Jacob's Passing
Dr. Joe Temple

REVIEW

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 46. We have brought Jacob down to the land of Egypt, and the related portion of the book of Genesis will deal with Jacob as the primary character in the land of Egypt. We mentioned to you that the book of Genesis is built around the lives of the men about whom it speaks. We left Jacob quite some time ago to consider the life of Joseph, because the Scripture centers its attention on Joseph. But now that Joseph and Jacob are reunited, Jacob comes to the center of the stage again, and what we have to say will be related to him.

This is not to suggest that Joseph is not in this portion of the Word. He is, but he is not the primary character. You will remember that we read in chapter 46 of the book of Genesis that Jacob sought the will of God about going down to Egypt, and God indicated to him that it was His will for him to go. A question arises in our minds. Why, if at other times God did not want Abraham and Isaac to go to the land of Egypt, was it that He even directed Jacob to go to the land of Egypt. If the children of Israel were to be kept in slavery in the land of Egypt, why was it that God even directed Jacob to go? We found our answer in the fact that God wanted to multiply the nation of Israel.

REASON FOR BEING SENT TO EGYPT

Keep in mind that God had told Abraham that the descendants of Israel would be as the sand of the seashore and as the stars of the heaven. At this particular time the descendants of Israel numbered twelve plus the children of those twelve. It certainly was a far cry from those thousands God said would come from them. God provided their entrance into the land of Egypt in order that they might have a special place where they could grow and prosper and become the nation which has been called the enigma of the human race. In chapter 46 of the book of Genesis, Jacob and his descendants are numbered for us as those who have come down into the land of Egypt. You will notice in Genesis, chapter 46, verse 28:

Genesis 46:

28And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.
29And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.
30And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.
31And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father's house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father's house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me;
32And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.
33And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?
34That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.

We want to pause long enough to see that in the providence of God, He chose the best portion of the land of Egypt for His own people Israel. When Jacob and his sons came to Egypt, Joseph suggested to Judah that they dwell in the land of Goshen until formal introduction had been made to Pharaoh, and then Joseph went to the land of Goshen to see his father and to confer with his brethren. When he had greeted his father and conferred with his brethren, he said to them, “Now by and by you will come before Pharaoh, and when you do I want you to emphasize to Pharaoh that you are shepherds. I want you to emphasize to Pharaoh that this is the only thing you know how to do. And when you do, Pharaoh will want you to go to the land of Goshen, because shepherds are an abomination to the Egyptians.”

WHY EGYPTIANS DISLIKED SHEPHERDS

We are not told anywhere in the Word of God why shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians…that is, why they did not want anything to do with shepherds. All we can do is depend upon secular history, and secular history tells us that shepherds were an abomination to the Eyptians because for a period of time there were so-called shepherd kings over the land of Egypt, and these shepherd kings were cruel tyrants. When they were deposed and another dynasty arose, the people of Egypt from thence forward looked on a shepherd as someone to steer away from and someone with whom they should not have anything to do. Joseph was well acquainted with all of these things and all the law of the Egyptians. Very wisely he was going to solve the problem by making a suggestion that would be accepted.

In the remaining chapters of Genesis, there is not a great deal of need for explanatory comment. There is just a need for us to go over them, tying the loose ends together that we may have a complete survey of the book.

In the first verse of chapter 47, Joseph has an appointment with Pharaoh. Notice what he says:

Genesis 47:

1Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.
2And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.

WISDOM OF JOSEPH

Notice again the wisdom of this man of God. He did not take all of his brethren. He took only five because five was a significant number to the Egyptians. It was a sort of good luck number. When five people appeared, or five things occurred, or five events followed one after the other, the Egyptians were impressed with the significance of the matter. Joseph was a man of God. He depended upon the leadership of God, but he was also alert to use all the opportunities available for the furtherance of the cause of God. Perhaps it will be wise for us as Christians to profit from such a suggestion.

SEEKING OPPORTUNITY TO WITNESS

You remember the Apostle Paul did that very thing when he was in the city of Athens. He was sitting in the city of Athens and had time on his hands, so he went on a sight-seeing trip. But instead of being involved in all of the ordinary sight-seeing things, he was noticing something that would be a means for him to be a witness for Christ. And sure enough he found it. He found in the city of Athens an altar to an unknown God. The Athenians were so very religious that they built an altar for every god that they had ever heard about. And then they got together and said, “You know, we might have left someone out. What are we going to do?” Someone came up with the bright indea of “Why don't we build an altar to the unknown god, and then we will include everyone,” so they did.

As soon as Paul saw this altar to the unknown god, he called the people together on Mars hill, and he said to them, “I perceive that in all things you are a very religious people.” And they paid attention right away because they were being complimented, and they liked the sound of that. He said, “I notice that you even have an altar to an unknown god. Well, I want to say to you that I have come to tell you about Him. I know who He is.” And he was able to preach to them the Lord Jesus Christ. I really believe that had he not been alert to notice the altar to the unknown god, he would not have had an opportunity to witness.

Joseph likewise in this important position knew the importance of the number 5, so he took five of his brethren to visit Pharaoh. Notice Genesis, chapter 47, verse 3:

Genesis 47:

3And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.
4They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.
5And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee:
6The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.

You see how Joseph in the wisdom God gave him accomplished his purpose, and Pharaoh thought it was his idea. He was so sure that they should be in the land of Goshen he had them move in there to begin with, and then he presented the matter to Pharaoh in such a way that Pharaoh thought that he was being very generous…even suggesting that they occupy that land permanently. That was what Joseph had planned all the time.

JACOB MEETS WITH PHARAOH

In verse 7, we read:

Genesis 47:

7And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
8And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?
9And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.
10And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.

I would like for you to notice the testimony that Jacob gave to Pharaoh in verse 9.. It is not a very happy testimony, and I call attention to that fact because a little later you are going to hear another testimony that Jacob gives. And it is as different from this testimony as daylight is from dark, which indicates that many times our testimonies are not always related to our basic experiernce, that sometimes our testimonies are colored by the circumstances which surround us.

THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE BECOME SERVANTS

In the remaining portion of chapter 47, there is presented the description of how Joseph obtained for the Pharaoh of Egypt all the land of Egypt, so that the citizens of Egypt became tenant farmers for the king. This is a matter of history, but no mention is made in history of how this amazing thing was accomplished. The Word of God tells you how it was. The people came to Pharaoh first to ask for food, because two years of famine had already been in the land. And Pharaoh said, “You will have to talk to Joseph about food.” And Joseph said, “Well, it is here. If you want to have it you will have to pay for it.” They brought their money to buy the food. By and by their money was gone, so they brought their land. By and by their land was all signed away, and then they gave themselves in servitude to the king.

There is a great deal of discussion as to whether or not Joseph should have done the thing in this way, whether or not Joseph should have planned a thing like that. But financiers tell us…and we are not taking the time to read this because I do not know whether it would profit us a great deal…but financiers tell us that actually the people were far better off in the arrangement Joseph made for them than if they had continued to own their own property. Because according to the process which Joseph suggested, they had four-tenths of everything they produced clear of any expense of any kind. That was much better than they had earned when they owned their own property. So what seemed to be something unfair was really a provision in the mercy of God for these people.

JACOB'S DEATH

If you will look at verse 27, we read:

Genesis 47:

27And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.
28And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.

We might pause long enough to emphasize that what we said to you in the beginning, that the land of Egypt was God's provision for the nation of Israel, is indicated here, because according to this verse, Jacob was still in Egypt twelve years after the famine was over. In verse 29:

Genesis 47:

29And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: [keep in mind that Israel and Jacob are used interchangeably here in referring to the same man]: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:
30But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said.
31And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.

This passage of Scripture can best be understood, I think, by turning to the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, where the Holy Spirit makes a comment on this very thing that we have been talking about. This chapter, as most of you realize, is God's Hall of Fame in which the names of those who performed a great feat of faith are recorded. Notice Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 21:

Hebrews 11:

21By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

REASON FOR DESIRING BURIAL IN CANAAN

I want us to look for a moment at the last statement of this verse. We will notice the first statement in just a moment. The last statement says, “He worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.” I asked you to turn to this portion of the Word that you might see the meaning of the statement we read in Genesis, chapter 47, verse 31…that Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head. This is the expression that denotes that Jacob took his staff…not the bed's head, but his staff…and bowed his head upon his staff and worshipped the Lord because he believed God's Word.

Did you notice, Paul said that he did this, and we are going to notice what he did in the next chapter by faith. Let that sink in for a moment. This was faith in the Word of God. God had said that Jacob and his descendants would eventually rule the land of Canaan. He believed it so much that he was not willing for his body to stay in the land of Egypt. He wanted his body to be removed to the land of Canaan. I wonder if our faith is as living and as active as that. Most of us, I suppose, would never be so serious about a promise of God as to be concerned about our place for burial, but Jacob was. Notice this other act of his faith, in chapter 48:

Genesis 48:

1And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, behold, thy father is sick:…

This was some time afterward. Get the picture. Joseph had made one trip to see his sick father and had gone back to the capital of Egypt and was keeping busy with his work. Then word was sent to him that his father was ailing again, and was at this time possibly very near death.

Genesis 48:

1…and [so Joseph] took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
2And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.
3And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
4And 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 believed this enough that he did not want to be buried in Egypt. Now in verse 5:

Genesis 48:

5And 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.
6And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.

Let us pause for a moment and realize what we are reading and notice the accuracy of the Word of God. In verse 5, Jacob said to Joseph, “Joseph, I want to adopt Ephriam and Manasseh to replace Reuben and Simeon, my own two boys. I am going to disinherit them. I want to replace them with Manasseh and Ephriam.” You may wonder just why Jacob would want to disinherit these two and how we know actually that that is what he is talking about. I would like for you to turn to the book of I Chronicles, chapter 5, for an illustration of how when we study the Word of God we should learn to compare Scripture with Scripture. No Scripture is of any private interpretation, but every Scripture ought to be interpreted in the light of all other related Scriptures. In the book of I Chronicles, chapter 5, verse 1, we read:

I Chronicles 5:

1Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.

You see, the Spirit of God has recorded here in I Chronicles that Jacob found it necessary to replace Reuben. Reuben defiled his father's bed. The story is told of how he took one of his father's concubines and disgraced the whole family with an act of immorality. When we get to chapter 49 of Genesis, there will be an account of why he replaced Simeon. As far as God's blessing was concerned, Jacob had to replace Reuben and Simeon with Ephraim and Manasseh.

We should pause long enought to emphasize, learning a lesson, that though Reuben and Simeon remained the sons of Jacob, they lost the blessing he had stored up for them, because of their disobedience and sin. Likewise, it is possible for those of us who call ourselves by the name of Christ to lose the blessing that God has stored up for us though we still retain the filial relationship. The New Testament speaks of it in a different manner. The New Testament speaks of it as losing the reward which you have wrought. The New Testament speaks of is as losing the crown that God has in store for you.

REMEMBERING RACHEL'S DEATH

Back to Genesis, chapter 48. We read verse 7, where Jacob says:

Genesis 48:

7And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me 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.

We might point out to you that the phrase in verse 7, “Rachel died by me,” should be translated, “Rachel died to my sorrow.” Here is an unusual thng in the Old Testament. Jacob's love for Rachel was never surpassed, nor was she supplanted by anyone else. All these years later he still mentions his sorrow of heart at the death of Rachel.

BLESSING JOSEPH'S CHILDREN

In verse 8:

Genesis 48:

8And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?

Remember that his eyesight was dim. He knew that there were others there. He did not know who they were.

Genesis 48:

9And 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.
10Now 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.
11And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.

Pause for a moment and remember that I told you that the testimony Jacob gave unto Pharaoh was not a very good one. Remember what he said to Pharaoh in Genesis, chapter 47, verse 9:

Genesis 47:

9…The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

It is just another way for Jacob to say, “I have had a hard time. God has dealt roughly with me. Nothing has gone right for me.” But notice the difference in this testimony. He was now about ready to enter into the presence of his Father, and he said in chapter 48, verse 11:

Genesis 48:

11…I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.

You will also remember that the brethren of Joseph had brought a report to Jacob that he had been killed by a wild animal, and Jacob gave him up for dead. And now he is saying, “You know, I did not think I would ever see your face again, but isn't God good. I not only see your face, I see your children. It is amazing how good God is.” There is quite a different note in this testimony, isn't there, than in the one he gave to Pharaoh. The difference lay in the fact that he had had time to evaluate things. He had had time to recognize that which was of God and which represented the chastening hand of the Lord. Notice chapter 48, verse 12:

Genesis 48:

12And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
13And 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.

BLESSING THE YOUNGER SON FIRST

It is important for us to notice this closely: Joseph was interested in the welfare of his boys, and he placed them before his father so that the eldest would be under his father's right hand…the right hand is the source of blessing…and the next eldest would be under his father's left hand. And he thought, “I have it all arranged. The old gentleman cannot see, but I will fix it so the blessing will be exactly right.” But Joseph with all his wisdom reckoned without the foreknowledge and predestination of God. And so, if you will notice in verse 14:

Genesis 48:

14And Israel [keep in mind that is Jacob] stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, [notice] guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

Guiding his hands knowingly. Of course, you understand what he did. The way the boys were placed, had he stretched out his hands this way he would have been blessing the elder first and not the younger, and that was what Joseph wanted. But Jacob was acting in the faith of the Old Testament patriarchs and as a prophet of God. So knowingly, though he could not see, he crossed his hands and gave the blessing the way God intended it instead of the way Joseph had planned.

Joseph, of course , was like a lot of us, and was very much concerned about it because he did not want the two boys to be blessed in this manner. Notice verse 15:

Genesis 48:

15And 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,
16The 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.
17And 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.
18And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
19And 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.
20And 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.

REVISING HIS TESTIMONY

Let us pause for a moment and go back and notice the testimony that Jacob gave in the process of blessing, because I want you to see again that it was so vastly different from the testimony he gave before Pharaoh. How much better it would have been had his spirit been such that he could have given this testimony to the heathen king. But you will notice in verse 15:

Genesis 48:

15And 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,
16The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads;…

Here is the threefold reference to God. When he was speaking before Pharaoh, he said, “Few and evil have my days been. It has hardly been worth while to live.” But now, when he can look at things differently, he is saying, “It has been good to have fellowship with God.” That is what he means when he says, “God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk.” “And God,” he said, “has fed me all my life long unto this day.” You see, Jacob believed in living by faith. No, he was not in fulltime Christian service. He was a rancher if we want to use terms that are used today, and he worked hard, as you remember his life in the book of Genesis. But he said, “God is the One who has fed me all this time.” That is the true secret of a life of faith…to realize that no matter how much of your own effort is used in securing that which you have, it is still God who has given the blessing.

ANTICIPATING THE RETURN TO CANAAN

And notice in verse 16 he said, “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.” This Angel is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. I have pointed out to you before in our studies of the book of Genesis that when you find the words the Angel , or the phrase the Angel of the Lord , it is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jacob gives glory to the Lord Jesus Christ in this paragraph, saying, “The Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed me from all evil.” With this testimony he blessed these two boys. And notice verse 21:

Genesis 48:

21And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.
22Moreover 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.

Notice again Jacob's tremendous faith when he said, “God will bring you again to the land. I believe God's word.

In chapter 49, Jacob, still on his death bed, remember, called together his twelve sons and said in verse 1:

Genesis 49:

1…Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
2Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

Once again we would like to remind you that Jacob is speaking now not as an ordinary man, but as the prophet of God. The things he says about his twelve boys are things that are naturally fulfilled. If we had the time, and I believe you could do it yourselves as profitably as we could spend the time in doing it here, if we had the time to trace each one of these things through the Word of God, we would find that each prophecy became reality.

PROPHESYING WEAKNESS FOR REUBEN'S TRIBE

In verse 3, we read:

Genesis 49:

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

That was what Reuben should have been because he was the firstborn of his father. Greater stress was placed upon the firstborn of the family then than now, but you will notice he said, “You are my firstborn, my might, my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.” But notice the contrast in verst 4:

Genesis 49:

4Unstable 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.

Reuben, Jacob said, would never be a stable tribe. You will keep in mind that he is thinking not only of the individual, but of the descendants of the individual. If you would take the time to follow the tribes through the record of the book of Exodus, and again through the records that are given in the books of First and Second Chronicles, you would find that his prophecies were fulfilled. And isn't the designation apt? Is there anything more unstable than water?

FORETELLING HARDSHIP FOR SIMEON AND LEVI

Simeon, in verse 5:

Genesis 49:

5Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
6O 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.

Notice here again: As with Reuben, so with Simeon and Levi, a reference is made to the course of history. This is a reference to something that we have already seen in the book of Genesis when the Shechemites defiled the daughter of Jacob, and Simeon and Levi did deceive them into a workable plan whereby they were able to kill all the men of Shechem and capture off the women and all the spoils. So horrible was this that Jacob said, “I don't want to know the details. I have been disgraced by what has happened.” In verse 7, he said:

Genesis 49:

7Cursed 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.

Here again, that very thing happened. For example, the Levites never owned a portion of ground in all the land of Canaan. They never owned title to any piece of land. That is just by way of illustration of what you will find if you take the trouble to follow through.

JUDAH, A TRIBE OF RULERS

In verse 8:

Genesis 49:

8Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise [the name Judah actually means praise ]; thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.
9Judah 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?

It has been pointed out that this lion in various states of growth is an illustration of the history of Israel. You will notice in the 9th verse a lion that is stoopng down and a lion that is couching ready to pounce upon his prey, and then an old lion. Of course, this needs practically no comment, because we are perhaps more familiar with what is said about Judah than with what is said about any other one of the boys. In verse 10:

Genesis 49:

10The 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.

Judah, you will remember, was the tribe from which David came. The Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Judah was the tribe from which the kings of Israel came. The 10th verse is a promise concerning the Messiah, and it was interpreted by all the Rabbinical scholars, and is so interpreted by anyone who rightly divides the Word of truth. The word Shiloh is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who brings peace . “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until the ‘Peacemaker' come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

ZEBULUN TO DWELL BY THE SEA

In verse 13:

Genesis 49:

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

This is not much to say about anyone, but it is striking that it was said, because of course it means that Zebulun would be staying on the seacoast, so to speak. That is where the tribe of Zebulun was settled. When you get over to the book of Joshua, you will find that the divisions of the land were made by lot. That was the manner of determining things in the Old Testament, and no one knows for sure what the lot was. It might have been two stones. It might have been two straws, one longer than the other. But it was some means of determining things, and the lot was cast for where each individual would settle. And lo and behold, when the lot was cast for Zebulun, it fell on the seacoast, exactly as God's prophet had said. We are reminded of what a wise man said about that…Solomon in the book of Proverbs: “The casting of lots may be to men, but the falling thereof is determined by the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33). God can order His way regardless of what others may do.

ISSACHAR TO BECOME SERVANT TRIBE

In verse 14:

Genesis 49:

14Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:
15And 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.

That is just a very polite way of saying that Issachar was good for nothing, that he was one tribe of all Israel that would become a servile tribe.

PROPHECIES CONCERNING OTHER SONS

In verse 16:

Genesis 49:

16Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

This is another way of describing Dan's ability to protect the land of Israel from the invasion of the enemy. Once again I would remind you that this all would be brought out if you would take the trouble to follow through these names to the end of the record. In verse 19:

Genesis 49:

19Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

That is a rather interesting prophecy, isn't it, because it indicates that there will be defeat, but ultimate victory. In verse 20:

Genesis 49:

20Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.

He will live on the fat of the land. In verse 21:

Genesis 49:

21Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.

BOUNTIFUL BLESSINGS FOR JOSEPH

And now down in verse 22:

Genesis 49:

22Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:
23The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:
24But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
25Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
26The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate [or separated]from his brethren.

It would seem as we read this paragraph that Jacob would run out of words to tell of the blessing that would come to rest upon Joseph because of the position he held. Notice in verse 23 how archers grieved him, shot at him, and hated him, but the thing that kept him was that his bow abode in strength and the arms of his hands were made strong by the arms of the mighty God of Jacob. I do not think that it would be amiss to realize that God can do for us what He did for Jacob. He can make the hands of our arms strong at this particular time of testing, too.

BENJAMIN TO BE WARLIKE

In verse 27:

Genesis 49:

27Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

This is indeed a strange prophecy, because Benjamin was the favorite son of Jacob other than Joseph. Benjamin and Joseph were brothers…that is, they had the same mother…and Benjamin was held close to the heart of Jacob. And yet when the Spirit of prophecy was on him, he had to say this terrible thing about Benjamin. Benjamin was the most warlike of all the tribes of Israel.

FINAL REQUESTS AND DEATH OF JACOB

In verse 28 we read:

Genesis 49:

28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.
29And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.
31There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.
32The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.
33And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the Ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

That is an interesting way to die…to be in full possession of your faculties, so that you can say everything that you want to say to your loved ones and to your children, and after it is said, pull your feet back up into the bed (he was sitting on the side of the bed, mind you), pull the covers up and depart this life, being gathered to your fathers. The phrase being gathered to his fathers is another Old Testament phrase which proves there is a life after death.

JACOB'S FUNERAL

In chapter 50, there is a record of Jacob's funeral. It is interesting, but it needs no particular comment. It was a tremendous funeral. All the elders of Egypt attended the funeral with all their servants. And Jacob's name was so well known in the land of Canaan that they even named a place or two after him, which proves that it was something they had never seen before and that they were never to forget.

JOSEPH PROMISES KINDNESS TO BROTHERS

In the paragraph which begins with verse 15 of chapter 50, we refer briefly to a portion of the Word at which we have already looked in our study of the book of Genesis…the great concern that the brethren of Joseph had, now that their father was dead, that Joseph would turn against them. You will remember that we read in verse 19:

Genesis 50:

19And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
20But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
21Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

Again we are reminded that when we are in the center of God's will, what men intend for evil against us God can intend for good. God can very well turn around and make exactly opposite what was intended.

JOSEPH'S LAST REQUESTS AND DEATH

In the remaining verses is the sequel to this very interesting story in the book of Genesis:

Genesis 50:

22And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.
23And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation:…
24And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
25And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.

And were we to take time to turn to chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews again, we would see that this is another illustration of tremendous faith. In verse 26:

Genesis 50:

26So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

And remained there until the children of Israel left Egypt and returned to the Promised Land. Thus ends the story of the book of Genesis, one of the most interesting books related to the providential dealings of God that we have in the Word of God.


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