Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Genesis 48

In the first few verses of chapter 48 we are once again introduced to the feminine themes that are so common throughout the book of Genesis.

Joseph, upon hearing of his father's illness, takes his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim to receive a blessing under the hands of Jacob. Before blessing Joseph's sons Jacob tells of the appearance of אל שדי (El Shaddai, usually translated as "God Almighty") at a place called לוז (Luz, which means "almond tree").

Both terms אל שדי and לוז have a feminine connotation attached to them (see above links) and femininity, in general, is associated with fertility or fruitfulness. In verse 4 of chapter 48 Jacob recalls the words of אל שדי to him at Luz which included blessings of:
  1. Numerous posterity
  2. The land of Canaan for an inheritance.

In verse 4 the term land is translated from ארץ (eretz, e.g. "The land of Israel" or "the land of America"). Interestingly, one of the terms for earth or ground (as in dirt, e.g. "I love the feel of the earth in my hands", a concept related to land) is אדמה (adamah see Genesis 2:7 ). אדמה is the feminine form of the name or word אדם (adam). אדמה, mother-like, begot or brought forth Adam, therefore, land or earth connotes fertility, femininity etc.

In addition, the words which were translated as fruitful and multiply in verse 4 of chapter 48 come from the roots פרה (parah) and רבה (rabah) which are also feminine words (the "-ah" ending in Hebrew words generally make them feminine).

For additional reading regarding these and similar concepts I highly recommend a short, but fascinating book called "Temple Theology" by Margaret Barker.


  1. "If it happened before today, Matt knows all about it" How true this is :)

    1. If only that were true :). Thanks Rachel, I hope everything is going well in NY.