Friday, September 12, 2008

Jacob blesses his sons Gen 48-49:18

Jacob blesses his sons
Gen 48:1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Gen 48:2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.
Gen 48:3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
Gen 48:4 And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.

Jacob repeats the promises of the Abrahamic covenant to Joseph and his sons. It is important to share Gods dealings with the children and grandchildren, it was God speaking to them his promises. Joseph repeated the promises of God. They were a nation under God through the promises given to father Abraham. God had his hand on Joseph, but his authority flowed through Israel, the father. Jacob even blessed the greatest king of the nations.

Hands Crossed

Gen 48:5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.

Reuben and Simeon, were Jacob's firstborn, but the highest authority, the blessing that usually  went to the firstborn,  would go through his son Judah. Jacob claims the two sons born before Joseph was reunited with his father. These two would be counted with the brothers in the 12 tribes of Israel.

Gen 48:6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.

Any other children would be Josephs and receive their brother's kinship inheritance.

Gen 48:7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died byme in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem.

Gen 35:19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.
Gen 35:20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.

Jacob would be buried with his fathers and Leah in their family cave burial place in Canaan.

Gen 48:8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?
Gen 48:9 And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.
Gen 48:10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.

Like Jacob's father Isaac before him his eyes were dim when he sought to pass on the blessing and birthright.

Gen 48:11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath showed me also thy seed.
Gen 48:12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.

Joseph respected his father bowing before him. He knew the power of God rested in his blessing.

Gen 48:13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.

Joseph placed the oldest son, Manasseh before Jacob's right hand to be blessed as the firstborn. The right hand blessing is the chosen firstborn. Jesus is on the right hand of his father's throne. The place of the chosen firstborn.

Gen 48:14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

Jacob had crossed his hands reversing the blessing, favoring with his right hand Ephraim the younger brother. Remember his father Isaac who was tricked into blessing the younger Jacob earlier instead of Esau the firstborn. But Esau was willing to sell his birthright  for a bowl of stew.

Gen 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,
Gen 48:16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

He blessed Joseph's first twe son's as his own, making them equal with Joseph and his brothers . Israel mentioned the power and blessing of God and the angel that he wrestled with, to receive his new righteous name and redemption. Jesus is our redeemer and righteousness.

Gen 48:17 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.
Gen 48:18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
Gen 48:19 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.

The greater blessing went to the younger Ephraim. This upset Joseph who knew the customs. Their was a reason for this and it may be found in the meaning of their names.

Ephraim = "double ash-heap: I shall be doubly fruitful"

Manasseh = "causing to forget"

We do not remember past things that block our way; we are to forget them and put them behind us and go forth in the abundant blessings of the LORD

Phil 3:13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Phil 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3:15  Let us therefore, as manyas be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Ephraim would become so large that the Northern kingdom  would be be referred to as  Ephraim.

Deu 33:17  His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

Gen 48:20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

It is done. Ephraim receives the greater blessing. Is it not God who chooses?

Jacob Blesses his Children

This is the first conscious prophecy spoken by a human being in the Bible; there have been many prophecies announced by God (such as the promise of the triumph of the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15), and other veiled prophecies by men, but this is the first knowing prophecy of the Bible

Gen 48:21 And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.

Jacob speaks of his sons tribes who will return to the promised land in Canaan.

Gen 48:22 Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.

The spoils of warfare that Jacob had secured by his own strength, of this Joseph receives a double portion.

I think of the victories of spiritual warfare, the methods of overcoming the enemy. The studying of the Bible the sharing of Gods word with others, of witnessing to the lost, of good works, of prayers said, these I pass down to my children. These are the spoils of warfare. I give them a double blessing if they will receive them.

Gen 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
Gen 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

Gods elder father of his people, Israel now has been given prophetic words and blessings for his children.

It has been said that a father can bless or curse a child. The curse is broken in Gods family. Blessed are those children raised by godly parents. But every child of God is blessed, with no curses because of the blessings of Jesus Christ. We are a blessed family of God. If bad memories, we forget them and go on as a blessed child of God.

Gen 49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

It is customary for the first born to inherit the best portion of the fathers inheritance. Reuben has been honored with glowing words of strength and dignity. He was the first born of Leah, his first son.

Gen 49:4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

In the Bible God tells it like it is , faults and all. Reuben would be unstable, perhaps a divided heart. He also received a rebuke because of the  sin against his father. So the birthright blessing was not given to Reuben .

It is difficult for me to justify the fact that Jacob had a concubine, a woman for his lusts. This was a fault in Jacob, perhaps a custom of the times, but not the will of God. Jacob was considered one with the concubine by God, so it is as if Reuben had defiled his father.

Gen 49:5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.

The second and third born sons Simeon and Levi receive the same "blessing" for the same evil deed; they were instruments of cruelty when they wiped out all the men of Shechem in retaliation of the defiling of their sister Dinah (Genesis 34:25-29)

Jacob, perhaps in weakness, did nothing at the time except register a small, self centered complaint (Genesis 34:30) - yet he (and the Lord) remembered this event.

Gen 49:6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
Gen 49:7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

The Bible speaks of a godly anger (Be angry and do not sin, Ephesians 4:26) and an ungodly anger (Let all bitterness, wrath, anger . . . be put away from you, Ephesians 4:31).

Simeon was the third largest tribe but when they made it to the promised land they would be the smallest. The prophecy of dividing and scattering was a blessing for the tribe of Levi.

Because of the faithfulness of this tribe during the rebellion of the golden calf (Exodus 32:26-28), it was scattered as a blessing throughout the whole nation of Israel. They received no large tract of land, for the Lord was their inheritance, not land (Joshua 13:33) The levites were to keep care of the Ark of God, tend to the sacrifices, and teach the people of Gods dealings with Israel.

We also receive the Lord as our inheritance. We receive the promises of God through the Jesus Christ.  We are spiritual children of Abraham.  Where Jesus is, there we are. Let us not let sin and anger divide us; our portion is with God.

Blessing of Judah

Gen 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.

It is through Judah that Messiah Jesus would come. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Isarael, would come personally through Jesus of the tribe of Judah. Judah was not without sin, he had made many sins and folly but his highpoint was when he interceded for Benjamin to Joseph. Grace is operating here. In choosing Judah. It is grace also that is the reward of those who seek Jesus.

Gen 49:9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

The Lion of Judah, Messiah Jesus would be triumphant over all his enemies.

Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Gen 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

From David until the Herods, a prince of Judah was head over Israel (even Daniel in captivity!). The promise was that Israel would keep this scepter until Shiloh comes - and even under their foreign masters during this period, Israel had a limited right to self rule - until in 7 A.D., under Herod and the Romans, their right to capital punishment was taken away . Shiloh is a reference to the coming saviour, Jesus.

Gen 49:11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
Gen 49:12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

I think of garments in wine, as the blood shed on the cross.

Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Judahs inheritance would have great vineyards. The tribe of Judah would be the first to raise their banners and lead the people in following the cloud by day in the wilderness journey, and the fire by night. Judah was pre-eminent (Num 10:14) because Jesus would be called Lord of lords, King of Kings, Wonderful, Counsellor, Almighty God , Prince of Peace, saviour and my friend.

Zebulun, Issachar and Dan

My brother and I used to kid around giving each other nicknames. He would call me Zeb and I would call him Zeke. We had no clue that Zeb came from Zebulun, and Zeke from Ezekial. Lets see what Jacobs blessing was for "Zebulun" and two other brothers, Issachar and Dan.

Gen 49:13 Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.

The tribe of Zebulun seems to have taken the piece of land sitting between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee; literally, shall dwell by the haven of the sea can be rendered "looking towards the sea" - which they did, both to the East and West.

Jesus the light of the world would visit this sea place.

Mat 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
Mat 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
Mat 4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
Mat 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Saving grace would come here, Jesus our saviour, the Son of God

Gen 49:14 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:
Gen 49:15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.

Issachar was a large tribe; third in size according to the Numbers 26 census; because of their size and abundance, they were often targets of oppressive foreign armies who put them into servitude; thus they became a band of slaves.

The meaning seems to be that Issachar was strong, but docile and lazy. He would enjoy the good land assigned him but would not strive for it. Therefore, eventually he would be pressed into servitude and the mere bearing of burdens for his master

In Christ we are free, but we must be strong in him. We must not be lazy in our faith allowing the enemy to gain a foothold.

Phil 1:27 Only let your conversation [way of life] be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Phil 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

Gen 49:16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.

Dan did judge his people; the tribe of Dan supplied one of the most prominent of the Judges; Samson.

Gen 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

The serpent Satan and his devils

Dan was a troublesome tribe; they were the tribe to introduce idolatry into Israel (Judges 18:30); Jeroboam set up one of his idolatrous golden calves in Dan (1 Kings 12:26-30), and later Dan became a center of idol worship in Israel (Amos 8:14)

Gen 49:18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.

The Hebrew word for salvation is yeshuwah; at this point in the prophecy, when Jacob is so near death, he calls out for God's salvation - he calls out for Jesus! Yes by faith Jacob looks ahead to Jesus.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

We have seen the evidence, Jesus our Saviour, his death and resurrection, the evidence of the Holy Spirit of truth inside us. Like Jacob we say with confidence I have waited for my salvation, soon it will be complete, we will be with Jesus. Thank you LORD. Jesus is my saviour.

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