17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. 18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. 19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
Joseph notices a little late that Jacob has his hands crossed upon Ephraim and Manasseh’s heads. He seeks to correct the placement, presumably assuming that Jacob had made some oversight.
Jacob assures that he knows exactly what it is he’s doing, though. As mentioned before, the record makes it sound as though Jacob and Joseph have had very little interaction over the past years, that this might even be his very first time meeting these grandsons, and so it cannot be petty favoritism that Jacob holds towards Ephraim over Manasseh. The only reason Jacob has to differ from the norm in this blessing is because he is being guided by truth and prophecy.
For every blessing that is a true blessing must also be so guided. It is not supposed to be a concoction of the speaker. It is not meant to represent what the giver of the blessing hopes for, for then it is merely a declaration of wishes, with no binding power behind it. A true blessing must be the words and actions inspired of God, a declaration of truth, totally independent of expectation or personal desire. And the truth in this matter is that Ephraim will exceed Manasseh. Not because Jacob wants it, but simply because that was what would be.
How many of us when we seek a blessing do so with the intent of receiving pure truth, unfiltered? How many of us are willing to set aside what we hope to hear, to accept what we do hear?