This question is prompted by some downvoting I received in another response. I have my own answer, but am curious as to how this will be answered/interpreted by others - maybe testing mine?

The question relates to this passage .... and is underneath it.

GEN 48:14 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;

Here Jacob is pronouncing a blessing on Joseph. Who is he asking to bless his son? God? The angel? Or both?

1 Answer 1


This question is based on the assumption that the "Angel" in Gen 48:16 is distinct from God. Note that this "Angel" is the one who redeems Jacob from all evil. Observe what other Scriptures say about the redeemer:

  • Isa 49:26 - ... Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
  • Isa 44:6 - Thus says the LORD, the King and Redeemer of Israel, the LORD of Hosts: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God but Me.
  • Isa 44:24 - Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who by Myself spread out the earth

Thus, YHWH claims to be Israel's (Jacob's) Redeemer who, in Gen 48:16 is equated with the "Angel". This common in the OT where YHWH calls Himself and angel/messenger - see Gen 16:7-13, 22:11-17, 32:24-30, 48:16, Ex 3:2-6, 32:34, Num 22:22-35, Josh 5:13-15, Judg 2:1-4, 6:11-23, 13:3-23, Isa 63:9, Dan 3:25, 28, Hos 12:4, 5, Zech 3:1-7, Mal 3:1.

Sometimes, YHWH calls Himself "The Angel of God" as per, Gen 6:13, 8:15, 9:8, 17, 15:13, 17:3, 4, 21:12, 16-21, 35:1, 10, Ex 4:3-8, 6:2, 23:20, 21, Deut 1:6, 1 Kings 12:22.

In Isa 63:9, “the Angel of His [LORD’s] presence saved them”, and is almost certainly a reference to the same being. The same is true of Ex 23:20, 21. In other places we see that the LORD sends the LORD:

  • Zech 2:6-12 – the LORD (= YHWH) claims three times that He has been sent by the LORD.
  • Isa 48:11-16 – again, the LORD has been sent by the LORD.

Thus, unsurprisingly, Jesus is the messenger to the human race and underlines the importance that the Godhead places upon such messages.

Either way, we have a typical poetic parallel between:

  • The God who has fed me all my life long to this day
  • The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil

Thus, Jacob asks YHWH to bless Joseph.

Benson arrives at the same conclusion:

Genesis 48:16. The Angel which redeemed me — Not a created angel surely, but Christ, termed an angel, Exodus 23:20, and the Angel of the covenant, Malachi 3:1, and who was the conductor of Israel in the wilderness, 1 Corinthians 10:4-9. Add to this, that this Angel is called Jacob’s Redeemer, a title appropriated by God to himself, Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 47:4; is said to redeem him from all evil, and therefore from sin, from which certainly no created angel, but only Christ can deliver us, Matthew 1:21; and he is worshipped and prayed to by Jacob here, for the blessing desired for Joseph’s sons: all which circumstances show, that he was God and not a creature. From all evil — A great deal of trouble and hardship he had had in his time, but God had graciously kept him from the evil of his troubles. It becomes the servants of God, when they are old and dying, to witness for God that they have found him gracious.

Gill says something very similar:

The Angel; not surely a created angel, but Christ Jesus, who is called an Angel, Exodus 23:20, and the Angel of the covenant, Malachi 3:1, who was the conductor of the Israelites in the wilderness, as plainly appears by comparing of Exodus 23:20,21, with 1 Corinthians 10:4,9. Add hereunto, that this Angel is called Jacob’s Redeemer, which is the title appropriated by God to himself, Isaiah 43:14 47:4, and that from all evil, and therefore from sin, from which no created angel can deliver us, but Christ only, Matthew 1:21; and that Jacob worshippeth and prayeth to this Angel no less than to God for the blessing, and that without any note of distinction, the word bless being in the singular number, and equally relating to God and to the Angel; and that the Angel to whom he here ascribes his deliverances from all evil, must in all reason be the same to whom he prayed for these very deliverances which he here commemorates, and that was no other than the very God of Abraham, as is evident from Genesis 28:15,20,21 32:9-11 35:3.

  • As usual, a very detailed and excellent answer - but - let’s examine it. You say ‘Sometimes, YHWH calls Himself "The Angel of God"’. And list Exodus 23:20 as one of your support scriptures. Exodus 23 does allude to 2 entities, YHWH, and the angel. But it clearly differentiates between them. And, both Benson and Gill ‘speculate’ that ‘surely’ it [this particular angel] isn’t a created angel. Now, I’m not necessarily arguing against a possible ‘Christophony’, but are asking whether it could/might be that the angel and God are two separate entities?
    – Dave
    Mar 5, 2021 at 18:41
  • @Dave - great point - but look closely. Ex 23:20 is similar to both Zech 2:6-12 and Isa 48:11-16 where the LORD is sent by the LORD. See also Isa 63:9 where the Angel of the LORD';s presence saved them.
    – Dottard
    Mar 5, 2021 at 18:58
  • Your intro starts of with... “This question is based on the assumption that the "Angel" in Gen 48:16 is distinct from God.” .... This is not quite right. - I actually accept that they are, in fact, meant to be ‘seen’ as one ... [but] ... nevertheless that they are two separate, distinct entities. This is the view that I am ‘testing’ with this Q.
    – Dave
    Mar 6, 2021 at 4:35
  • @Dave - I have updated the answer to include some examples in the OT of the LORD sending the LORD, etc, to show that the OT God while ONE is more than one person.
    – Dottard
    Mar 6, 2021 at 6:49
  • Thanks. The Hebrew construct of this verse clearly shows that both the angel and God, despite unique, nevertheless are clearly to be ‘seen’ as one. This is explicit .... and clearly intentional. My personal interpretation is that the angel [fully] represents God, but isn’t God - yes, at times a christophony, but every appearance? Nevertheless I’ll finish with this Q, but may visit this ‘issue’ again via one of those other passages. Couple of passages in Judges, including the one you added, are intriguing!
    – Dave
    Mar 6, 2021 at 17:50

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