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The DEEP

Dying

Unique challenges for the body

Genesis 48:1–12 (ESV)

After this, Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And it was told to Jacob, “Your son Joseph has come to you.” Then Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed. And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’ And now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. And the children that you fathered after them shall be yours. They shall be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance. As for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”

When Israel saw Joseph's sons, he said, “Who are these?” Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.” Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. So Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them. And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” Then Joseph removed them from his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.

Israel declares Joseph’s two sons to be his own sons. Can he do that?

Sure he can. This is the equivalent of a will. He’s giving them a great inheritance—full status as sons of Israel. Ephraim and Manasseh will be tribes just like the tribe of Judah or the tribe of Reuben. They will be referred to as half-tribes, but that’s just a reference; their inheritance in the Promised Land will be full.

And Jacob blesses them before he gets around to blessing his other sons. That’s huge. Remember, Jacob stole Isaac’s blessing from Esau. He knows a thing or two about blessings.

After seventeen years in Egypt, Jacob has reached the end of his road. He’s now settling his estate.


One of the Church’s main jobs is to minister to dying and grieving people. No one lives forever, and when that terrible truth cannot be put off any longer, it brings unique pain.

Thus, this can be a unique challenge for the body. People are rightfully reticent when dealing with death. There are so many ways to say or do something wrong, and it’s hard to know what is and isn’t helpful.

It helps to be trained well. The best way to know what to say and what not to say is to be formally taught. One training program I can unreservedly recommend is Stephen Ministries. Their training is for all emotional struggles, not just grief and dying.

https://www.stephenministries.org


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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here: https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here: https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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