Genesis 48:19, Multitude of nations. Here is what the ancient Jewish sages say about this prophetic verse pertaining to the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh:
- Ibn Ezra: Many nations will descend from him (i.e., the word fullness [Heb. melo], connotes abundance, the phrase meaning: And his seed will become the abundance of the nation [Neter; Karnei Or].) (The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis Commentary p. 2121)
- R. Avraham b. HaRambam somewhat similarly: The expression denotes abundant profligacy to a point that they will have to inhabit lands of other nations it is an allusion to Ephraim’s expansive territory (Ibid.).
- Radak: This refers to the Exile when the lands of others will be filled with his scattered descendants … See also Hos 7:8: “Ephraim shall be mingled among the nations. (Ibid.)
- What kind of blessing was this prediction that one day his descendants—the Ten Tribes—would be scattered among the nations? R. Munk explains: while it is true that the dispersion was caused by the unfaithfulness and sinfulness of Ephraim’s descendants (Hos 7:8ff), Jacob’s blessing was not in vain for “they will return to God” and will have their share in the world to come (Sanhedrin 110b). And R. Eliezer adds: “Even the darkness in which the Ten Tribes were lost will one day become as radiant as the day’ (according to the version of Avos d’Rabbi Nosson 36). And in the perspective of history, did not these exiled children of the Patriarchs enlighten the nations among whom they were scattered? They did so by teaching their conquerors the fundamental ideas of the knowledge and love of God, ideals they had never forsaken. Hence they too have a messianic vocation and their Messiah the. … Messiah son of Joseph (Succah 52a), also called Messiah son of Ephraim (Targum Yonasan on Exod 40:11), will play an essential role in humanity’s redemption, for he will be the precursor of the … Messiah Son of David …” (Ibid., pp. 2121–2122).
- Ibn Ezra declares that many nations will descend from Ephraim, Continue reading