And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.
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Ambrose of Milan
What extraordinary mysteries there are in this! Joseph took his sons, who were born to him in Egypt, and brought them before his father. He placed Ephraim at his right, but at the left of his father Israel, and Manasseh at his left, but at Israel’s right. But Israel, stretching out his right hand, put it on Ephraim’s head, although he was the younger son and stood at his grandfather’s left. And he put his left hand on Manasseh, who was at his right, and with his hands crossed so, he blessed them. In this Joseph observed the order of nature, to grant more to the elder son. Likewise Isaac also desired to give his blessing to Esau, the first son, but Jacob believed the younger son was to be preferred as a symbol of the younger people, just as he himself had been preferred by his mother. Indeed, in our tongue, Manasseh signifies “out of forgetfulness,” because the people of the Jews forgot their God, who made them, and whoever from out of that people believes is called back, as it were, fr...
Changing. Hebrew, "making his hands intelligent "or giving to understand, by forming a cross with his extended hands, that he had some particular reason for so doing. (Haydock)
By the preference given to Ephraim, he foreshewed his royal dignity, in giving kings to the ten tribes, (Eusebius) and that his tribe would surpass that of his brother in glory and numbers; (ver. 19,) and lastly, give birth to that great leader, Josue; who, as a figure of Christ, should introduce the Israelites into the promised land. (Menochius)
The custom of imposing hands on a person, is of high antiquity, and is still practised in the Christian church in the ordination of her ministers. (Numbers viii. 10; Acts vi. 6.) See Matthew xix. 13; Numbers xxvii. 23. (Calmet)
The cross of Christ is the source of all our exaltation. A preference for the younger children is generally observable in Scripture; being intended to show that the Church, though chosen later out of all nations, should obtain the preference o...