The Life of Joseph - Lesson 43, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis 49:8-12, Judah, thou
art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine
enemies; thy fatherís children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lionís
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? The 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.
This weeks: Binding his foal unto the vine, and his asss colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
This has a meaning for the land of the tribe of Judah and its abundance but it also pertains to the condition
of the land when Shiloh rules.
Notice the language of these verses and how they show abundance.
He binds his foal unto the vine.
And not only his foal but the foalís colt.
Grape vines are in such abundance there is no care about tying a young and spirited animal to them. The vine is strong and able to hold such animals.
There is such an abundance of grapes it is as he washes his garments in them when they are crushed under his feet.
His eyes being red with wine indicates a glow upon his face because of the prosperity of the land.
In John 2:1-11, Jesus turned the water into wine at the marriage of Cana in Galilee and by this miracle signified that the kingdom was at hand.
The creation of an abundance of wine signaled that the Messiah was at hand.
Milk and honey flow in the land and because of the milk his teeth are white.
This blessing of Jacob can also describe the wrathful scene that Isaiah and John express in the books of Revelation and Isaiah.
Revelation 19:11-16, And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Isaiah 63:1-5, Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
So Judahís blessing is one that points to the coming Messiah in all his glory and all his wrath and points to Judahís line out of which Messiah would come.
Now having finished with Judah, Jacob turns to Leahís sixth son, for an unknown reason, skipping her fifth son Issachar.
Genesis 49:13, Zebulun 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 has also been translated thusly: Zebulon shall dwell toward the seashore, Yea, he shall be toward the shore where ships come, And his flank shall be toward Sidon.
Jacob has no monumental pronouncements here as he had for Judah, but a pronouncement as to where Zebulunís people shall dwell and because of that dwelling what work they shall bear.
In the Spirit Jacob foresees that Zebulunís heritage shall lie up toward the north where he can have contact with those that go down to the sea in ships.
It is not definitely stated that he is to dwell at or on the seashore but toward it.
For from scripture we know that Zebulunís territory touched the sea of Galilee on the east and swept westward over a big portion of the plain of Estralon it went only two thirds of the way to the Mediterranean Sea, having Asher between it and the sea.
Yet the people of Zebulun were to have contact with those whose ships touched the shore.
So the products of the commerce of this region would pass through Zebulon to the rest of the tribes
His emphasis upon dwelling place is also interesting because the name Zebulun means habitation and was given Zebulun by Leah in hopes that Jacob would dwell with her.
Now will my husband dwell with me because I have borne him six sons.
So Zebulun was a constant reminder to Jacob that Leah desired that he dwell with her instead of Rachel.
No man can serve two masters!
Genesis 49:14-15, Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And 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.
Issachar, Leahís fifth child by Jacob, means he will bring a reward; a reward for my hire of my handmaid to Jacob.
Leah gave Zilpah, her handmaid, to Jacob because she had a lapse in bearing children (she had left bearing, the Bible says) but soon after this transaction, she bore Issachar.
She took this to mean that God had rewarded the gift of her handmaid to Jacob and that is why she called him Issachar, he will bring a reward.
She took Issachar as a reward from God and perhaps that is why Jacob tells us that the character of Issachar is one of laziness.
Thinking of children as a reward from God instead of a responsibility that God gives may result in a child that is indulged.
Perhaps this was why Issachar was a lazy man.
And this character flaw will fully develop as his tribe develops.
Jacob calls Issachar strong.
He most likely had a generous amount of physical strength.
Perhaps he was an early weight lifter and liked to develop his muscles.
For what? Most likely for vain purposes.
He is pictured as a strong ass crouching down between two burdens.
The burdens in this passage refers to sheepfolds, stalls where sheep are confined.
He is crouched down between where the sheep are confined, he is pictured as an ass laying down on his four legs.
And he is laying between the sheepfolds where the manure of the sheep was heaped.
It was the dung heap.
This strong ass choose to lay down in a dung heap because of its warmth.
He is an animal that is supposed to be working but he is in a resting position and resting in a dung heap.
So Jacob describes the son as one willing to wallow in filth for his own comfort.
So Issacharís tribe will have strength but the strength is not used.
Jacob paints a picture of a lethargic and un-ambitious people.
And 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.
He saw the good land, he saw a place of rest instead of a place of service and work and by not taking charge he became a charge of others.
What a lesson here for pleasure crazed America!
Most Americans see this land as a good land and a place of rest instead of a place of service and work.
And what will be the result of that viewpoint?
and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.
So he stooped over with his shoulder to take on a burden And became a toiling labor band.
So the characteristic of Issachar was of one who would work for others in work that required only the contented exertion of brute strength.
As long as the comforts of life were provided they were content to be a toiling or working labor pool.
His name says it all, he was content to be a day laborer.
He was content to be a member of a subservient people under compulsory labor.
How many men and how many women are forced to hard labor, and a hard life because in youth they chose the warmth of a manure pile?
How many believers will have nothing to lay at the Lordís feet because they buried their talents during the years when they should have been developing and using them?
So having completed the sons of Leah he now turns to Dan, a son of Bilhah, the handmaid of Rachel.