A Book About Blessing
Seeing the big picture
When God created the first people, he blessed them (, )
This was a universal blessing on all of mankind
But this blessing was lost due to sin and rebellion
The blessing was replaced by thorns, thistles, conflict, suffering, and death
Worst of all, the relationship originally enjoyed by mankind with their Creator was broken - they were driven out of the Garden and away from the presence of God
Blessing turned to curse
But God had a plan to restore the blessing
The Book of Genesis is the story of God working to do that
We find his promise to do that
And we find how the restored blessing has partially come into the cursed world
But as we read, we learn that the blessing would not come without struggle
It would come through pain
And it would come over a great amount of time
In , God calls Abraham and Sarah and promises to bless them
And to make them a blessing to the whole world
From Abraham, this blessing is passed to his son Isaac
From Isaac, this blessing is passed to Jacob
happen within the context of the passing of the blessing of God
In , we read about the double blessing for the sons of Joseph - Ephraim and Manasseh
Now, in , Jacob gathers all of his children together to give a final word of blessing to each
What do you think of when you hear the word “blessing”?
Something good, right?
Well, not everything within is going to be “good”
Some of these blessings do not seem like blessings at all
But we read in that Jacob blessed them with the blessing suitable to each
So, if some things are not good, how can we call these things blessings?
Because of the big picture
The entire family is blessed as the future nation of Israel (cf. )
These sons would become the twelve tribes of the nation
This nation would have a special relationship with God as his witnesses in the world
To bring blessing to the world
All of Jacob’s sons would be a part of the blessing (unlike Abraham and Isaac, whose other sons were not included)
So, even as we read this chapter and some things do not seem like blessings, keep the larger context in mind - and we see that all twelve are blessed
Blessing the Twelve
We will not look at every one individually, but I want to draw your attention to a few things
First, notice that some of the blessings are much longer than some of the others - some are several lines long, some are only a few words
Notice whose is the longest - Joseph’s ()
A reminder that it is Joseph who has received the double portion
Notice also what is said about the oldest three sons
Reuben’s sin with his father’s concubine
Simeon and Levi - their sin in slaughtering the men at Shechem to avenge their sister’s rape
As a result of these sins, these tribes would face judgment
Then we come to Judah
We find blessing without the mention of judgment
Let’s look at this one a little more closely, because it is important for the rest of Scripture
Jacob describes Judah’s future as a leader among his brothers ( - “your father’s sons shall bow down before you”)
He was granted the position of authority ()
This version says “until tribute comes to him”
Some translations say “until Shiloh comes”
Others say “until he comes to whom it belongs”
Why the differences?
Because there is debate about the meaning of the Hebrew word “Shiloh”
So, some translations do not translate the word, but just put the Hebrew word there
Some translate the word as “tribute” by accepting different vowels and looking at how it parallels with the next line - also this was a way it was understood in some ancient Jewish rabbinic teaching
“To whom it belongs” is used by some because if you apply still other vowels this is the meaning you get - and this is how it is translated in some other ancient translations like the LXX
The meaning, regardless of the translation, is that the place of authority would remain with Judah until the time of fulfillment
And we find a description of the abundance of the land that Judah would inherit in
Binding the foal and donkey to the vine?
The choice vine?
You would not normally do such a thing because it could harm the vine
But when things are so plentiful, you do not worry about such things!
Things are going to be so good that you do your laundry in wine!
Not literally - probably wouldn’t be very effective!
Tells us of the abundance!
A modern day way of saying this?
Over one billion people in the world do not have access to clean water - think how they would respond to hearing that we use it to clean our floors and flush our toilets
Over one billion people in the w
His eyes and teeth are a picture of health and perfection because of the abundance
Many years later, the nation would ask for a king to lead them
The people would request Saul
He failed as a king
After Saul, God chose David - from the line of Judah - to be king
God would go on to make a covenant with David
God promised David that his throne would never end ()
This promise is what led the people to look for a Messiah
The Gospels tell us that Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise
The promise originally spoken to Judah in
Later given to David
This is what we read in - Jesus’ relationship to the line of Judah and David
This is why we see Jesus referred to as the “Son of David” in the Gospels
And we find these words in
The Lion of the tribe of Judah (cf. )
The root of David
The Throne of Christ
In the blessing of Judah, we find the promise of the reign of Christ
The Messiah who would bring blessing to the world by paying the penalty for sin
And the Messiah who would rise from the dead to reign forever
No more curse - but healing
The eternal throne of God and the Lamb
The blessings restored!