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Author Topic: A Journey Thru Genesis  (Read 3499 times)

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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #325 on: September 30, 2019, 08:40:24 am »
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● Gen 47:21-22 . . and Joseph reduced the people to servitude, from one end of Egypt to the other. However, he did not buy the land of the priests, because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh and had food enough from the allotment Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land.

That regular State allotment must have made religion seem like an attractive career path. Their constituents may have been suffering, but the priests were doing just fine and coasting right through all the hard times.

I think it's notable that God doesn't permit Judaism's priests to own land; nor permit them to feed at the Federal trough either, thus making them fully dependent upon the prosperity of ordinary pew warmers. Thus the Aaronic priests were highly motivated to keep the people in a good standing with God in order to keep themselves fed because lack of good standing could easily result in a poor economy in Israel. (cf. Deut 28:1-68)

When Saul was king, there was a time in Israel when the priests didn't even have enough food of their own on hand to supply David's escape (1Sam 21:1-6). That was a pretty good indication that Saul's kingdom had fallen into spiritual  decline during his administration; and definitely time for a change in leadership.

● Gen 47:23-24 . . Joseph said to the people: Now that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you so you can plant the ground. But when the crop comes in, give a fifth of it to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths you may keep as seed for the fields and as food for yourselves and your households and your children.

Four-fifths is equal to 80% which is a pretty good percentage for share-croppers. In addition, there's no mention of either rents or leases. In other words, the Egyptians lived on Pharaoh's land essentially for free. The only rent they paid, if you could call it that, was the one-fifth of the land's produce.

That was a very good deal for the Egyptians because it was flexible. In other words; no matter how well or how poorly the land produced in any given year, whether little or much, the percentage never changed. Thus they were always able to satisfy their obligation to Pharaoh even in years when disease and/or insects decimated their crops. It was virtually impossible to ever fall behind in payments.

Since Pharaoh owned all the land, and exacted neither rent nor lease from share-croppers; it became possible for Egypt's poor to apply for a piece of acreage. While the drought was a curse for some people; it was a blessing for others.

● Gen 47:25 . .You have saved our lives; they said. May we find favor in the eyes of our lord; we will be in bondage to Pharaoh.

The word "bondage" is from 'ebed (eh'-bed) which includes all kinds of servitude; including outright slavery. Another word for "servant" is sakiyr (saw-keer') which is a person who works for wages; viz: an employee.

It's reasonable to assume that not everyone in Egypt took up farming as there would still be the need for goods and services like metal smiths, butchers, seamstresses, barbers, shipwrights, wagon and chariot builders, longshoremen, pottery, merchant marine, general mercantile, weavers, shoemakers, freight haulers, and building contractors; et al: every sort of trade and commercial enterprise imaginable.

Pharaoh had all the money. So then, the barter system probably thrived in Egypt-- the farmers trading out of their 80% and the merchants and tradesmen paying Pharaoh his one-fifth out of what trickled down from the farmers. In other words: in that economy, food was gold.

Apparently few, if any, complained. One thing you could say about the Egyptians; they didn't look a gift horse in the mouth. If not for Joseph's providence, they would have all surely died, and lost everything, and they knew it too. Thanks to him, instead of dying, they all enjoyed a pretty good standard of living. There were some sacrifices to be made, yes, but all in all, they fared pretty well under Joseph's administration.

● Gen 47:26 . . So Joseph established it as a law concerning land in Egypt-- still in force today --that a fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. It was only the land of the priests that did not become Pharaoh's.

The "today" in that passage of course refers of the author's own day.

The 20% flat tax was fair across the board for everybody; rich, poor, and middle class alike-- no deductions and no exemptions.

Thank God Joseph was a man of integrity because the kind of power he wielded has a way of tempting men to do some very greedy things; for example: enforcement of the so-called law of supply and demand. Of one thing we can be pretty sure: Pharaoh's approval rating no doubt broke all the records thanks to his selection of Joseph to manage Egypt's affairs during a very serious national crisis.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #326 on: October 01, 2019, 07:40:34 am »
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● Gen 47:27-28 . . Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number. Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven.

Jacob immigrated to Egypt when he was 130 (Gen 47:9) so he spent as many years with Joseph at the last as he had at the first-- seventeen (cf. Gen 37:2). At this point, the famine had been done and over for 12 years, since it was during the second year of the seven-year famine that the people of Israel arrived (Gen 45:11).

During those 12 years, and no doubt the other five too, Jacob's clan did very well for themselves; so that they eventually became a political element to be reckoned with (Ex 1:6-10). By the time of the Exodus, the Israelites numbered over 600,000 adults, not counting children. Israelites were accounted "children" until the age of 20 (Num 26:2). Here in America, we let children of 18 vote for Presidents. Now that's scary.

It's interesting that another Pharaoh, in the future-- who would enslave them in the book of Exodus --wasn't worried about the Israelites increasing to the point of taking over his country, no, he was concerned they might up and leave it. What's that saying? It's saying, that as a people, Jacob's clan were excellent, productive citizens who accounted for a significant portion of Egypt's gross national product.

The palace itself benefited from their ranching skills (Gen 47:5). No doubt Hebrew beef from the Nile delta became a highly sought commodity everywhere in Egypt. Jacob's people not only maintained a fishing industry, but they farmed too (Num 11:5). And among them were experts in the construction trades (Ex 1:11) and in every manner of skill and artifice (Ex 31:1-6, Ex 35:20-36:7).

That all tells me that the Israelites weren't freeloaders by any means. They were hard workers who put their noses to the grindstone and contributed their fair share to Egypt's prosperity just like today's legal Hispanic immigrants contribute their own fair share to America's prosperity. In point of fact, if today's legal Hispanic immigrants should all up and return to their native lands, America's economy would really feel it. So is it really any wonder then why the US Government does all it can to accommodate Hispanic immigrants; even the illegal ones?
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #327 on: October 02, 2019, 09:35:59 am »
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● Gen 47:29a . . And when the time approached for Israel to die, he summoned his son Joseph

Normally, the patriarchs would convene with a natural firstborn son for serious family business, but that position was transferred to Joseph because of Reuben's tryst with his father's concubine. (1Chrn 5:1)


NOTE: Israel is Jacob's spiritual name (Gen 32:28, Gen 35:10). God informed him that he would no more be called Jacob, but God addressed him by his birth name yet again in Gen 46:2, and spoke of Jacob by his birth name quite a few more times throughout the Old Testament. There's a bit of a mystery attached to Jacob's two names. They may, or maybe not, reflect his dual citizenship: one in the world of men and one in the kingdom of God.

● Gen 47:29b . . and said unto him: If now I have found grace in thy sight,

The phrase "found grace in they sight" seems to be a Genesis colloquialism for someone disposed to do you a favor; e.g. Gen 6:8 where God singled out Noah to survive the Flood.

● Gen 47:29c . . put your hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me.

This is the second, and last, place in Genesis where a hand was placed under a patriarch's thigh during the making of a promise. The first was Gen 24:2-3, with Abraham.

● Gen 47:29d-30a . . Do not bury me in Egypt, but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.

Jacob's statement underscores the fact that when people are gathered to their ancestors, it doesn't necessarily indicate burial because Jacob's remains would be stored in Egypt until such a time as he could be transported back to Canaan. So he would already be at rest with his ancestors prior to actually being buried with them later. (cf. Gen 49:33, Gen 50:3, and Gen 50:12-13)

When you think about it, choosing the location of one's burial site has no practical advantages to speak of. Some people want to buried overlooking the sea or an orchard. But do they themselves really get much of a view? No, they're gone on to the netherworld; and their remains, underground and quite without life or eyesight, have only the inky blackness of a subterranean pit to view, if that.

So then, is there really any significance to Jacob's request? Yes, it means that Jacob believed the land of Canaan was on his own property; rather than just the land of his nativity. He wanted to be buried at home, rather than on foreign soil. God had promised Jacob deed and title to that land back in chapter 35; and although he never really possessed it in his own days, Jacob was confident that God was a man of integrity who would eventually make good on His promises. The patriarchs were amazingly patient. (Heb 11:13-16)

● Gen 47: 30b-31a . . He replied: I will do as you have spoken. And he said: Swear to me. And he swore to him.

The Hebrew word for "swear" is basically a promise, guaranteed by repeating it seven times. When God's name is dragged into the agreement, then it becomes a sacred oath; e.g. Gen 24:2-3.

● Gen 47:31b . .Then Israel bowed at the head of the bed.

There's differences of opinion among the experts how best to interpret that verse; but in context, it appears to me that Jacob has become bedridden, and is-- as best he can for a man of his age and health --doing obeisance to Joseph as a courtesy in the manner that Abraham did with the Hittites back in chapter 23. In other words; Jacob lowered his eyes and nodded his head in a sort of salute; which, protocol aside, was somewhat equal to saying: Okay then; we're good.
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« Last Edit: October 02, 2019, 09:39:20 am by Olde Tymer »

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #328 on: October 03, 2019, 08:08:59 am »
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● Gen 48:1a . . Some time afterward, Joseph was told: Your father is ill

The Hebrew word for "ill" is chalah (khaw-law') and can mean not only sick, but also weak (Judg 16:17) sad (1Sam 22:8) suppliant (1Kgs 13:6) injured (1Kgs 22:34) in pain (Jer 4:31) drunk (Hos 7:5) and evil: as disaster or misfortune. (Ecc 5:13)

● Gen 48:1b . . So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

The visit was probably just a comfort call; like visiting a friend or relative at the hospital. I really don't think it was prompted by a fear that Jacob was going to die at any moment. Joseph's boys apparently came on their own, rather than by request, because Jacob wasn't expecting them; and what kid can resist a trip to grandpa's house.

The boys by this time were young men, having been born during the seven years of plenty, prior to the beginning of the seven years of famine (Gen 41:50). Jacob lived in Egypt at least seventeen years prior to this current event (Gen 47:28), and immigrated during the second year of the seven years of famine (Gen 45:6, Gen 45:11). So his grandsons Manasseh and Ephraim were both in their early twenties by now.

● Gen 48:2 . .When Jacob was told "Your son Joseph has come to see you" Israel gathered his strength and sat up in bed.

No greetings or social graces are recorded from this meeting; though they must have occurred. Surely Jacob wouldn't just launch into a speech the moment his kin walked through the door. How weird would that be; especially since Joseph was Jacob's very favorite son? But Genesis skips over that part of the meeting, and without even so much as hinting how the topic came up at this point in the visit; just goes right to the meat of it.

The speech Jacob is going to make was probably one he had been rehearsing in his mind for some time as he sensed the nearness of his impending death; which would certainly serve to remind him that he was running out of time; so if he was ever going to get these things off his chest, he better do it at the very next opportunity, while he was able, because who really knows how many more opportunities one might have left?

People often put off important things-- e.g. making out their will --till sudden death, or the onset of dementia finally closes the door. Jacob had something important to say about his two grandsons, so it was fortuitous that they came along with their dad to visit grandpa that day.

● Gen 48:3a . . And Jacob said to Joseph: El Shaddai appeared to me at Luz

El Shaddai-- the god who controls the laws of nature (cf. Col 1:17) --is also Yhvh because that's an appellation Genesis labels Him at Bethel (Gen 28:13). And an appellation Jacob labeled Him too, at the very same site. (Gen 28:16-20)

Luz is Bethel (Gen 28:10-19, Gen 35:6-7). That location was an especially sacred site for Jacob because it was his very first personal encounter with God. You know, hearing about God, and reading about God, and praying to God, just aren't the same as actually meeting God. Not the same at all. Head knowledge is one thing, personal experience is quite another; yes, quite, quite another. There's nothing like a close encounter with God to set someone's faith in concrete.

● Gen 48:3b . . and He blessed me

At this point, Jacob paraphrases the essential elements of El Shaddai's Luz blessing, with the exception of one element which I would esteem even more valuable than the prosperity elements: God's ever-abiding companionship.

"Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Gen 28:15)

● Gen 48:4 . . and said to me: I will make you fertile and numerous, making of you a nation; and I will assign this land to your offspring to come for an everlasting possession."

Although Israel's possession of Palestine is eternal, their occupation of it isn't, as the Jews' past evictions have easily demonstrated.

Jacob's statement of the blessing is selective, and left out a couple of items; one of which is that God also assigned the land to Jacob himself, not just to his offspring (Gen 28:13) so God will have to resurrect Jacob in order to make good on that portion of the blessing.

Exactly how Ephraim and Manasseh felt about the next event in Jacob's life isn't stated; nor would they have had a say in it anyway as Jacob was the reigning paterfamilias at the time; and within his own clan, Jacob was only one step in rank below Yhvh.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #329 on: October 04, 2019, 08:04:05 am »
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● Gen 48:5-6 . . Now, your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, shall be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine no less than Reuben and Simeon. Progeny born to you after them shall be yours; but they shall be recorded under the names of their brothers in their inheritance.

Jacob set a rather odd precedent by adopting his own two grandsons Manasseh and Ephraim; thus giving them tribal positions equal in rank to his original sons; and increasing his total number of sons from twelve to fourteen.

Jacob's motive for adopting Manasseh and Ephraim was in sympathy for his beloved Rachel being cut off during her child bearing years, which subsequently prevented her from having any more children of her own.

● Gen 48:7 . . As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).

Manasseh and Ephraim brought Rachel's grand total up to six, two boys of her own, two by her maid Bilhah, and two by Joseph's wife Asenath.

● Gen 48:8a . .When Israel

At this point, Genesis switches from Jacob's earthly name to his God-given name; viz: his spiritual name; probably because the first portion of the interview was personal business while the second half will be conducted in Jacob's official capacity as a prophet.

The Hebrew word for "prophet" is nabiy' (naw-bee') which just means an inspired man. Abel was a prophet (Luke 11:50-51) and Abraham was a prophet (Gen 20:7).

People needn't be high powered prognosticators like Isaiah to be prophets. Anybody whom God empowers with a degree of spiritual intuition is a prophet because prophets aren't necessarily predictors of the future, nor revealers of sacred secrets, but also just simply savvy in the knowledge of God.

Where did they get that savvy? From seminary and yeshiva? From rabbis and Sunday school teachers? No. From God's Spirit.

"Turn you at My reproof: behold: I will pour out My Spirit unto you, I will make known My words unto you." (Prv 1:23)

It was Moses' wish that all of Moses' people were prophets. (Num 11:29)

In the future, they will. (Ezek 36:24-27)
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #330 on: October 05, 2019, 08:03:21 am »
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● Gen 48:8b-10a . . saw the sons of Joseph, he asked: Who are these? They are the sons God has given me here; Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said: Bring them to me so I may bless them. Now Israel's eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see.

The leading cause of eyesight problems in older people is a condition known as Macular Degeneration. The cone cells within the human eye work hard all our lives, and when their waste products build up faster than the body can clear them, tiny yellow spots can form around the fovea. As a person ages, those plaques, along with leaky blood vessels, tend to interrupt normal rod and cone functioning.

When you add
MD into the mix with cataracts, glaucoma, and stiffening of the lens, then the victim is really in a bad state of affairs; and in Jacob's day, there was absolutely nothing people could do about it.

I've heard young people say that old people are cute; and that's probably because of the grandpa/grandma charisma connected with senior citizens. Well; let me tell those youngsters something: getting old is neither fun nor cute; no, not at all. The aging process is a living death: it's cruel, it's disagreeable, and it's destructive.

It disfigures our faces, puts bags under our eyes, diminishes our libido, thins our hair, dulls our hearing, misshapes our figures, makes us smell, sags our flesh, adds pounds where we don't want them, shrinks our muscles, stiffens our joints, weakens our stomach, recedes our gums, robs of us vitality and stamina, makes us look haggard, turns down the corners of our mouths giving us permanent frowns, and seriously diminishes our quality of life as we slowly disintegrate like crumbling infrastructure. The comedienne Joan Rivers once remarked that her best birth control in old age is just to leave the lights on. Another effective birth control for senior citizens is nudity.

It would be difficult to believe that Jacob didn't recognize his own grandsons; but with failing eyesight, it's to be expected that he would require verbal authentication of their identities before proceeding with the sacred business at hand.

● Gen 48:10b-12 . . So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them. And Israel said to Joseph: I never expected to see you again, and here God has let me see your children as well. Joseph then removed them from his knees, and bowed low with his face to the ground.

I seriously doubt the boys were sitting on Jacob's knees since they were grown men; but the wording suggests they had each taken a turn kneeling between Jacob's knees so he could embrace them and then got up and stepped back to let the other in. In the next sequence, the brothers likely knelt again, only this time one on either side, so Jacob could reach the tops of both their heads from a sitting position.

I'm guessing Joseph's bow was either a gesture of whole-hearted approval and/or submission to Jacob's position as the supreme, God-appointed patriarch over Moses' people at that time so that whatever Jacob says, goes, regardless of how anybody else in the family, including Joseph, might feel about it.

Would to God the elderly were treated with such respect nowadays. One of my favorite movie lines is from "Moonstruck" starring Cher and Nicolas Cage wherein the grandpa makes this statement at the breakfast table one morning prior to offering his son a father's advice. "I am old; and the old are not wanted. And if they say it, they have no weight."

In other words: the typical young person really doesn't care too much for an elderly person's opinions; nor even for their feelings. There was a time when my grown son would force me to give him room in a narrow hallway so he wouldn't have to shoulder me aside as we passed. He not only wouldn't yield to a senior citizen, but he wouldn't even yield to his own biological father; and to this day-- in his thirties and no less inconsiderate, no less arrogant, and no less aggressive than when he was in college --actually has the chutzpah to regard himself a Christian man.

● Gen 48:13-14 . . And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel's left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel's right hand, and brought them close to him. But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim's head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh's head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.

Jacob's inspired intuition guided his hands to the boy God wanted to have the higher rank in spite of the natural dictates of primogeniture.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #331 on: October 06, 2019, 08:31:51 am »
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● Gen 48:15a . .Then he blessed Joseph

All three men there that day were "Joseph" so the blessing wasn't really directed to Mr. Joseph himself alone, rather, to his tribe as a corporate body.

● Gen 48:15b . . saying: The god in whose ways my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the god who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day--

On the surface it might appear that the Almighty was Jacob's shepherd beginning at chapter 28, when he was on the lamb from Esau; but in truth, the Almighty was Jacob's shepherd from day one, beginning with Rachel's pregnancy in chapter 25 when God decreed the elder would serve the younger.

That's an interesting note; because it indicates that the Almighty foreknew each and every human being who would value spiritual things; and from eternity, he began making sure they survived any and all misfortune in order to take advantage of His salvation. (cf. Eph 1:4-5)

● Gen 48:16a . .The Angel

Referring to the Almighty as an angel may be unusual; but certainly not disrespectful. The Old Testament patriarchs never once saw the true Almighty in person, nor heard Him speak; they encountered only representations and apparitions. Those served as proxies for the Almighty, and as such, had to be revered.

Stephen reminded his Jewish antagonists that they received the Law via celestial messengers (Acts 7:53, cf. Gal 3:19) but there is no mention of winged beings or otherwise at Mt. Sinai; only smoke, earthquakes, fire, and voices. All those things were the "angels" about whom Stephen spoke.

The "angel of The Lord" appears many, many times in the Old Testament and really means: the messenger of the Lord; which was apparent in a variety of forms. So right at the gun, from Genesis 1:1 on even till now; the only contact that humanity has ever had with the Almighty has been by means of the Angel that Jacob credited with protecting him all along his pilgrim journey just as was promised at Gen 28:12-15.

● Gen 48:16b . . who has redeemed me from all evil--

The word "redemption" is often associated with salvation from the wrath of God; but it primarily means to rescue, spare, and/or provide for and protect. (e.g. Gen 38:6-10, Lev 25:25, Lev 25:47-49, and Ruth 3:1-4:12)

● Gen 48:16c . . may He bless the lads.

Jacob himself was blessed by The Angel in Gen 32:24-29.

Webster's defines "bless" as 1) to speak well of; viz: approve, 2) to confer prosperity or happiness upon, 3) to protect, to preserve, 4) to endow, and 5) to favor.

I suppose there's a middle ground somewhere between blessing and cursing, which could probably be labeled a zone of indifference: but in regards to the Almighty, indifference is dangerously close to a curse because where there's indifference, there's no blessing. Some might consider indifference a blessing in itself, but personally I would far rather be blessed than ignored. To be ignored is to be neglected, and in regards to matters of eternal consequence; that can't be a good thing.
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« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 08:40:56 am by Olde Tymer »

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #332 on: October 07, 2019, 08:43:16 am »
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● Gen 48:16d . . And may my name live on in them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;

Jacob certainly got his wish. The Israelites have survived some pretty extreme genocidal attempts on their existence, but they're still here, and in them, the names of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have remained famous; and a perpetual reminder of the Bible's God.

What is the purpose of Moses' people anyway? To chafe and annoy the world with their arrogance and their superiority complexes and their famous master-race mentality? No, they hold the distinction of being the one political body on earth who's sacred duty is to prevent the knowledge of God from becoming lost forever; a virtual human depository of divine revelation.

"Moses was in the assembly in the desert, with The Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us." (Acts 7:38)

"the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God." (Rom 3:2)

What Jacob conferred upon Manasseh and Ephraim wasn't just the dubious fortune to be identified with the world's most famous patriarchs, but rather, the solemn duty of perpetuating the patriarchs' religion too. That's a heavy responsibility; one that Esau himself scoffed, and finally traded for a temporary pleasure.

Identification with Israel is not something to brag about; rather, it's something to be frightened about.

"Hear this word, O people of Israel, that Yhvh has spoken concerning you, concerning the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt: You alone have I singled out of all the families of the earth-- that is why I will call you to account for all your iniquities." (Amos 3:1-2)

In other words; people called to an association with the Bible's God are held to a higher standard than outsiders.

● Gen 48:16e . . And may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

The Hebrew word for "grow" is dagah (daw-gaw'); which means to spawn.

Webster's defines "spawn" as: to produce young; especially in large numbers.

Curiously, this one verse is the only instance in the entire Old Testament where dagah appears.

Increasing by spawning is quite a bit different than increasing by other means like adoption or naturalizing; so the blessing of spawning that Jacob conferred upon the two men is somewhat similar to the blessing of fertility that God conferred upon Adam and his wife at the very beginning. (Gen 1:27-28)

Being fruitful just means being fertile, and doesn't automatically imply generating a multitude, whereas spawning implies both fertility and massive numbers of offspring together. As an example of the proliferation implied by spawning; Coho salmon lay an average of 3,096 eggs per fish in just one run upriver.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #333 on: October 08, 2019, 07:27:27 am »
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● Gen 48:17-19a . .When Joseph saw that his father was placing his right hand on Ephraim's head, he thought it an error; so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's. Not so, Father; Joseph said to his father; for the other is the firstborn; place your right hand on his head. But his father objected, saying: I know, my son, I know.

Joseph himself was an inspired man; so you'd think he'd instantly perceive that Jacob's prioritizing Ephraim over Manasseh was from God; but didn't. That's curious, and tells me that inspired people aren't always 100% inspired all the time. Inspiration is, after all, a Divine prerogative rather than a personal talent. God is under no one's beck and call; and inspired people are able to understand certain things only as God himself decides when, where, and how to get in their heads and clear things up.

For example according to 1John 2:26-27 all believers are endowed with a special anointing that enables them to grasp God's thoughts; but does that mean they can get by on their own without Spirit-empowered Bible teachers? No. It's via Spirit-empowered Bible teachers that God communicates His thoughts. (Eph 4:11-15)

● Gen 48:19b . . He too shall become a people, and he too shall be great. Yet his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall be plentiful enough for nations.

This is now the third instance in Genesis where the right of the firstborn is seen transferred to a younger sibling. The first instance was Jacob and Esau, and the second was Joseph and Reuben. The important lesson to be learned from this is that in the Bible, the male born first isn't eo ipso the firstborn. That may seem trivial but when its applied to Christ, it's a really big deal.

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." (Col 1:14-15)

Was Christ the first human born in all creation? No; Adam was; and there was a time when Adam was the creation's senior patriarch; but not any more. That honor has been transferred to Christ so that there is not a man on earth superior to that one. (Dan 7:13-14, Matt 28:18, Phil 2:9-11)

● Gen 48:20-22 . . So he blessed them that day, saying: By you shall Israel invoke blessings, saying: God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh. Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. Then Israel said to Joseph: I am about to die; but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. And now, I assign to you one portion more than to your brothers, which I wrested from the Amorites with my sword and bow.

There exists no specific Biblical record of Jacob's own personal conquest of Canaanite peoples; so what Jacob is doing here is apparently predicting Joshua's conquest of Canaan as something so certain to take place that he could speak of it as an historical fact already accomplished; similar to the manner in which the apostle John reported many of his visions in the book of Revelation as having taken place as he watched them.

Jacob was an inspired man, so it shouldn't surprise anyone if he was permitted a vision of his offspring's future successes in Palestine. Whatever Joshua was to conquer in later years, would certainly be credited to Jacob's sword and bow just as surely as if he'd been there and led the attacks himself because it was his own blood kin who eventually did all of it, which would be in keeping with his prediction that "God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers."

Joseph's body returned to the land as a mummy. But the prediction is a reality: Joseph will return to the land some day, not just to be buried, but to take up residence. (Ezk 37:1-14, Dan 12:1-2, Heb 11:8-16)

The "one portion more than to your brothers" was in keeping with the custom of the firstborn son inheriting a double portion of his father's estate.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #334 on: October 09, 2019, 08:15:02 am »
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● Gen 49:1-4 . . And Jacob summoned his sons and said: Come together that I may tell you what is to befall you in days to come. Assemble and hearken, O sons of Jacob; hearken to Israel your father:

. . . Reuben, you are my first-born, my might and first fruit of my vigor, exceeding in rank and exceeding in honor. Unstable as water, you shall excel no longer; for when you mounted your father's bed, you brought disgrace-- my couch he mounted!

Reuben was clearly a reckless, impetuous individual ruled by the passions and impulses of human nature rather than better judgment. Compare Isa 57:20 where the ocean is depicted subject to the forces of nature rather than under its own control.

The affair to which Jacob referred occurred in Gen 35:22. Even today in modern industrial societies, it is not only unthinkable for a man to sleep with one of his father's wives; but even with one of his girlfriends. True, Bilhah and Jacob weren't officially married but still, she was the legal mother of two Israeli tribal heads: Dan and Naphtali.

Because of his illicit tryst, Reuben lost the firstborn's position (1Chrn 5:1) demonstrating once again that the biblical rank of firstborn isn't restricted to the son born first, but is a transferable status that can be bestowed upon a younger male sibling.

● Gen 49:5 . . Simeon and Levi are a pair; their weapons are tools of lawlessness.

With Rueben demoted, Simeon would have been next in primogeniture, and after him; Levi. But the two men are alike as peas in a pod and brothers in arms-- they're both criminals who simply cannot be trusted to conduct themselves in a manner befitting the honor and the dignity properly associated with the position of Israel's firstborn. If Reuben was water, then Simeon and Levi are leaky boats with no oars, no sail, no rudder, and no compass.

Ironically, Levi produced Aaron, Israel's line of high priests; and the whole tribe of Levi is exempt from war though they were sired by a bloody man. It would appear then, that the office of Israel's firstborn is far more sacred than any of the Levitical priests, including the Aaronic category.


NOTE: Moses descended from Levi. (Ex 2:1-10)

● Gen 49:6a . . Let not my person be included in their council, let not my being be counted in their assembly.

Simeon and Levi were not the kind of people from whom a sensible person would deem it wise to seek advice and counsel. In other words; they were a bad influence, i.e. toxic.

Jacob's initial reaction to the murders committed by two of his eldest sons back in chapter 34 was one of concern for his family's safety, and the effect the deed had upon his reputation in those parts. Not till now does he excoriate the two men for their conduct; and the denunciation is severe.

● Gen 49:6c . . For when angry they slay men, and when pleased they maim oxen.

Simeon and Levi not only committed premeditated murders; but also took satisfaction in cruelty to animals. People like that always justify their cruelty by saying they're teaching the animal a lesson and/or breaking it of a bad habit. But in their case it's a lie. They're just heartless and violent; that's all.

One could almost excuse Cain for murdering his kid brother in a fit of rage because in his day there were no divine prohibitions against murder and/or manslaughter. But Simeon and Levi had no excuse. They didn't act upon a sudden provocation, and both of those men knew full well God prohibited murder and manslaughter because they lived many years after grandpa Noah came off the ark. (cf. Gen 9:5-6)

By all rights, Jacob should have had those two sons of his executed for what they did back in Shechem; but like they say: blood is thicker than water. Jacob let them get away with murder because they're kin, which is the sin of partiality; defined by Webster's as inclined to favor one party over another; viz: bias.

● Gen 49:7 . . Cursed be their anger so fierce, and their wrath so relentless. I will divide them in Jacob, scatter them in Israel.

Jacob was speaking for Yhvh in the last sentence; and the purpose of dividing and scattering was apparently to make it all the more difficult for the two tribes to unite in a dastardly cause.

Jacob cursed only his sons' anger rather than the sons-- actually, their category of anger; which he described as fierce and relentless.

Webster's defines "fierce" as a behavior exhibited by humans and animals that inspires terror because of the wild and menacing aspect of fury in attack. Ferocity is an aspect commonly seen among roaring, snarling lions savagely attacking prey. There's neither sportsmanship nor sympathy in ferocity; only sheer terror, brutality, and blood lust.

Webster's defines "relentless" as: 1) not softening or yielding in determination; viz: tough, hard, and stern, and 2) not letting up or weakening in vigor or pace; viz: constant, persistent.

The wrath of God is depicted in much the same way. (Isa 13:9)
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #335 on: October 10, 2019, 07:27:14 am »
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● Gen 49:8 . .You, O Judah, your brothers shall praise; your hand shall be on the nape of your foes; your father's sons shall bow low to you.

Reuben was the original ranking brother, then the position passed to Joseph, and finally to the family of Judah's grandson David; and that's where it remains to this day. (Ps 89:20-27)

● Gen 49:10a . .The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the scepter from between his feet

Refer to: 2Sam 7:16, 2Sam 23:5, Ps 85:35-38, Ps 89:4 , and Ps 89:30

● Gen 49:10b . . And the homage of peoples be his.

The "peoples" of that verse are non Jews; viz: Gentiles. The jurisdiction of Davidic monarchs is normally limited to their own country, among their fellow Jews; but one is coming in Judah's family who will one day rule the entire world. (Dan 7:13-14 and Ps 2:7-9)

This next prediction is the scariest one of all.

● Gen 49:11-12 . . He washes his garment in wine, his robe in blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.

See: Isa 63:1-6, and Rev 19:15-16

● Gen 49:13 . . Zebulun shall dwell by the seashore; he shall be a haven for ships, and his flank shall rest on Sidon.

Zebulun never did actually occupy a Mediterranean shore (Josh 19:10-16) but their proximity to the coast, via the territory of Ashur, gave them opportunity to earn their livings in sea related trades like stevedoring, ship building, and possibly crews on fishing vessels and cargo ships owned and operated by the Philistines and Phoenicians.

Zebulun's flank didn't extend to the coastal city named Sidon, but to a region generally known as Sidonia-- which included the city of Trye --a territory often labeled Sidon for short.

● Gen 49:14-15 . . Issachar is a strong-boned burro, crouching among the sheepfolds. When he saw how good was security, and how pleasant was the country, he bent his shoulder to the burden, and became a toiling serf.

Men like Zebulun, and Issachar are the invisible people. They don't want much out of life; and they're never really in the news as movers and shakers; the paparazzi don't follow them around, nor are they among the rich, famous, and powerful. Zebulun, and Issachar represent the blue collar labor force, the non-professional working men and women who make a country productive in goods and services.

Unfortunately, the two tribes, on the whole, believed in peace at any price, and were wont to trade their independence for corvee labor in order to avoid conflict with overlords and invaders-- the two notable exceptions being Zebulun's response when mustered for duty with Gideon (Judg 6:35) and the two tribes responses when mustered by Barak (Judg 5:14-15) but they rarely took the initiative to go on the offensive.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #336 on: October 11, 2019, 07:41:02 pm »
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● Gen 49:16 . . Dan shall govern his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.

That prediction alludes to Dan's autonomous attitude towards the other tribes. In point of fact, Dan's tribe didn't join forces with the others in the north to help repel oppressors. (Judg 5:17)

A good example of Dan's autonomous attitude is Mr. Samson. During his tenure as a Judge in Israel (Judg 13:1-16:31) Samson never mustered an army nor led his own men in a charge up a San Juan hill. He fought alone, and he died alone; and seemed to prefer it that way. Definitely neither a commander nor a team player.

● Gen 49:17 . . Dan shall be a serpent by the road, a viper by the path, that bites the horse's heels so that his rider is thrown backward.

A number of poisonous snakes-- e.g. rattlesnakes --don't hunt for food by chasing their prey in racy pursuit but choose rather to coil up and patiently wait along the edges of paths for something to come along. They're typically sluggish on the move but very speedy on the strike. Rattlers, especially, are powerful strikers that don't even have to clamp down to bite. Their strike inertia is powerful enough to drive their fangs into a target's flesh like sewing needles.

When rattlers bite large animals like horses, it's not for food, but generally a reflexive response to a perceived threat; which suggests that Dan's tribe would have hair-trigger tempers that flair up at every provocation-- real or imagined --totally surprising the objects of their fury. People like that are extremely reactive: they're never rational and objective, no, they are emotional, thin-skinned and easily insulted; they get mad over nothing, and every disagreement is an act of war.

It's conceivable that the viper-ish nature of Dan's tribe reminded Jacob of Gen 3:15's prediction to crush the head of the Serpent who caused Man's ruin; and possibly prompted his next remark.

● Gen 49:18 . . I wait for your deliverance, O Lord!

Everyone becomes curious at one time or another how the Old Testament's luminaries were saved prior to Christ's crucifixion. Well, the interesting thing is: they were all aware that Christ was on the way.

"Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow." (1Pet 1:10-11)

A prophet is simply an inspired man-- the earliest known were Abel (Luke 11:50-51) Enoch (Jude 1:14) Noah (2Pet 2:5) and Abraham. (Gen 20:7)

In other words: pre-crucifixion believers looked forward to Christ, while post-crucifixion believers look back.

"Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad." (John 8:56)

● Gen 49:19 . . Gad shall be raided by raiders, but he shall raid at their heels.

Gad's tribe, along with Rueben and Manasseh, chose to settle on the wrong side of the Jordan River instead of crossing over into Canaan (Num 32:1-32). Their decision effectively isolated them from the other nine tribes and left their eastern flank vulnerable to desert marauders; which were more nuisance than anything else as Gad's tribe were competent warriors and able to hold their own. (cf. 1Chrn 5:18)

Though the major portion of Christ's ministry was confined within the national borders of Israel, he crossed over the Jordan on occasion to visit the three tribes on the east side (Matt 11:21, Mark 6:45). Gad was the region of the famous swine-herd suicide. (Mark 5:1-13)

● Gen 49:20 . . Asher's bread shall be rich, and he shall yield royal dainties.

Asher's tribe was apportioned land bordering Zebulun and Naphtali, along the Mediterranean coastline in the region of ancient Tyre. The area was famed for its fertility (Deut 33:24). Ashur was located in a Phoenician stronghold of political and commercial activity. The phrase "he shall yield royal dainties" possibly alludes to the tribe's best produce being sold to supply the homes of Phoenician dignitaries.


NOTE: This chapter in Genesis wasn't recorded in prose, but rather, Hebrew poetry, making it difficult, if not impossible, for translators to correctly interpret some of Jacob's sayings. The poem contains tricky metaphors rather than clear facts; which only complicates the section even more.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #337 on: October 12, 2019, 07:10:13 am »
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● Gen 49:21 . . Naphtali is a hind let loose, which yields lovely fawns.

A hind is a female of the red deer species-- males are harts. (e.g. Ps 42:1)

Red deer aren't a domestic breed; so the metaphor refers to a captured hind being returned to the wild rather than butchered for its meat. Apparently, this particular hind was pregnant when captured, and the hunter knew the unborn would certainly die if he killed their mother. By returning the expectant hind to the field, the hunter helped assure the survival of local herds; and he no doubt intended to hunt the fawns as adults in the future. That was not only humane, but also a very wise conservation measure too.

Exactly what Jacob meant to convey by this metaphor is difficult to ascertain with confidence. It could be that Naphtali's people exhibited artifice, artistry, intelligence, abilities and aptitudes that their enemies would recognize as far too valuable to waste by just indiscriminately killing them off in wholesale slaughter simply to seize their lands and goods.

As an example; some of Nazi Germany's scientists were brought to American and became very useful in developing the USA's rocket science, and subsequently NASA's space program. What if the US had executed those scientists because they were responsible for the buzz bombs that devastated London? No, sometimes human resources are well worth the restraint to spare them.


NOTE: Barak, an ordinary man recruited by Deborah to become a military commander, was of Naphtali. (Judg 4:4-5:31)

● 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 49:26. .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.
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« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 07:12:43 am by Olde Tymer »

 

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