Vayechi / And He Lived
HafTorah 1 Kings 2:1-12
Brit Chadasha 1 Peter 1:3-9
The blessing of Ephraim and Manaessh takes place in Genesis 48. Joseph brings his two boys to his father situating them in correlation to the blessing. But Jacob/Israel switches his hands and then proceeds in a blessing for Joseph. ‘
Genesis48:12-16 says: ‘And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. 14 Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 And he blessed Joseph, and said: “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day, 16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
Other translations actually use fish: Genesis 48:16 ‘…May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land." Fish in Hebrew is ‘d-a-g’ and this translation uses the Hebrew words ‘the fish’: וְיִדְגּ֥וּ
English translators dropped the word ‘fish’ losing the remez that Yeshua spoke and taught,. Being Hebrews, Peter and Andrew recognized this in Matthew 4:19 knowing what contained in the Torah in the blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh. This is why they immediately left their nets and followed Yeshua,
The last sentence is a link to the statements that Yeshua makes in several places in the Brit Chadash. Fish is referenced to people, as multitudes. In John 21 He tells his disciples to cast their net to the right side of the boat, whereupon their nets were too heavy to pull in. In Matthew 4:19 He tells His disciples He will make them fishers of men דַּייָּג (fishermen) alluding to catching fish/men. In Matthew 14:13-21 He feeds 5,000 people with two fish. He also alludes to the dispersed one, the multitudes.
The phrase “Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth” can then be better translated as “Let them increase like fish in the land”. These are metaphors as in the seas represent the nations, the dry land represents Israel and the fish in the seas represent people in the nations.
This refers to the Exile when the lands of others will be filled with his scattered descendants as we see in Hosea 7:8: ‘Ephraim shall be mingled among the nations.’ This shows that the Ten Tribes would be scattered among the nations and yet Jacob’s/Israel’s blessing was not in vain for “they will return to God”.
What does this say to us now? We are called to be ready to speak life to the fish and the teaming multitudes of the lost sheep of the House of Israel that are scattered on the midst of the earth. Baruch HaShem!