The Blessing of Israel
3155 Blessing Upon Blessing
A tract entitled The Bruised Reed led to the conversion of Richard Baxter. He wrote The Saints’ Rest which was blessed to the conversion of Philip Doddridge. Doddridge wrote The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul. William Wilberforce from reading this book found Christ and wrote his Practical View. This book was instrumental in the conversion of Leigh Richmond who wrote The Dairyman’s Daughter which has been translated into more than 50 languages, and has been blessed to the conversion of thousands.
It is related of Dr. Goodel, that when he was through Nicomedia, he left with a stranger a copy of The Dairyman’s Daughter, printed in the Armenian Turkish language. Seventeen years afterwards he visited Nicomedia, and found a church of more than 40 members, and a Protestant community of more than 200 persons. That tract with God’s blessing did the work.
—Dr. George W. Truett
The Invitation to Blessing - Genesis 49:1-2
Reuben’s Blessing - Genesis 49:3-4
Simeon and Levi’s Blessing - Genesis 49:5-7
Judah’s Blessing - Genesis 49:8-12
The word “until” does not mean that the role of Judah’s house ceases with the coming of the king. The word “until” (ʿad kî) does not always indicate a break from the preceding action, but it may indicate continuity with the past action and which reaches a fuller expression.
So rich and abundant is the wine that he has produced, his eyes are “darker” (ḥaklîlî; cf. ḥaklîlût, Prov 23:29) than the wine itself, and his teeth glisten whiter than milk against his red-stained lips.613 The images of wine (vineyard) and milk portray prosperity (e.g., Deut 32:14; Isa 55:1).
Zebulun’s Blessing - Genesis 49:13
Issachar’s Blessing - Genesis 49:14-15
Dan’s Blessing - Genesis 49:16-18
M. O’Connor observed that of the animals named in the Blessing of Jacob, the snake is the only one that lives alone. Dan’s move to the far north put it at a great distance from the center of Israel’s life.
Dan is likened to a snake that effectively brings down a horseman, probably to be understood as an interloper (v. 17). The usual word for “snake” (nāḥāš) is matched by the rare term “viper,” occurring only here (šĕpîpōn, “horned snake”?). The imagery of a small, obscure snake that strikes (“bites,” nōšēk) an unsuspecting passerby illustrates the stealth of this lethal opponent (e.g., Jer 8:17; Amos 9:3). The tactic of surprise attack brought down the more prosperous but trusting city Laish (Judg 18:7, 10, 27). A reflex of the garden imagery (3:15) is apparent, where snapping at the “heel” injures the victim (cf. Gad, v. 19). Moreover, “heel” (ʿāqēb) in vv. 17, 19 recalls the play on Jacob’s name (25:26; 27:36). The picture of Dan is not as victim but victimizer, like the serpent in the garden or Jacob the deceiver.
Gad’s Blessing - Genesis 49:19
Asher’s Blessing - Genesis 49:20
Naphtali’s Blessing - Genesis 49:21
The allotment of Naphtali lay in the upper Galilee, west of the lake of Galilee, extending northward along the Jordan River (Josh 19:32–39).
One of the distinctive features of Naphtali in the giving of the tribal inheritances is the absence of a northern border specifically delineated. This unrestricted northern frontier may be reflected in Jacob’s picture of the hind unfettered to roam where it pleased. Naphtali possessed remarkable natural resources that made for a beautiful and bountiful land, truly one “full with the blessing of the LORD”
49:21 Deer-like speed and agility marked Naphtali’s military prowess (cf. Jdg 4:6; 5:18). The song of Deborah and Barak, who hailed from Naphtali (Jdg 4:6), is representative of his eloquent words (Jdg 5).
Joseph’s Blessing - Genesis 49:22-26
Prosperity - Genesis 49:22
Protection - Genesis 49:23-24
Blessings - Genesis 49:25-26
The term “help” (ʿāzar) occurs here for the first time in the Old Testament. It is well known as an element in names referring to God, for example, “Ebenezer” (1 Sam 7:12). Typically, the word group ʿ-z-r describes military assistance (e.g., Josh 10:4; Isa 41:10) or personal assistance (e.g., Ps 30:11; Isa 50:7, 9), both human and divine. Particularly forbidding to the victim is when there is “no one to help” (e.g., 2 Kgs 14:26; Pss 22:11; 72:12).
Benjamin’s Blessing - Genesis 49:27
The warriors of Benjamin were renown for their skill as left-handed marksmen (Judg 20:15–16; 1 Chr 12:2) and for their bravery (1 Chr 8:40).
Israel’s Death - Genesis 49:28-33
(e.g., Levi, Num 1; 13; Simeon, Deut 32; Dan, Rev 7:5–8)
Application and Discussion Questions
MEEKNESS—a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked (James 3:13).
In the NT meekness (prautēs and adjective praus) refers to an inward attitude, whereas *GENTLENESS is expressed rather in outward action. It is part of the fruit of Christlike character produced only by the Spirit (Gal. 5:23, AV). The meek do not resent adversity because they accept everything as being the effect of God’s wise and loving purpose for them, so that they accept injuries from men also (as Moses above), knowing that these are permitted by God for their ultimate good (cf. 2 Sa. 16:11).