And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested. 1 Chronicles 4:10
Before Jacob gave the eulogy, an uncomfortable family situation happened. Jacob & Sons had moved to Egypt, where his estranged son Joseph had seen to it that they were settled in, and Jacob had been living there some 17 years and had grown quite blind. Knowing he was soon to die, during a visit with Joseph he began to talk about his final wishes, and he made his son promise not to bury him in Egypt, but to bury him in his family's graveyard back home. Joseph promised, and just after that Jacob took to bed, apparently quite sick.
At some point Joseph's boys had been brought to visit Jacob again, and it appears that Jacob sent for them, saying that they were his sons and he was taking them. (Genesis 48) Someone ran to tell Joseph. They didn't stop the Grandfather, but ran to tell Dad. :) I would imagine Jacob had some method of defending his intentions, who knows what a possessive Grandfather could do if he took a mind to, whether it was his "right" mind or not?! Then, someone else told Jacob that Joseph was on the way... maybe it was a warning that he was going to be in trouble any minute now. So Jacob mustered up his last ounce of strength to raise up in the bed.
Needless to say, Joseph must have gotten the boys in his arms as soon as he entered the room, because they were hiding behind his legs when they reappeared later. But, first Jacob began to explain to Joseph what he wanted. He told him about the blessings God had given him. And, he explained that he was to have a promised heritage... which he believed was to come from Rachael's children... and Rachael had died. Therefore, Jacob intended for his sons to inherit this blessing now. He called Joseph's boys his sons, declaring an intent to officially adopt them under his name and give them a full inheritance. But, now he looked pointedly as Joseph, and gesturing to the two boys who were clutching Dad's knees, he asked, " Who are these boys?" He was pointing out that they were his and Rachael's sons too actually. Joseph understood this insinuation, and didn't skip a beat before declaring they were his because God had given them to him. He wanted to make clear that the boys were staying with Dad, no matter whether Jacob left to go back home now or not.
Jacob somehow made his intentions clear, that he wanted them in title only, and he wanted to do so to give them equal inheritance with his sons, rather than as grandsons. This made sense to Joseph and he relaxed and led them up to Jacob. (A blessing would be fine, but nobody was to leave with his boys.) Immediately Jacob threw his arms around the boys and hugged and kissed them. Were they upset over the confusion? We can only guess one or both may have been crying. There couldn't have been total trust from Joseph, who'd been abandoned as a child and imprisoned as a slave. Even the way he so diligently laid claim to all of the land and cattle in Egypt for the Pharoah, and levied a 20% tax on all the people illustrated the degree to which he would go to assure he would be valued and favored by the leader.
Then, despite the fact that Joseph led the first born to Jacob's right hand, Jacob proceeded to give the younger child the blessing of the firstborn. This was definitely displeasing to Joseph, and he tried to switch his father's hands, and told him that Manassah was the older child. Jacob replied that God would bless Manassah as well, but that Ephraim would be more blessed. So, Jacob blessed both boys, and their father. Then he told Joseph that he had indeed given him two portions, as if he were the firstborn, by this act of adopting Joseph's sons as his own. That had not been what Joseph had expected. The eulogy was not pleasing at first to him. But, in the end it turned out to be a double bounty. He just had to get comfortable with the idea that a blessing is left up to the one giving the eulogy.
Which do you prefer... a eulogy, a blessing, or a bounty? The fact of the matter is that, like Joseph, we don't get to choose our blessing. We ask of God and God gives. Or we could be like those who gave blessings, and then we would be choosing what would be given. Paul took up a bounty from the believers in the church for the poor in Jerusalem, for example. And... David gave the Lord a blessing....
...Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Psalms 103:1