Summer Sunday School– Week Ten–Ephraim and Manasseh

“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father.”

Source: “Genesis” chapter 49:1-33

“So he blessed them that day and said, ‘By you shall the people of Israel pronounce blessings, saying, ‘God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”

Source: “Genesis” chapter 48:20

Jacob Blesses His Grandson–Ephraim and Manasseh


“Then he blessed them with these words:

‘May the God in whose presence

my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,

The God who has been my shepherd

from my birth to this day,

The angel who has delivered me from all harm,

bless these boys

That in them my name be recalled,

and the names of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac,

And they may become teeming multitudes

upon the earth!’”

Source: “Genesis” chapter 48:15-16


This Week’s Prayer–A Blessing for Children by Parents

We ask God for His blessing.


“The LORD bless you and keep you!

The LORD let His face shine upon you and be gracious to you!

The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!”

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


Source: “Numbers” chapter 6:24-26


For Parents to Share with Their Children

We Read Aloud the “Nicene Creed” 



Our Readings

The Twelve Tribes of Israel

An Excerpt from the for Grown-Ups

Source: “Genesis” chapter 49:1-33

“Jacob’s Testament”

Jacob called his sons and said: “Gather around, that I may tell you what is to happen to you in days to come.

“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob,

listen to Israel, your father.

“You, Reuben, my firstborn,

my strength and the first fruit of my vigor,

excelling in rank and excelling in power!

Turbulent as water, you shall no longer excel,

for you climbed into your father’s bed

and defiled my couch to my sorrow.a

5* “Simeon and Levi, brothers indeed,

weapons of violence are their knives.*

Let not my person enter their council,

or my honor be joined with their company;

For in their fury they killed men,

at their whim they maimed oxen.b

Cursed be their fury so fierce,

and their rage so cruel!

I will scatter them in Jacob,

disperse them throughout Israel.

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise

—your hand on the neck of your enemies;

the sons of your father shall bow down to you.

Judah is a lion’s cub,

you have grown up on prey, my son.

He crouches, lies down like a lion,

like a lioness—who would dare rouse him?c

10 The scepter shall never depart from Judah,

or the mace from between his feet,

Until tribute comes to him,*

and he receives the people’s obedience.

11 He tethers his donkey to the vine,

his donkey’s foal to the choicest stem.

In wine he washes his garments,

his robe in the blood of grapes.*

12 His eyes are darker than wine,

and his teeth are whiter than milk.

13 “Zebulun shall dwell by the seashore;

he will be a haven for ships,

and his flank shall rest on Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a rawboned donkey,

crouching between the saddlebags.

15 When he saw how good a settled life was,

and how pleasant the land,

He bent his shoulder to the burden

and became a toiling serf.

16 “Dan shall achieve justice* for his people

as one of the tribes of Israel.

17 Let Dan be a serpent by the roadside,

a horned viper by the path,

That bites the horse’s heel,

so that the rider tumbles backward.

18 “I long for your deliverance, O LORD!*

19 “Gad shall be raided by raiders,

but he shall raid at their heels.*

20 “Asher’s produce is rich,

and he shall furnish delicacies for kings.

21 “Naphtali is a hind let loose,

which brings forth lovely fawns.

22 “Joseph is a wild colt,

a wild colt by a spring,

wild colts on a hillside.

23 Harrying him and shooting,

the archers opposed him;

24 But his bow remained taut,

and his arms were nimble,

By the power of the Mighty One of Jacob,

because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

25 The God of your father, who helps you,*

God Almighty, who blesses you,

With the blessings of the heavens above,

the blessings of the abyss that crouches below,

The blessings of breasts and womb,

26 the blessings of fresh grain and blossoms,

the blessings of the everlasting mountains,

the delights of the eternal hills.

May they rest on the head of Joseph,

on the brow of the prince among his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;

mornings he devours the prey,

and evenings he distributes the spoils.”

Note* The symbols and letters are related to the commentary on the webpage that has this reading, “Genesis” chapter 48 and 49. All of the Bible readings have this notation for readers.

An Excerpt for Children

“Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh”

“Joseph was upset when he saw that his father had put his right hand on Ephraim’s head; so he took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to the head of Manasseh. He said to his father, ‘Not that way father, This is the older boy; put your right hand on his head.’

“His father refused, saying, ‘I know son, I know. Manasseh’s descendants will also become a great people. But his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will be become great nations.’

“So he blessed them that day, saying, ‘The Israelites will use your names when they pronounce blessings.’ They will say, ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’ In this way Jacob put Ephraim before Manasseh.”

Source: The Catholic Children’s Bible,  “Genesis” chapter 39:17-20 Pages 95-96

The Catholic Children’s Bible


A Synopsis for Children (To Be Explained by Parents)

“Jacob, Joseph, and His Brothers” “Genesis” chapter 46-49

Jacob was one of the three “patriarchs” of people who would become the Israelite people. A patriarch is a father of a tribe of people. Jacob’s father was Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah. God promised Abraham that he and Sarah would have a son, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren–“More than all the stars in the skies and the sands on the shore!” Abraham and Sarah did have many children. Isaac and Rebekah had many children, and Jacob and Leah had six sons; and Jacob and Rachel had Joseph.  Jacob also had sons from “subwives” provided to him by Rachel and Leah. Jacob was given the name, “Israel” by God. He was a powerful and important person.  Jacob’s youngest son, Joseph, was also very powerful and important, but he was not considered a patriarch.

When Jacob/Israel was very old and ready to die, he gave ten of his sons and two grandsons–Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh— a great blessing and inheritance of land. They would become the “Twelve Tribes of Israel.” Each one would be like a prince with his own land and flag. Each territory would include many people. It was a historic gift that shaped the future of the region and people of Canaan, “the promised land.”

Why is this important to us?

Jesus was Jewish, and he descended from this line of ancient people, who were called Israelites. Jesus would have known these stories as a child because they were very significant to the Jewish people, and to Jesus. Christ’s lineage–the people who were Jesus’ ancestors–are part of the prophesy of the coming of a Messiah. According to “Israelites–Wikipedia,”

“Abraham was a Hebrew but he was not technically an Israelite nor a Jew, Jacob was both a Hebrew and the first Israelite but not a Jew, while David (as a member of the Tribe of Judah) was all three, a Hebrew, an Israelite, and a Judahite (Yehudi, Jew). A Samaritan, on the contrary, while being both a Hebrew and an Israelite, is not a Jew.”

The prophet, Isaiah, foretold the coming of Christ: 

“But a shoot shall sprout from the stump* of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.a” Jesse was the father of King David.”  “Isaiah ” chapter 11:1

“The Genealogy of Jesus” in “Matthew “chapter 1:1 states, The Son of David, the son of Abraham: two links of the genealogical chain are singled out. Although the later, David is placed first in order to emphasize that Jesus is the royal Messiah. Source: 

Note to Parents* Next week we will learn about King David, the Psalmist.

The Twelve Tribes of Israel

“According to the Bible the 12 tribes of Israel were descended from the 12 sons of Jacob. No tribe was named after Joseph, Jacob’s best-known son, but two tribes took their names from Joseph’s sons. Each of the 12 tribes had it’s own identity and each was given territory when Canaan was conquered. The Levites, who were named after Levi, had no territory, because they were responsible for organizing and carrying out the worship of God in the tabernacle, the sacred meeting tent.”

An Excerpt from The Children’s Illustrated Bible, Page 89

The Children’s Illustrated Bible


Writing Project

Here are the names of the sons and two grandsons of Jacob who became leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel. Their land became known as the land of the Israelites. This name comes from the name “Israel” given to Jacob by God. Make a list of the names so that they will become familiar and remembered as real people who were the ancient ancestors of Jesus. Younger children can write the title only, “12 Tribes of Israel,” with help from family members. Combine this project with the art project below. Write the names on the back of the paper you’ll be painting on. Or, paint, then write the names on the front when the painting is dry.

Names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel













Art Project–The Flags of the Twelve Tribes of Israel

This is a very easy and quick art project. I saw a sponge in my sink as I was trying to carve a potato into a pennant shape. The sponge caught my attention because it looked just like a flag waving in the wind. I tossed the potato, and grabbed the sponge.

Use a clean, dampened sponge as a stamp for print-making. Dip the sponge into children’s washable poster paint. I started with the color yellow and continued to add a color each time until all twelve flags had a nice, earth-toned color. If you use smaller paper than I used, cut the sponge in half horizontally. It will be perfect.