Genesis 41:50-52 — Being Fruitful in Forgetting
As I was reading my Word Study NASB, I was riveted with Genesis 48: 50-52. “Now before the year of famine, two sons were born to Joseph…” Heavens! Were they twins??? It doesn’t say they were born one year after the other. It says before the YEAR of famine. Even with twins, there’s a first-born and a second-born as we saw with Esau and Jacob. [I’ve sent a request to a rabbi to verify my suspicion.]
Gen 41:51 And Joseph named the first-born Manasseh,
“For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and all my father’s household.”
Gen 41:52 And he named the second Ephraim,
“For,” he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
MANASSEH “Making to Forget”
“God has made me forget all my troubles and all my father’s household.”
forget #5382 nashah
~ to forget (figurative), to neglect (causative) – to remit, remove – forget, deprive, exact
I was struck by the word “deprive.” When we truly are healed and forget the offense, the wrong and all of its bitterness, wounding and grief, we deprive the enemy of his spoils. This is like dealing with the little foxes that spoil the vine. To me, this forgiving is where I relinquish my “right” to be mad, sad, or hurt. When I forgive, the well inside of me is unblocked and I am able to bring forth the free-flow of His light, power and righteousness… and therefore I am really, truly free at last.
troubles #5999 amal
~ from #5998 amal – to toil; i.e. work severely and with irksomeness
~ toil; wearing effort; hence worry, whether of body or mind – grievance, iniquity, labor, mischief, miserable, misery, pain, painful, perverseness, sorrow, toil, travail, trouble, wearisome, wickedness.
~ This word can be used for the general difficulties and hardships of life, which can be seen by its use in conjunction with sorrow, affliction, and futility. It can also refer to trouble or mischief directed at another person.
This meaning for “troubles” so reminds me of how the enemy strikes our soul and spirit. Note that most of these meanings have much more to do with the mind and emotions than the physical body. Worry, grief, sorrow are such pervasive roots to mindsets. I can see WHY the Lord had to work this first in Joseph, before the fruit of the second son could be realized.
“God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
fruitful #6509 parah
~ to bear fruit – literally and figuratively – bear, bring forth (fruit), (be, cause to be, make) fruitful, grow, increase.
affliction #6040 oniy
~ 6040 oniy—depression, i.e. misery—afflicted (-ion), trouble
~ from 6031 anah – a primitive root [possibly rather identical with 6040 through the idea of looking down or brow-beating] to depress (literal or figurative, transitive or intransitive in various applications, as follow): — abase, self, afflict
(-ion, self) answer [by mistake for 6030], chasten self, deal hardly with, defile, exercise, force, gentleness, humble (self), hurt, ravish, sing [by mistake for 6030], speak [by mistake for 6030], submit self, weaken.
~ 6030 anah – a primitive root; (properly) to eye or (general) to heed, i.e. pay attention; (by implication) to respond (by extension) to begin to speak; (specifically) to sing, shout, testify, announce:–give account, afflict [by mistake for 6031], (cause, to give) answer, bring low [by mistake for 6031], cry, hear, Leannoth, lift up, say, give a shout, sing (together by course), speak, testify, utter, (bear) witness. See also 1042, 1043.
Leannoth definition: (This was an interesting word to me.)
1) for answering; i.e., in singing, occurs in the title to Psalm 88. It may be rendered “concerning sickness, to be sung” i.e. perhaps, to be sung in sickness.
2) This word, leannoth, seems to point to some kind of instrument unknown. The whole phrase has been rendered, “On the sickness of affliction: a lesson;” or “Concerning afflictive sickness: a didactic psalm.”
3) From the Holman Bible Dictionary: (lih uhn’ nohth) Transliteration of Hebrew word in title of Psalm 88 possibly meaning “to sing” or “for the poor,” “for the sick.” It may be part of the title of a tune to which the Psalm was sung. The meaning remains obscure and uncertain.
After re-reading these Hebrew definitions and root words, I immediately heard “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” This verse is from Psalm 43:5—
“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God,
for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” NASB
Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope in God:
for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. AKJV
I was intrigued by the word “brow-beating” found in the primitive root word, anah, and looked it up on dictionary.com. Browbeat means to intimidate by overbearing looks or words, bully. Its synonyms are cow, badger, tyrannize, harass, coerce. Other related words are bullied, cowed, hangdog, intimidated. In its word origin, it means “to bully,” originally “to bear down with stern or arrogant looks.” This meaning certainly indicates an outside force, but, it also implies that I agreed with the lie and allowed it to take root inside.
This actual definition for the Hebrew word for troubles says it all. We would assume that the affliction had to do with the physical aspect of Joseph’s trials when sold into slavery. But in actuality, it was his soul (mind, will, and emotions) that bore the deeper hardship.
Fruit—meaning growth and increase—couldn’t come forth until the roots of Joseph’s “troubles” and “affliction” were dealt with.
Notice how Joseph names his first son, making to forget, and then the second son, fruitful. This so speaks to me of dealing with root issues. The causes may not change, but our focus and attitude towards them must change in order for healing and growth (fruit) to come.
SUMMING IT ALL UP
We’ve got to shatter the past’s hold on our emotional lives. It must release its hold on us, so we can transition into our future. It’s Paul’s attitude as he writes in Philippians 3:13-15
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you…
So what’s the “it” Paul is referring to? Verses 8-11!
…I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
WOW! When we submit our “feelings” to God and let go of holding on to them—through our forgiving and forgetting, even though our world and self-righteousness says it’s our right—His love makes a way to dissolve them. In order for us to truly be released into our identification as sons and daughters of our God and our personal destinies, we MUST let go of the past.
WHERE’S OUR FOCUS?
Magnifying Jesus instead of our past issues and problems is the key to fruitfulness, grace and increase. The enemy is the father of all lies [John 8:44]. If he can plant a seed of wounding or sorrow with lies into our lives and we allow it to grow into bitterness and unforgiveness, it will grow into a full-blown tree of unrighteousness. Let’s get our eyes off us and onto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. [Hebrews 11:1,2]
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
ONE MORE INTERESTING TIDBIT
Following along with the story of Manasseh and Ephraim, I was really touched by Genesis 48. Joseph was told that his father was sick. So, Joseph took Manasseh and Ephraim with him to see his father. I was struck by the fact that in his heart, Joseph knew that Ephraim should be before Manasseh. He took Ephraim FIRST and with his RIGHT HAND (righteousness)—which is significant—but placed him on Jacob’s left and then took Manasseh with his left hand (unrighteousness), but placed him on Jacob’s right. Jacob CRISSCROSSED his hands to pronounce the blessing. Through these sons, Joseph received a double-portion inheritance.
Gen 48:5 “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.” – Note the order of Jacob’s statement.
Gen 48:13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him.
Gen 48:14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the first-born.
When I read of Jacob’s crossing his hands, I immediately heard “Christ’s Cross.” In any situation – past or present – put the issue in front of the Cross of Jesus. Let His precious blood heal the wound, lay it aside, and forget it for good. Press on to fruitfulness!
Remember Joseph’s famous quote: “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Gen. 50:20) There is merit in every life experience. With all my heart, I do believe that nothing happens to us, except it passes through the Father’s hands. Therefore, knowing He is a loving Father, what He allows is for my good. If I keep my eyes on Jesus and what He accomplished at the Cross for me, AND if I sit with Him in heavenly places, I can stand and not sink. I can walk and not be faint. Fruitfulness WILL come. I can bank on that heavenly treasury to pour out for me.
I read R.T. Kendall’s book, God Meant It For Good, in the ‘90s at just the right time for forgiveness to come and bring healing with my parents. It’s been republished recently.
I sincerely recommend it to you.