|New International Version (©2011)|
Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father's bed, onto my couch and defiled it.
New Living Translation (©2007)
But you are as unruly as a flood, and you will be first no longer. For you went to bed with my wife; you defiled my marriage couch.
English Standard Version (©2001)
Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, Because you went up to your father's bed; Then you defiled it-- he went up to my couch.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
Turbulent as water, you will no longer excel, because you got into your father's bed and you defiled it--he got into my bed.
International Standard Version (©2012)
But you're as undisciplined as a roaring river, so eventually you won't succeed, because you got in your father's bed, defiled it, and then approached my couch."
NET Bible (©2006)
You are destructive like water and will not excel, for you got on your father's bed, then you defiled it--he got on my couch!
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
You will no longer be first because you were out of control like a flood and you climbed into your father's bed. Then you dishonored it. He climbed up on my couch.
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
Unstable as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it: he went up to my couch.
American King James Version
Unstable as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed; then defiled you it: he went up to my couch.
American Standard Version
Boiling over as water, thou shalt not have the pre-eminence; Because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; Then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
Thou art poured out as water, grow thou not: because thou wentest up to thy father's bed, and didst defile his couch.
Darby Bible Translation
Impetuous as the waters, thou shalt have no pre-eminence; Because thou wentest up to thy father's couch: Then defiledst thou it: he went up to my bed.
English Revised Version
Unstable as water, thou shalt not have the excellency; Because thou wentest up to thy father's bed: Then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
Webster's Bible Translation
Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it; he went up to my couch.
World English Bible
Boiling over as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed, then defiled it. He went up to my couch.
Young's Literal Translation
Unstable as water, thou art not abundant; For thou hast gone up thy father's bed; Then thou hast polluted: My couch he went up!
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
49:3-7 Reuben was the first-born; but by gross sin, he forfeited the birthright. The character of Reuben is, that he was unstable as water. Men do not thrive, because they do not fix. Reuben's sin left a lasting infamy upon his family. Let us never do evil, then we need not fear being told of it. Simeon and Levi were passionate and revengeful. The murder of the Shechemites is a proof of this. Jacob protested against that barbarous act. Our soul is our honour; by its powers we are distinguished from, and raised above, the beasts that perish. We ought, from our hearts, to abhor all bloody and mischievous men. Cursed be their anger. Jacob does not curse their persons, but their lusts. I will divide them. The sentence as it respects Levi was turned into a blessing. This tribe performed an acceptable service in their zeal against the worshippers of the golden calf, Ex 32. Being set apart to God as priests, they were in that character scattered through the nation of Israel.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Unstable as water,.... Which is not to be understood of the levity of his mind, and his disposition to hurt, and the impetuous force of that breaking forth like water, and carrying him into the commission of it; but rather of his fall from his excellency and dignity, like the fall of water from an high place; and of his being vile, mean, and contemptible, useless and unprofitable, like water spilled on the ground; and of his weak and strengthless condition and circumstances, being deprived of the prerogatives and privileges of his birthright, and having lost all his honour and grandeur, power and authority. The word in the Arabic language signifies (b) to be proud and haughty, to lift up one's self, to swell and rise like the turgent and swelling waters: but though he did thus lift himself, yet it follows:
thou shall not excel; not have the excellency of dignity and power which belonged to him as the firstborn; the birthright and the double portion were given to Joseph, who had two tribes descending from him, when Reuben had but one; the kingdom was given to Judah, and the priesthood to Levi, as both the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem observe: as he did not excel his brethren in honour and dignity, so neither in wealth and riches, nor in numbers; see Deuteronomy 33:6 where the word "not" is wrongly supplied; nor in his share in the land of Canaan, his posterity being seated on the other side of Jordan, at their request; nor did any persons of note and eminence spring from his tribe: because thou wentest up to thy father's bed, then defiledst thou it; referring to his incest with Bilhah, his father's concubine wife, Genesis 35:22 which, though done forty years ago, was now remembered, and left an indelible spot on Reuben's character, and his posterity:
he went up to my couch: turning himself to his other sons, to take notice of the crime, as very abominable and detestable; affirming the truth of it, and speaking of it with some vehemency, his affections being moved; and it may be could not bear to look at Reuben, but turned himself to his brethren; though he had forgiven the sin, and very probably Reuben had repented of it, and had forgiveness of God, which he might have, though in some sense vengeance was taken on this sinful invention of his, Psalm 99:8. There are various senses given of this phrase; some, as Aben Ezra, "my bed departed from me"; that is, he departed from his bed; or, as Kimchi (c), "it ceased to be my bed"; he left it, he abstained from the bed of Bilhah upon its being defiled by Reuben: and others separate these words, and read singly, "it went up" (d); either the excellency of Reuben went up, vanished and disappeared like smoke; or, as Ben Melech connects it with the beginning of the verse, "unstable as water", giving the sense, "it", the inundation of water, "ascended" and prevailed over thee; as waters ascend, meaning his lust ascended, and got the prevalence over him; but the accents will not admit of such a separation of the words; it is best to understand them in the first sense. As to the manner of the expression, of going up to a bed, it may be observed, that not only their beds in those times might be raised higher than ours, but that they were placed in an higher part of the room, and so there was an ascent to them: and Dr. Shaw (e) says this is the custom of the eastern people to this day,"at one end of each chamber there is a little gallery, raised three, four, or five feet above the floor, with a balustrade in the front of it, with a few steps likewise leading up to it, here they place their beds.''
(b) "superbivit, semet extulit gloria fastuque", Golius, col. 1767. so Castel. col. 2980. (c) Sepher Shorash. rad. (d) "ascendit", i.e. "abiit" "et evanuit", Vatablus. (e) Travels, p. 209. Ed. 2.
Genesis 49:4 Parallel Commentaries
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