Genesis Chapter 49 Continued
Verses 16-18: Dan, whose name meant “Judge,” fathered an aggressive tribe that would also judge in the nation but would not be known for moral stature or religious faithfulness (Judges 13:2; 18:1; 1 Kings 2:28-30; 2 Kings 2:10:29). Dan would later abandon its land allotment (Joshua 19:40-48), and migrate to the extreme north of Israel (Judges 18:1-31).
Jacob’s closing cry expressed hope for Dan in the day when salvation would indeed come to Israel. Dan, however, is omitted in the list of tribes (in Rev. 7:4-8).
Genesis 49:16 “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
“Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel”: There is an elegant pun, or an allusion to the name of Dan in those words, which signifies to judge, and the sense of them is, there should be heads, rulers, and judges of it, as the other tribes had. And this is the rather mentioned of him, because he is the first of the children of concubine wives as yet taken notice of.
And what is here said of him is also to be understood of the rest of the sons of the concubines. For the meaning is not, that a judge should arise out of him as out of the other tribes, that should judge all Israel, restraining it to Samson, who was of this tribe, as the Targums and Jarchi.
For no such judge did arise out of all the tribes of Israel. Nor was Samson such a judge of Israel as David, who, according to Jarchi, is one of the tribes of Israel, namely, of Judah. For David did not judge as Samson, or Samson as David, their form of government being different.
Genesis 49:17 “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.”
“Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path”: Or be like that sort of serpents called the adder. Or rather, that which has the name of Cerastes, which lies among sand, and being of the same color is not easily discerned, and is often trampled upon unawares, and bites at once, unexpected.
“That biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward”: For this sort of serpents lying in horse ways and cart ruts snaps at and bites horses as they pass along, which bites affecting their legs and thighs, cause them to fall and throw their riders.
This, by the Jewish writers, who are followed by many Christian interpreters, is applied to Samson. Who by craft and policy managed the Philistines, as in the affair of the foxes, and especially in his last enterprise, when he got placed between the two pillars of the house. Which answer, as some think, to the horse heels, as the multitude on the roof of the house to the riders.
But though this may be illustrated in a particular person in this tribe, as a specimen of the genius and disposition of the whole tribe, yet the prophecy respects the whole tribe, and points at the situation of it, which was “by the way”, at the extreme part of the country.
So that they had need of craft and policy as well as power to defend themselves against encroachers and invaders, and describes the general temper and disposition of this tribe, of which an instance may be seen (in Judges 18:1).
And it may have respect to the stumbling blocks and offences laid in this tribe to the rest of the tribes, by the idol of Micah, and more especially by the golden calf set up in Dan by Jeroboam.
Dan’s tribe had some very interesting facts about them. About the time of Samson, he was in the position of leadership. Samson was of the tribe of Dan. Dan’s descendants were the first to fall into idolatry and were not even mentioned in the twelve tribes in Revelation.
Some people speculate, because his tribe was not mentioned in Revelation, that the antichrist might be from his people. It is just supposition. No one knows for sure. At any rate, this statement, his father made of him, was not a good one.
Genesis 49:18 “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.”
“I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord”: Jacob finding his spirits faint, stops and breathes awhile before he proceeded any further in blessing the tribes. And as he found he was a dying man, and knew not how soon he should expire, expresses what he had been thoughtful of and concerned about in time past, and still was.
That he had been waiting and hoping for, and expecting a state of happiness and bliss in another world, where he should be saved from sin and Satan, and the world, and from all his enemies, and out of all his troubles.
And this he firmly believed he should enjoy, and hoped it would not be long before he did. And especially he may have a regard to the Messiah, the promised Savior. And salvation by him he had knowledge of, faith in, and expectation of.
Who may be truly called the salvation of God Because of his contriving, providing, and appointing, whom he had promised and spoken of by all the prophets.
And whom in the fullness of time he would send into the world to work out salvation for his people. And to him all the Targums apply the words, which are to this purpose: “said our father Jacob, not for the salvation of Gideon, the son of Joash, which is a temporal salvation, do I wait”.
Nor for the salvation of Samson the son of Manoah, which is a temporary salvation. But for the salvation of Messiah the son of David (which is an everlasting one).
Who shall bring the children of Israel to himself and his salvation my soul desireth. And though Jacob might be affected with the evils he foresaw would rise up in the tribe of Dan, he had last mentioned, and with the troubles that should come upon all the tribes.
And had some pleasing sights of the deliverances and salvations, that should be wrought for them, by judges and saviors that should be raised up. Yet his chief view was to the Messiah, and salvation by him.
It seems to be just a cry of Jacob for rest in Jesus.
Genesis 49:19 “Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.”
“Gad, a troop shall overcome him”: There is a pun, or an allusion to the name of Gad almost in every word of the verse, which signifies a troop. The whole is a prediction that this tribe would be a warlike one, and have the common fate of war, sometimes be conquered, and at other times conquer, but however should be at last entirely victorious.
All the three Targums refer this to this tribe passing over Jordan at the head of the armies of Israel, into the land of Canaan. In Joshua’s time, which, when they had subdued, they returned to their own inheritance on the other side of Jordan (Joshua 1:12), and so Jarchi. But it rather seems to refer to what befell them in their own tribe, which being seated on the other side of Jordan was exposed to the incursions and spoils of the Moabites and Ammonites.
Who came upon them like troops of robbers, and seized upon their possessions and retained them for some years; as in the times of the judges (see Judges 10:7). And in after times we find the Ammonites in possession of their country (Jeremiah 49:1). Whereby this part of the prophecy had its accomplishment.
“But he shall overcome at the last”: As the Gadites with the Reubenites and half tribe of Manasseh did overcome the Hagarites and Arabians, the war being of God, and succeeded, and they dwelt in their stead until the captivity of the ten tribes (1 Chronicles 5:18).
And thus it is with the people of God in their present warfare state, who are often foiled with sin, Satan, and the world, their spiritual enemies. But at last they are more than conquerors over them all through Christ that has loved them.
Settling in Transjordan exposed Gad’s people to invasions, making them valiant fighters worthy of victory and commendation (1 Chron. 5:18-22; 12:8-15).
Dan was a warlike tribe.
Genesis 49:20 “Out of Asher his bread [shall be] fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.”
“Out of Asher his bread shall be fat”: Which signifies that this tribe would have a sufficiency of food out of their own land, without being obliged to others, and that it would be of the best sort.
It occupied a tract of land, as Andrichomius says, reaching from great Zidon to Carmel of the sea, a space of twenty miles in length; and in breadth, from the great sea to Asor, and even to Naason, a space of nine miles.
The land of this tribe is very fat, he says, and exceeding fruitful in wine and oil, especially in the best wheat. In this tribe, as the same writer observes, among other very fruitful places was the valley of Asher, called the fat valley, which began five miles from Ptolemais, and reached to the Sea of Galilee, and contained more than ten miles in length.
The soil of which was exceeding fat and fruitful, and produced the most delicate wine and wheat, and might be truly called the fat valley (see Deuteronomy 33:24).
“And he shall yield royal dainties”: Food fit for kings, of all sorts, flesh, fish, and fowl. Here King Solomon had one of his purveyors to provide food for him and his household (1 Kings 4:16). Asher’s country answered to his name, which signifies happy or blessed.
In those parts, Christ was much in the days of his flesh on earth. In Cana of this tribe he turned water into wine and in this country discoursed concerning the bread of life himself, who is the best of bread and royal dainties.
Asher benefited much from occupying the agriculturally rich coastal region north of Carmel, and provided gourmet delights for the palace (Joshua 19:24-31).
It seems this land would produce plentifully.
Genesis 49:21 “Naphtali [is] a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.”
“Naphtali is a hind let loose”: Onkelos applies it to the tribe itself, and to the goodness of its land. As for Naphtali, his lot fell in a good land, and his inheritance a fruit bearing one, as it was. For in it was the most fruitful country of Gennesaret, which gave name to a sea or lake by it, and which abounded with gardens, with palm trees, fig trees, and olive trees.
And which, Josephus says one might call the ambition of nature. Strabo, a heathen writer, says of it, that it was a happy blessed country, and bearing all sorts of good things. Jarchi on the place observes this is the vale of Gennesaret, which is quick to bring forth fruit, as a hind is swift to run.
Some will have this prophecy to be fulfilled in Barak, as Ben Gersom, Abendana, and others, who was of this tribe, and who at first was fearful like the hind, and backward to go out to war when called. But afterwards readily went out with Deborah.
And at last gave goodly words in the song they both sung. But it better describes the genius, disposition, and manners of the tribe, who were kind and loving, swift and expeditious in their affairs. Lovers of liberty, well-spoken persons, humane, affable, courteous, of a good speech and pleasing language.
“He giveth goodly words”: To those he converses with; and it may be applied, particularly to Christ and his disciples. And to the inhabitants of this tribe in his time, among which they much were (see Matthew 4:13).
He himself is compared to the hind of the morning (Psalm 22:1). In the title, and to a roe or a young hart (Son of Solomon 2:9; 8:14), for his friendliness and lovingness in himself and for his people. And for his swiftness to do the will and work of his father, being sent out, as the word here used signifies, by him into this world, on the business of man’s salvation.
And so his disciples, who were Galileans, were swift to obey his call, and left all and followed him, and were sent out by him to preach his Gospel. And both he and they may be said to “give goodly words”, as the doctrines of the Gospel are.
Words of grace, truth, and life; wholesome, comfortable, pleasant and delightful. Good tidings of good things, of peace, pardon, righteousness, salvation and eternal life by Christ.
And the inhabitants of this country in Christ’s time were swift to run after him, and hear him. Panted after him as the hart after the water brooks, and both received and gave out the goodly words of the Gospel, and were made free thereby, and so like a hind let loose.
Deer-like speed and agility marked Naphtali’s military prowess (Judges 4:6; 5:18). The song of Deborah and Barak, who hailed from Naphtali (Judges 4:6), is representative of his eloquent words (Judges 5).
Verses 22-26: Addressed to Joseph, but applicable to his two sons (48:15-20). These words thrust forth a contrasting experience of growth and prosperity alongside hostility and conflict. (Verses 23-24), may be a biography of Joseph. No other tribe had such direct reference to the Lord God (verses 24-25), in their blessing as addressed to Joseph
The 4 names for God well reflect Joseph’s emphasis on the sovereignty of his God, no matter the misfortune and grief which attended his way (verse 23). Samuel was from Ephraim, Gideon from Manasseh.
Genesis 49:22 “Joseph [is] a fruitful bough, [even] a fruitful bough by a well; [whose] branches run over the wall:”
“Joseph is a fruitful bough”: Or as one, like the bough or branch of a tree laden with fruit, as he was with children. One of which he called Ephraim from his fruitfulness, and both his sons became numerous, and the heads of two tribes in Israel. And with other temporal fruits and blessings as riches, honor, etc. especially with the fruits of grace and righteousness.
“Even a fruitful bough by a well”: Those are the most fruitful that are near a well or fountain of water, as such trees are which are planted by rivers of water (see Psalm 1:3). This being repeated may have respect to the two boughs or branches of Joseph’s family, or the two fruitful and numerous tribes that sprung from him.
“Whose branches run over the wall”: As such trees set against one another, and by the reflected heat of the sun grow the more, and become more fruitful. The word for “branches” is “daughters”, which some refer to the daughters of Manasseh and Zelophehad, who received their inheritance on both sides of Jordan. Others interpret it of the cities of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, as cities are sometimes called.
Genesis 49:23 “The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot [at him], and hated him:”
“The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him”: His brethren who grieved him with their ill usage, shot out bitter words against him, and hated him for his dreams, and because his father loved him. And they could not speak peaceably to him. They mocked at him, conspired to kill him, stripped him of his clothes, cast him into a pit, and then sold him.
In all which he was a type of Christ, as used by the Jews.
His mistress (the wife of Potiphar), and Satan by her, grieved him with her temptations and solicitations to sin, which were as fiery darts shot at him. But being resisted, her impure love was turned into hatred to him, and she shot her lies, slander, and reproaches, as so many darts at him.
And, as the Targum of Jonathan, the magicians of Egypt, who envied him for his superior knowledge, and perhaps many others in Pharaoh’s court, who were displeased at his promotion, might bring accusations to Pharaoh against him, out of hatred to him.
And Satan and his principalities and powers, whose temptations are compared to fiery darts, are not to be exempted, which they shoot at and grieve the people of God, who are hated by them. Perhaps reference may be had to the wars of the posterity of Joseph under Joshua, who was of the tribe of Ephraim, with the Canaanites.
Genesis 49:24 “But 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:)”
“But his bow abode in strength”: For as his enemies were archers, and had bows and arrows, so had he, and repelled force by force.
But then his bow and arrows were of a different sort, the virtues and graces that he was possessed of, as innocence and integrity, chastity, fortitude, wisdom, prudence and patience, faith, hope, and the like, which remained unmoved. And in their full exercise, notwithstanding the powerful attacks made upon them.
And so his posterity was unmoved and unshaken, and stood firm and undaunted, notwithstanding the powerful enemies they had to deal with, until they were wholly subdued.
“And the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob”: So that he held his bow, and drew it with great strength against his enemies, as an archer being used to the bow, his nerves become strong, and he is not weakened by drawing it, nor weary of using it.
But Joseph had not his strength of himself, but from the Lord, the mighty One, that had strengthened his father Jacob, and supported him under all his trouble. Saints, like Joseph, have their strength, as well as their righteousness, in and from Christ. And when they are weak in themselves, they are strong in him, to exercise grace and perform duty.
“From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel”: From Jacob descended Joseph; or from the God of Jacob it was that Joseph through divine Providence was sent into Egypt to be as a shepherd, to feed his father’s family, and as a stone to uphold and support it.
In which he was a type of Christ, the great and good Shepherd of the flock, and the stone that is laid in Zion, on which the whole spiritual Israel of God is built. The foundation stone on which they are laid, and are safe, and the corner stone which knits them together.
And some think that Christ is principally meant, who in his office capacity was from the mighty God of Jacob, a Shepherd of his providing and appointing, and a stone of his laying; and so Nachmahides says, the stone here made mention of is the same as (in Psalm 118:22).
Genesis 49:25 “[Even] 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:”
“Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee”: The same with the mighty God of Jacob, by whom his hands had been made strong, and he would be still helped, protected, and defended against his powerful enemies. And by whom Christ, the antitype, was helped as man and Mediator against his enemies, and to do all the work he engaged in.
And by whom all the Lord’s people are helped to fight his battles with their spiritual enemies, to withstand temptations, exercise every grace, and do the will and work of God.
“And by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above”: With those blessings, which may be ascribed to the sun, moon, and stars, and their influences as means, and to the rain and dew which descend from there. And as with such temporal blessings, so with spiritual ones in heavenly things in Christ.
“Blessings of the deep that lieth under”: Of rivers, fountains and springs that rise out of the earth from below, which water and make fruitful.
blessings of the breasts, and of the womb”: In increase of children, and of cattle, and those healthy, thriving, and prosperous, which are great temporal mercies; as are the word and ordinances spiritual ones, those breasts of consolation, which such that are born again partake of, and grow thereby.
Genesis 49:26 “The 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 from his brethren.”
“The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors”: Jacob’s blessings were greater and more numerous. Both those which he himself had, and bestowed upon his offspring, than those that Abraham and Isaac had. He having more children than they, and blessings for every one of them.
Whereas, they each of them had but two, and one of these two were excluded from the blessings. Besides, though these blessings were the same in substance bestowed on his ancestors, and by them on him, yet these were more clearly and distinctly given out by him to his posterity, and were nearer their accomplishment.
“Unto the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills, they shall be on the head of Joseph”: That is, continue on him as long as the everlasting hills continue. Particularly those of a spiritual kind, for they endure forever.
The word for “bound” signifies “desire”; and Onkelos paraphrases the words, “which the princes that were of old desired:” meaning either the angels who desire to look into heavenly things, or the patriarchs, who were desirous of the coming of the Messiah, and salvation by him.
And so the Vulgate Latin version is, “until the desire of the everlasting hills should come”; that is, Christ, who is the desire of all nations, in whom all nations of the earth are to be blessed, and therefore desirable; blessings of all kinds are upon the head of the just, as they were on Joseph (Proverbs 10:6).
“And on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren”: Who shunned company and conversation with him, and at length sold him into Egypt, where he was parted from them, and remained separate for many years.
And when they came to dwell in the land of Egypt, they lived in Goshen, and he at Pharaoh’s court, where he was distinguished with peculiar honors, and advanced above them. Of Christ, his antitype (see Hebrews 7:26).
Joseph had already withstood terrible sorrows that would have broken a normal man. God was with him. God preserved him in Potiphar’s house. God preserved him in the dungeon. God prepared a way for him to become ruler in a strange land.
Jacob was speaking a blessing forever on Joseph and his descendants. This fruitful bough could be looking back at the famine in the land of Egypt, and how God miraculously provided for Joseph. It also, was looking to the future for the blessings of God would shower on Ephraim, and Manasseh, and their descendants. His strong arms meant that he was made ruler.
The shepherd was one who cared for the flock, and surely Joseph was that. Everything that Joseph did would be blessed of God. He would have overflowing crops and rain when he needed it. The elements would cooperate with him, as well.
The blessings which Jacob spoke on Joseph far surpassed even what Jacob had received from Abraham and Isaac. God alone chooses who can handle greatness, and he had chosen Joseph from these twelve sons.
Genesis 49:27 “Benjamin shall raven [as] a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.”
“Benjamin shall raven as a wolf”: All the three Targums apply this prophecy to the priests offering the daily sacrifice, morning and evening, in the temple, which stood in the lot of Benjamin, and dividing what was left, and eating it.
But it respects the tribe itself, compared to a wolf for its fortitude, courage, and valor, as well as for its taking by force, it being a warlike tribe. And the Jewish writers say that it is compared to a wolf, because of its strength.
Wolves, said to be devoted to Mars, are called “martial” wolves by Virgiland Horace; and we have an early instance of the valor and success of this tribe in a war waged with all the other tribes. And in two pitched battles, in one with 26,000 men it beat 400,000 (Judges 20:15).
And if this tribe is compared to a wolf for taking by force, this may be illustrated by the remainder of those, after the loss of a third battle, catching and carrying away the daughters of Shiloh, and making them their wives (Judges 21:23). Some apply this to particular persons of this tribe, as to Saul the first king of Israel, who was of Benjamin.
And who as soon as he took the kingdom of Israel, in the morning, in the beginning of that state, fought against all his enemies on every side. Against Moab, Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines, and the Amalekites (1 Samuel 14:47).
And to Mordecai and Esther, who were of the same tribe, who after the captivity, and in the evening of that state, divided the spoil of Haman (Esther 8:1). This is observed by Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Ben Gersom. Some of the Christian fathers have applied the prophecy to the Apostle Paul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin. Who in the morning of his youth was a fierce and ravenous persecutor, and made havoc of the church of God.
And in the evening, or latter part of his life, spent his days in dividing the spoil of Satan among the Gentiles, taking the prey out of his hands, turning men from the power of Satan unto God, and distributed food to the souls of men. In a spiritual sense, he was a warlike man. A good soldier of Christ, and typical as such, had warfare to accomplish, and enemies to fight with.
And did fight the good fight of faith, conquered, and was more than a conqueror through Christ, and is now crowned. And why may it not be applied to Christ himself, seeing the blessing of Benjamin by Moses (Deuteronomy 33:12), seems to belong to him.
He is God’s Benjamin, the son and man of his right hand, as dear to him as his right hand, in whom his power has been displayed, and who is exalted at his right hand.
And may as well be compared to a wolf as to a lion, as he is the lion of the tribe of Judah, and as God himself is compared to a lion and bear (Hosea 13:7). And who is expressly said to divide the spoil with the strong (Isa. 53:12). Spoiled principalities and powers, delivered his people as a prey out of the hands of the mighty, and will make an utter destruction of all his and their enemies.
Some of these things were done in the morning of the Gospel dispensation, and others will be done in the evening of it (Colossians 2:15).
The warlike nature of the small tribe of Benjamin became well known, as exhibited in their archers and slingers (Judges 20:16; 1 Chron. 8:40; 12:2; 2 Chron. 14:8; 17:17). And in their brazen defense of their wickedness in Gibeah (Judges 19, 20). Both named Saul in the Bible were from this tribe: the first king in Israel (1 Sam. 9:1-2), and the Apostle Paul (Phil. 3:5).
These spoken of Benjamin tell us that he would be a mighty warrior and that he would win the battles and bring the spoils of war home.
Genesis 49:28 “All 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.”
“All these are the twelve tribes of Israel”: The twelve sons of Jacob before mentioned were heads of twelve tribes, who were afterwards seated, and had their part in the land of Canaan.
There were indeed thirteen tribes; two springing from Joseph; but then the tribe of Levi had no part in the land of Canaan, which was divided into twelve parts. This shows that the above predictions respect not the persons of the patriarchs, but their tribes.
“And this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them”: The above is the sum and substance of what he had delivered in his patriarchal benediction of them, a little before his death. And though some of them, as Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, may seem rather to be cursed than blessed, yet the greater part of them were clearly and manifestly blessed.
And what he said by way of correction and rebuke to the others might be blessed to them for their good. Nor is it improbable, that after he had delivered out the above predictions, he might wish for and implore a blessing on them all. And certain it is that they all had a part in the blessing of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as it related to the land of Canaan.
“Everyone according to his blessing he blessed them”: According to the blessing which was appointed to them of God, and was in later times bestowed on them. Jacob under a spirit of prophecy was directed to bless them with, or to foretell what blessings should come upon them, and which accordingly did.
Verses 29-32: Jacob’s dying instructions were fully carried out (50:12-14; see 23:6-20).
Genesis 49:29 “And 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,”
“And he charged them, and said unto them”: The same charge he had given to Joseph he here renews, and lays it upon his sons, who were every one of them to go along with Joseph, to bury him in Canaan.
“I am to be gathered unto my people”: The people of God, the spirits of just men made perfect, the souls of all the saints who before this time had departed this life, and were in a state of happiness and bliss. Called his people, because he and they were of the same mystical body the church and belonged to the same general assembly, the church of the firstborn.
The company of God’s elect, who were in the same covenant of grace, and partakers of the same blessings and promises of grace. This shows that the souls of men are immortal; that there is a future state after death. Which is a state of happiness, and into which saints immediately enter as soon as they die, and where Jacob expected to be in a short time.
“Bury me with my fathers”: The other part of himself, his body, which should not be gathered to his people, as his soul would be, he orders to be interred with his fathers, Abraham and Isaac.
“In the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite”: Which is more particularly described in the following verse, being the place of his father’s sepulcher.
Genesis 49:30 “In 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 burying place.”
“In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan”: This is so exactly described, that there might be no mistake about the place (see Gen. 23:17).
“Which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite, for a possession of a burying place”: This is observed if any of the successors of Ephron, or any of the Hittites, should lay any claim unto it, or dispute the right of Jacob’s sons to bury him there.
Genesis 49:31 “There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.
“There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife”: Abraham buried Sarah there himself, and his two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, buried him there.
“There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife”: We have no other account of the death of Rebekah, and her burial, but here. It is probable she died before Isaac, and that Isaac buried her in this cave; and here Esau and Jacob buried him.
“And there I buried Leah”: Again of whose death and burial we also read nowhere else but here. It is probable she died before Isaac and that Isaac buried her in this cave; and here Esau and Jacob buried him.
Honor was finally accorded to Leah in death and in Jacob’s request to be buried alongside his wife, as were his fathers. Burial alongside Rachel, the beloved wife, was not requested.
Genesis 49:32 “The purchase of the field and of the cave that [is] therein [was] from the children of Heth.”
“The purchase of the field, and of the cave that is there, was from the children of Heth” Which is repeated for the certainty of it. And that it might be taken notice of, that both the field and cave were bought by Abraham of Ephron the Hittite, and that the children of Heth were witnesses of the bargain.
And of the payment of the money, and by whom the estate was made sure to Abraham; all which might be urged, if any controversy should arise about it.
Jacob wanted to make sure that they knew not to bury him in Egypt, but to bury him with Leah, his wife, and his ancestors. He made them promise to bury him there. The rest of the above verses were so they would know why he wanted to be buried there, and to leave no question where this burial place was. Even today, People know exactly where this burial place is in Israel.
Genesis 49:33 “And 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.”
“And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons”: Had given all the proper directions and instructions concerning his interment in the land of Canaan. He gathered up his feet into the bed; on which he sat while he blessed his sons, and gave orders to them about his burial.
But now he gathered up his feet into the bed, laid himself along, and composed himself in a proper posture to die.
“And he yielded up the ghost”: He expired; he died an easy death, without any pain or sickness: which Ben Melech says this phrase is expressive of. He died in the year of his age one hundred and forty seven, and was gathered unto his people (see note on Gen 25:8; 49:29).
“Jacob … yielded up the ghost”: Jacob died (ca. 1858 B.C.).
Genesis Chapter 49 Continued Questions
1. What famous person was from the tribe of Dan?
2. What book of the Bible was Dan’s name omitted from the list of the twelve tribes?
3. What do some believe this indicates?
4. Is there any fact to back this up?
5. What description do we get of Gad’s tribe?
6. Of whom was it said, his bread shall be fat?
7. Naphtali was a what?
8. Who got the best blessing of all?
9. Name the ways God preserved him?
10. This fruitful blessing was to extend to what two sons of Joseph?
11. Who alone chose whom He will trust with greatness?
12. What animal was Benjamin compared to?
13. What did this tell us about him?
14. Where did Israel want to be buried?