● Gen 49:22 . . Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.
Jacob's assessment of Joseph is similar to the assessment of a blessed man in the very first Psalm.
"Blessed is the man who has not followed the counsel of the wicked, nor taken the path of sinners, nor joined the company of the insolent; rather, Yhvh's teaching is his delight, and he studies that teaching day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, whose foliage never fades, and whatever it produces thrives."
● Gen 49:23 . . Archers bitterly assailed him; they shot at him and harried him.
The "archers" in that sentence are the kind who wait in ambush.
Well, that certainly happened to Joseph. He was totally ambushed by his very own brothers, and then later on, ambushed by Potipher's wife. But he escaped them all. They thought to ruin Joseph, but he prospered instead.
● Gen 49:24-25a . .Yet his bow stayed taut, and his arm were made firm by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob-- there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel --the God of your father who helps you, and Shaddai who blesses you
It is so easy to admire Joseph's perseverance in the face of overwhelming adversity while overlooking the real reason behind his success. It was Yhvh's providence all the way. Left to himself, it's very likely Joseph would have been dead before he was thirty years old; either by murder, execution, or suicide.
● Gen 49:25 . .With blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lurk below, blessings of the breast and womb.
Those blessings consist of rain, dew, and abundant water resources; all of which depict fruitfulness of the soil and the fecundity of both man and beast.
● Gen 49:2 6. .Your father's blessings surpassed the blessings of my ancestors, to the utmost bounds of the eternal hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the elect of his brothers.
Compare Deut 33:13-17 where Manasseh and Ephraim are indirect recipients of Joseph's blessings, and will apparently conquer and colonize quite a bit of the earth some day in the future.
Jacob pronounced Joseph the "elect" of his brothers not out of a spirit of favoritism, but out of a spirit of prophecy. You can easily tell that Yhvh is micro-managing the entire meeting.
Compared to man, the hills really are eternal; viz: perpetual from one generation to another. Jacob's ancestors included Abel, Seth, and Noah. They were good men but none of them inherited the promises God made to Abraham; which are promises just as eternal as the hills; if not more so.
● Gen 49:27 . . Benjamin rends in pieces, like a wolf-- in the morning he consumes the prey, and in the evening he apportions the booty.
That is hardly the picture of a peaceful, agrarian society. Israel used to be a land of milk and honey (Ex 3:8) and you have to wonder what on earth happened that caused the transformation of a tribe of herders and farmers into human predators.
As a testament to the cruel nature of the tribe of Benjamin, Israel's first king-- ego-driven, selfish Mr. Saul --came from there. (1Sam 9:1-2)
The nightmarish events of Judges 19 and 20 took place in Benjamin's borders and led to the tribe's decimation in a brief civil war.
● Gen 49:28 . . All these were the tribes of Israel, twelve in number, and this is what their father said to them as he bade them farewell, addressing to each a parting word appropriate to him.
Numbering the tribes of Israel is tricky because Jacob has twelve birth sons, and two adopted sons; which adds up to fourteen. But the tribes are always listed so that the numbering comes out to twelve. Compare the list at Rev 7:5-8 where everybody but Dan and Ephraim are named so that the number again comes out to twelve. The same strange numbering system was employed in counting the Lord's apostles. Even after Judas was eliminated, they were still referred to as the twelve. (1Cor 15:5)
● Gen 49:29-33 . .Then he instructed them, saying to them: I am about to be gathered to my kin. Bury me with my fathers in the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave which is in the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre, in the land of Canaan, the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site-- there Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebecca were buried; and there I buried Leah --the field and the cave in it, bought from the Hittites.
. . .When Jacob finished his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and, breathing his last, he was gathered to his kin.
The phrase "gathered to his kin" is an action separate from being buried side by side with kin in a cemetery. Jacob was gathered to his kin immediately upon expiration, but wasn't buried with them till more than seventy days after his demise.
According to Christ, though Jacob's flesh expired many centuries ago in Egypt, he continues to exist somewhere else.
"But now, as to whether the dead will be raised-- even Moses proved this when he wrote about the burning bush. Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, he referred to Yhvh as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. So He is the God of the living, not the dead. They all live unto Him." (Luke 20:37-38)
There is a region in the netherworld where faithful Israelites were at one time warehoused waiting for the resurrection of their bodies. (e.g. Luke 16:19-31, cf. Matt 17:1-9)
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