This entire chapter is prophecy from Jacob, a patriarch.Jacob called them all together to address them.They are not to mingle with the Egyptians but to remain separate, apart and together.Jacob declared God’s purpose and vision as revealed to him by the Holy Spirit and reported it to them.Jacob said what God wanted him to say, not that which he might have wished.“Jacob does not curse their person, but their lusts.”Matthew
Henry, p. 71.
Reuben, the first-born, should have had a double inheritance and
been the leader of tribes of Israel.By his gross sin, he lost this inheritance.Please refer back to Genesis 35, when Reuben had intercourse with Bilhah, his father’s concubine.He was “unstable” always.His descendents do not
really impact upon the future history of the 12 tribes.There are no judges,
prophets, kings or ruler that comes from this tribe.
Simeon and Levi were passionate and revengeful.They murdered the Shechemites and Jacob protested their actions. Jacob
said:“cursed be their anger, for it was fierce…”Levi will, however, perform a good action, in Exodus 32, when they condemn the
worship of the manufactured god, the golden calf.They will be set apart and
serve as Israel’s priests and become scattered throughout
the kingdom in the Promised Land.
Asher will become a rich tribe. In
the Promised Land, Asher will have a good inheritance with the best grain in the land.
Zebulun shall live by the seashore and be a haven for ships.
Issachar will be a “strong-boned donkey.”They become situated in lower Galilee,
a good land.They are patient and worked hard.
Gad will be a “raiding troop.”In the Promised Land, they will reside on the borders and often be attacked but are generally victorious.
Benjamin is described as a “ravenous wolf.”This tribe will spend it energies in petty battles with other tribes and is nearly killed out twice.Yet, from this tribe will come Israel’s
first king, King Saul.And also Paul, the apostle to the gentiles.
Dan shall be a “serpent, a horned snake in the path...”
Later Samson, a Judge from the tribe of Dan, will demonstrate the character of this tribe.
Joseph is described as a “fruitful bough.” A
tribe that was made strong and active through the hand of God, the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
shall be the ones the brothers will praise; he is a “lion’s cub.”“The scepter or leadership shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh (the Messiah, the Peaceful one) comes
to Whom it belongs, and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”Gen
Matthew Henry describes Joseph as a type of “Good Shepard”
of the whole church of God.However, Judah will be the tribe from which the
Messiah (Jesus) will come. “Thus dying Jacob at a great distance
saw Christ’s day, and it was his comfort and support on his death-bed.”Matthew Henry, p. 71.
When Jacob was through speaking, he willingly gave up his spirit
and was gathered to his fathers.“These all (the patriarchs) 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.”Hebrews KJV
Joseph mourned Jacob’s passing.Jacob is embalmed and Joseph requests that Pharaoh for permission to take Jacob back
to Canaan (Hebron) for burial with his forefathers.This is granted.Joseph, his brothers and officials of Pharaoh journey to Canaan to lay Jacob at rest.
After the burial, Joseph and all return
to Egypt.His brothers fear that, with Jacob gone, Joseph will avenge himself
upon them.But Joseph told them:“As
for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be
kept alive, as they are this.”Genesis 50:20 Amp See parallel
at 1 Cor 2:7-8
And Joseph lived to be 110 years old,
died and was embalmed and his bones were kept in a coffin in Egypt.But the brothers gave Joseph their oath they would carry
his bones back to Canaan to rest
with his forefathers.In fact, Joseph stayed in Egypt about another 200 years until
Exodus when Israel returned to Canaan with Moses.(Joshua 24:32)Joseph
lived to see the third generation of his children.
“The death, as well as the
life of this eminent saint, was truly excellent; both furnish us with strong encouragement to persevere in the service of
God.How happy to set ourselves early in the heavenly race, to continue steadfastly,
and to finish the course with joy.”Matthew Henry, p. 74.
Abraham was a prophet,
as were all the patriarchs, and foretold of Israel’s captivity in Egypt through divine revelation from God in Genesis 15:13.Link:Genesis 15-17
The Genesis account lets us know that
God created everything including all the people.And that He owns this world.The world begins in innocence but that innocence is lost when satan deceived Eve.But with the fall came the promise in Genesis 3:15; that the seed of a woman would
produce Jesus Christ.
After the garden, mankind lived by
their conscience.But that also failed and God destroyed life on the Earth through
a flood.From all that lived at that time, God chose Noah and his family.From them, God began anew to repopulate the Earth.
Then mankind tried government, the tower of Babel, with Nimrod being their dictator. This was another failed attempt
because it was about what they (men)) wanted to do rather than about what God wanted to do. Their language was confused
and they were scattered.
came the age of promise when God introduced Himself to Abram (later Abraham) and set him and his descendents apart as God’s
chosen people.These people become a nation set apart through the patriarch Jacob.Jesus appeared, at least twice, and was called the “Angel of the Lord,”Jesus was present with the father in the creation of everything that there is.
The pattern of sin, judgment and mercy
is repeated many times.We also see two types of men, those of the flesh or the
earth and those of the spirit.Paul wrote: ”So it is written: “The
first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the
natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.” 1 Cor
15:45-47 NIVWe also see this repeated.
Abraham’s two sons were Ishmael
and Isaac.Ishmael, the son of the concubine, was the son of the flesh (or the
dust), while Isaac was the son of the promise, the son of the spirit.This is
repeated again with Isaac’s sons, who were Esau and Jacob.Esau was the
son of the flesh while Jacob was the son of the promise.
From Jacob, we have the 12 tribes of
Israel, God’s chosen people.Genesis is then no longer an account of men but an account of a nation.All of the patriarchs are prophets as well as great leaders.They
foresee much that will occur in the future.Joseph was a fore- taste of Christ
and their lives parallel each others in many ways.Christ is anticipated, predicted,
foreseen, pictured and promised throughout the book of Genesis, but always concealed.The prophecy given by God to the Patriarchs always came true and were certain, just as the Word of God always is always
certain.As the chapter ends, Israel is doing well in Egypt, but God had already prophesied
that this would end in slavery and captivity before the predicted return to the promised land.Israel has the promise of the promised land; Christians have the promise of heaven.
We who are Christians have a great
debt to the Jewish people, the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jewish hands wrote each and every word in our
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