Posted by Isaiah’s Fan
Groupies, do you remember in Houston Alfonso used to wonder why his Patriarchal Blessing named him as being from the lineage of Joseph? Most blessings will specify if a person comes from the tribe of Ephraim, or perhaps Manasseh, Joseph’s twin sons. But Alfonso had never heard of anyone who was identified in their blessing as coming from Joseph. Joseph isn’t really identified as a tribe. His land inheritance was divided between his sons, and because the tribe of Levi had no land inheritance, that made a total of 12 tribes.
In 1 Nephi 5 and 6 we see the importance that Lehi and his family place on being from the lineage of Joseph. Let’s look at the significance and symbolism of this. Joseph was the temporal and spiritual savior of the House of Israel, and prefigured the Messiah. He was sold into Egypt, and became a wanderer in a strange land. Joseph was thirty years old when he began his life’s work. (Gen. 41:46) After he gained some power and influence in Egypt, he was able to predict an imminent famine. He was placed in charge of a vast food storage program. When Isaac and his sons were starving for lack of food, they came to Egypt to obtain food, and discovered their brother Joseph, who saved them by giving them grain. Thus, as a type of the Savior, he dispensed the Bread of Life to a perishing world.
Joseph had two twin sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. In the Hebrew language, Ephraim means “fruitful,” and Manasseh means “forgetting.” The fruitful line of Ephraim now makes up the majority of the covenant people in the latter days. Lehi was from the tribe of Manasseh, the majority of which were taken away captive by the Assyrians and are still lost today. Lehi, however, does not identify himself particularly with Manasseh, but with the progenitor of the line–Joseph.
1 Nephi 5:14-15 relates: And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph; yea, even that Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt, and who was preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve his father, Jacob, and all his household from perishing with famine. And they were also led out of captivity and out of the land of Egypt, by that same God who had preserved them.
As Lehi discovered his genealogy and realized that he was a descendant of Joseph, he recognized the spiritual similarities. Lehi and his family had also been led out of captivity and out of the land by that same God who had preserved them. They now had the Brass Plates of Laban with them, which would be a source of spiritual nourishment to their posterity.
What does it mean to you to be a descendant of Joseph?