August 2, 2005

Manasseh & Ephraim in Mark 5?

Category: Bible - NT - Mark :: Permalink

Austin Farrer, noting that the name “Jairus” is a version of the name “Jair” and that Jair, in the Old Testament, was from the half-tribe of Manasseh, suggests that the woman with the flow of blood should be seen as an Ephraimite.

If that’s the case, then what happens in Mark 5:21-43 parallels what happens in Genesis 48. In that passage, Joseph presents his sons to Israel so that he can lay his hands on them and bless them. He presents them in their birth order, Ephraim on the left and Manasseh on the right, but Israel crosses his hands so that Ephraim receives the primary blessing as if he were firstborn.

Here, in Mark 5, we have daughters, not sons, but the pattern is similar. Jair(us: Manasseh) comes first, asking Jesus to “lay his hands” on his daughter, the same posture of blessing we read about in Genesis 48. It appears that Jesus is going to do so, but on the way He stops to cleanse and save the woman with the flow of blood (Ephraim, Farrer suggests), so that Ephraim gets the blessing before Manasseh.

Well, that seems like a huge stretch to me. But even if you don’t find that finally persuasive, and I don’t, it’s good to have the mind stretched in that way from time to time. That’s what makes Farrer such interesting reading.

Posted by John Barach @ 10:44 am | Discuss (0)

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