Genesis 49:12
His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) His eyes shall be red with wine.—The word rendered red occurs only here, and is rendered in the Versions, bright, sparkling, and in the Vulg., beautiful. They also give the word rendered in our Version with a comparative force, which seems to be right: “His eyes shall be brighter than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.” The words do not refer to Judah’s person, but describe the prosperity of his descendants, whose temporal welfare will show itself in their bright and healthy countenances.

49:8-12 Judah's name signifies praise. God was praised for him, chap. 29:35, praised by him, and praised in him; therefore his brethren shall praise him. Judah should be a strong and courageous tribe. Judah is compared, not to a lion raging and ranging, but to a lion enjoying the satisfaction of his power and success, without creating vexation to others; this is to be truly great. Judah should be the royal tribe, the tribe from which Messiah the Prince should come. Shiloh, that promised Seed in whom the earth should be blessed, that peaceable and prosperous One, or Saviour, he shall come of Judah. Thus dying Jacob at a great distance saw Christ's day, and it was his comfort and support on his death-bed. Till Christ's coming, Judah possessed authority, but after his crucifixion this was shortened, and according to what Christ foretold, Jerusalem was destroyed, and all the poor harassed remnant of Jews were confounded together. Much which is here said concerning Judah, is to be applied to our Lord Jesus. In him there is plenty of all which is nourishing and refreshing to the soul, and which maintains and cheers the Divine life in it. He is the true Vine; wine is the appointed symbol of his blood, which is drink indeed, as shed for sinners, and applied in faith; and all the blessings of his gospel are wine and milk, without money and without price, to which every thirsty soul is welcome. Isa 55:1.The exuberant fertility of Judah's province is now depicted. We now behold him peacefully settled in the land of promise, and the striking objects of rural plenty and prosperity around him. The quiet ass on which he perambulates is tied to the vine, the juice of whose grapes is as copious as the water in which his robes are washed. The last sentence is capable of being rendered, "Red are his eyes above wine, and white his teeth above milk." But a connection as well as a comparison seems to be implied in the original. Judea is justly described as abounding in the best of wine and milk. This fine picture of Judah's earthly abode is a fitting emblem of the better country where Shiloh reigns.10. until Shiloh come—Shiloh—this obscure word is variously interpreted to mean "the sent" (Joh 17:3), "the seed" (Isa 11:1), the "peaceable or prosperous one" (Eph 2:14)—that is, the Messiah (Isa 11:10; Ro 15:12); and when He should come, "the tribe of Judah should no longer boast either an independent king or a judge of their own" [Calvin]. The Jews have been for eighteen centuries without a ruler and without a judge since Shiloh came, and "to Him the gathering of the people has been." Which shows not only the plenty of wine, but also the excellency and strength of it, which, though not drunk in great quantity, or to excess, will make the eyes red. See Proverbs 23:29. His eyes shall be red with wine,.... Signifying, not the intemperance of this tribe, and their immoderate use of wine, and the effect of it on them; but the goodness and generosity of their wine, that if drank plentifully of, and especially to excess, would have such an effect, see Proverbs 23:29 and, as applied to the Messiah, the antitype of Judah, and who was of this tribe, it may denote not so much the beauty of his eyes, as the Targums paraphrase it; as the joy and pleasure that sparkled in his eyes when he shed his blood on the cross, enduring that, and despising the shame of it, for the joy of the salvation of his people; or the clearness of his sight in beholding the actions of his enemies, and especially of the fierceness and fury of his wrath against them, whose eyes are said to be an flames of fire, Revelation 1:14.

and his teeth white with milk; denoting the fruitfulness of his land, producing fine pastures, on which flocks and herds fed, and gave abundance of milk; and so Onkelos paraphrases the whole verse,"his mountains shall be red with his vineyards, and his hills shall drop wine, and his valleys shall be white with corn and flocks of sheep;''and much the same are the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem: the mystical sense may respect Christ and his people, and be expressive of the purity of his nature, life, and doctrine, and of the holiness of his members, their faith and conversation; or the clauses may be rendered, redder than wine, whiter than milk; but though whiteness recommends teeth, yet not redness the eyes; wherefore some (a) by transposing the first letters of the word for "red", make it to signify black, as it does with the Arabs, and that colour of the eye is reckoned beautiful.

(a) Danzius apud Stockium, p. 334.

His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. His eyes] It may be doubted whether our rendering “red” gives the right meaning. The passage is usually illustrated from Proverbs 23:29, “who hath redness of eyes?” But, surely, the poet would hardly eulogize Judah by attributing to his eyes the redness of continuous drinking! It will be better to assume that the writer meant “sparkling.” The versions, LXX and Vulg., give another rendering, which is probably to be preferred, “his eyes are more sparkling than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.” In this case, the verse will symbolically describe the beauty of his personal appearance, rather than the productiveness of his territory."Simeon and Levi are brethren:" emphatically brethren in the full sense of the word; not merely as having the same parents, but in their modes of thought and action. "Weapons of wickedness are their swords." The ἅπαξ lec. מכרת is rendered by Luther, etc., weapons or swords, from כּוּר equals כּרה, to dig, dig through, pierce: not connected with μάχαιρα. L. de Dieu and others follow the Arabic and Aethiopic versions: "plans;" but חמס כּלי, utensils, or instruments, of wickedness, does not accord with this. Such wickedness had the two brothers committed upon the inhabitants of Shechem (Genesis 34:25.), that Jacob would have no fellowship with it. "Into their counsel come not, my soul; with their assembly let not my honour unite." סוד, a council, or deliberative consensus. תּחד, imperf. of יחד; כּבודי, like Psalm 7:6; Psalm 16:9, etc., of the soul as the noblest part of man, the centre of his personality as the image of God. "For in their wrath have they slain men, and in their wantonness houghed oxen." The singular nouns אישׁ and שׁור, in the sense of indefinite generality, are to be regarded as general rather than singular, especially as the plural form of both is rarely met with; of אישׁ, only in Psalm 141:4; Proverbs 8:4, and Isaiah 53:3; of שׁור־שׁור, only in Hosea 12:12. רצון: inclination, here in a bad sense, wantonness. עקּר: νευροκοπεῖν, to sever the houghs (tendons of the hind feet), - a process by which animals were not merely lamed, but rendered useless, since the tendon once severed could never be healed again, whilst as a rule the arteries were not cut so as to cause the animal to bleed to death (cf. Joshua 11:6, Joshua 11:9; 2 Samuel 8:4). In Genesis 34:28 it is merely stated that the cattle of the Shechemites were carried off, not that they were lamed. But the one is so far from excluding the other, that it rather includes it in such a case as this, where the sons of Jacob were more concerned about revenge than booty. Jacob mentions the latter only, because it was this which most strikingly displayed their criminal wantonness. On this reckless revenge Jacob pronounces the curse, "Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I shall divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel." They had joined together to commit this crime, and as a punishment they should be divided or scattered in the nation of Israel, should form no independent or compact tribes. This sentence of the patriarch was so fulfilled when Canaan was conquered, that on the second numbering under Moses, Simeon had become the weakest of all the tribes (Numbers 26:14); in Moses' blessing (Deuteronomy 33) it was entirely passed over; and it received no separate assignment of territory as an inheritance, but merely a number of cities within the limits of Judah (Joshua 19:1-9). Its possessions, therefore, became an insignificant appendage to those of Judah, into which they were eventually absorbed, as most of the families of Simeon increased but little (1 Chronicles 4:27); and those which increased the most emigrated in two detachments, and sought out settlements for themselves and pasture for their cattle outside the limits of the promised land (1 Chronicles 4:38-43). Levi also received no separate inheritance in the land, but merely a number of cities to dwell in, scattered throughout the possessions of his brethren (Joshua 21:1-40). But the scattering of Levi in Israel was changed into a blessing for the other tribes through its election to the priesthood. Of this transformation of the curse into a blessing, there is not the slightest intimation in Jacob's address; and in this we have a strong proof of its genuineness. After this honourable change had taken place under Moses, it would never have occurred to any one to cast such a reproach upon the forefather of the Levites. How different is the blessing pronounced by Moses upon Levi (Deuteronomy 33:8.)! But though Jacob withdrew the rights of primogeniture from Reuben, and pronounced a curse upon the crime of Simeon and Levi, he deprived none of them of their share in the promised inheritance. They were merely put into the background because of their sins, but they were not excluded from the fellowship and call of Israel, and did not lose the blessing of Abraham, so that their father's utterances with regard to them might still be regarded as the bestowal of a blessing (Genesis 49:28).
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