not identified by them (Gen. 42:8). They referred to him as "The man, the lord of the country" (Gen. 42:33). This situation had been necessary in order for Joseph to fulfill that task allocated him by Divine Providence, "God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:20). Similarly, the goal required of the Lost Tribes needed that their membership in Spiritual Israel (and therefore their obligations under the Mosaic Law) be temporarily suspended - as it were.
According to the Talmud the Lost Ten Tribes were legally classified as "Gentiles to all extents and purposes" (Yebamot 17a). This determination of status by Rabbinic Authority was preceded by Biblical indications:-
"Backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce" (Jeremiah 3:8). Likewise the Prophet Hosea, referring to the Lost Tribes of the Kingdom of Israel, echoed, "Ye are not my people and I will not be your God," (Hosea 1:9).
At some time in the future this situation is destined to be changed and "In the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, YE ARE THE SONS OF THE LIVING GOD" (Hosea 1:10).
The Blessings were Unconditional
The Promised Blessings were unconditional, "By myself hath I sworn, saith the LORD...that in Blessing I will bless thee and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed..." (Genesis 28:15). "God is not a man neither the son of man that he should repent. He hath blessed and I cannot reverse it" (Numbers 23:19-20).
Prevalence of Ephraim
Ephraim was younger than Manasseh yet he received a greater blessing than Manasseh.
Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh, "The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth," (Genesis 48:16). "And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh" (Genesis 48:20).
The prevalence of Ephraim is repeated in Jeremiah (31:9),
"I am a father to Israel, and EPHRAIM is my firstborn".
Jacob prophesied that (Genesis 48:19) Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh. The Commentary of the "NATZIV" Berlin ("Ha Emek Davar" on Genesis 48:14) analyzed the subject of Ephraim and Manasseh and after noting that in their camping orders Manasseh always preceded Ephraim and in tribal listings is always counted first he concluded that the relative greatness of Ephraim was primarily spiritual and that in the Natural order of Things Manasseh would have precedence. This description to some extent is applicable to the relative situations of Britain and the USA.
The "NATZIV" Berlin ("Ha Emek Davar" Numbers 2:20:
## Even though Ephraim was the chief standard [when the Israelites wandered in the Wilderness] this was because the nature of Providence in the Wilderness was miraculous. The power of Ephraim is greater regarding the miraculous aspect of existence. Concerning the regular way of the world however Manasseh is greater. ##
The "NATZIV"on Numbers 13:11:
# Since they now needed to act according to the laws of nature the main emphasis was on Manasseh ##.;
Genesis 48:20 "And he placed Ephraim before Manasseh."
The "NATZIV"on Genesis 48:20:
## In spiritual matters Ephraim had precedence, but in the ways of the world Manasseh was pre-eminent ##.
JOSEPH RULES OVER OTHER PEOPLES.
THE REST OF THE WORLD CANNOT DO WITHOUT JOSEPH!
"THE FULLNESS OF THE NATIONS"
In Genesis 48:19 it says about Ephraim, "His seed shall become a multitude of nations" or in Hebrew "Maloe [=fullness] HaGoyim [=the nations]." The King James version translates Genesis 48:19: "his [i.e. Ephraim's] seed shall become a multitude of nations". In this case the translation accords with the opinion of at least one major Rabbinical Commentator, i.e. with Abraham Iben Ezra (1084-1164). The Hebrew words translated as "a multitude of nations" are "Malo-HaGoiim", "Malo" means fullness and "HaGoiim" means nations, i.e. "his seed will be fullness of nations". What does this mean? Iben Ezra who combined a rational-spiritual and literal approach said it meant: "many peoples will come out of him", i.e. "a multitude of nations" just like the King James Version later rendered it.
Onkelos (1st century CE) translated the words into Aramaic as "Banohi yihon Shalitin beAmmaia", i.e. "his sons shall be rulers over peoples", or "rulers over the peoples".
Remember literally the verse says "his seed will be fullness of nations": The Midrash Rabah (97;7) takes an illustrative approach. The Midrash which is quoted by Rashi says that the fame or renown of his seed will be all over the world, fill up the world, as it was in the time of Joshua who caused the sun to stand still (Joshua 10:13).
Rav Saadia Gaon said it means his seed will be full-fledged nations.
Rabbi David Kinchi said the meaning is "world-filling nations".
The Aramaic Paraphrase of Yehonathan ben Uzziel which stresses legendary sources says it means his seed will be famous or great among the nations.
Taking all the above into cognizance we have a tendency to emphasize an interaction with the nations.
The Hebrew language and Principles of Biblical Exegesis allow us to accept ALL of the above opinions as pertinent and as expressing different aspects of the same reality. The differing opinions do not contradict but rather supplement and complement each other.
The Hebrew verse actually also may be translated as saying:
"His seed will be involved with the fullness of the nations.
The nations will need him to complete themselves.
They cannot give expression to themselves without him.
He will rule over them!!"
"A LIGHT TO THE GENTILES"
An expression leading into other subjects of equal relevance is given in Isaiah 49:5-13:
"Though Israel be not gathered, to raise up the TRIBES OF JACOB, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the END OF THE EARTH".
The phrase "End of the Earth" is associated with The Tribes of Jacob who need to be gathered.
Most Israelite Tribes today are to be found at the ends of the earth i.e. at the Geographical extremities of the major land masses,
Ends of the Earth
The verse (Isaiah 49:13) also uses the expression "a light to the Gentiles." This is reminiscent of the fact that despite all the mistakes, corruption, and evil that the BRITISH-DESCENDED nations may have done, they have, nevertheless, on the WHOLE, been a civilizing influence amongst the Gentiles. Modern "Western" concepts of human rights and innate dignity and so on are due to them more than to anybody else. To the extent that the Humanism of modern civilization is attributable to non-Anglo-Saxon elements then these too are usually from nationalities identified in this book as containing a significant proportion of Israelites. French, Scandinavians, Swiss, Dutch, and Jews, with the Anglo-Saxons are responsible for most of what good exists in the world today.
The quoted passage from Isaiah (49:5-13) continues: "..I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people [i.e. a "BRIT-AM" in Hebrew], to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou may say to the prisoners, Go forth...Behold these shall come from afar: and lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of SINIM. For the LORD hath comforted his people.."
The expression "Raise up the Tribes of Jacob" reminds us that the nickname "Yank" referring to an American actually means Jacob! Similarly we have Union Jack (the flag of Britain) i.e. Union (Covenant) of Jacob and the expressions "Jock" (i.e. Jack short for Jacob) meaning a Scotsman. "BRIT-AM" means "Covenant of the People", and is reminiscent of Britain, the Commonwealth, and the UNION-JACK (cf. Jacob) which in Hebrew would be rendered as Covenant of Jacob. The USA in Modern Hebrew is called "Artsot-HaBRIT" meaning literally "Lands of the Covenant". Other points raised by this passage are the Lost Israelites from the Ten Tribes being to the north and west of the Land of Israel and also in the Land of Sinim meaning the areas of Australia and New Zealand. Only the English-Speaking Peoples fit the description given.
The Blessings Are IRREVERSIBLE.
They could not be annulled for reason of the promise given to Abraham, "By myself hath I sworn saith the Lord...That in blessing I will bless thee and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the Gate of his enemies" (Genesis 22:16-17).
This aspect of the blessings was confirmed by Bilam, "God is NOT A MAN, that he should lie; neither THE SON OF MAN that he should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken and shall he not make it good?....He hath blessed and I cannot reverse it. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them" (Numbers 23:19-21).