Genesis 49:18
I have waited for your salvation, O LORD.
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(18) I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord (Jehovah).—Among the many explanations hazarded of this ejaculation the most probable is that given in the Speaker’s Commentary, that the thought of the serpent wounding his prey in the heel carried the mind of the patriarch back to the fall of man, and the promise made to Eve. And thus it is a profession of faith, naturally called out by this chain of ideas, in the advent in due time of the promised Deliverer, and of which the accomplishment had become united in thought with the name of Jehovah.

Genesis 49:18. I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord — These words may be considered in two lights; 1st, As connected with the preceding prophecy concerning Dan, according to the explanation given in the last note. Under a foresight of their dishonourable, perfidious, and serpent-like conduct, and the general idolatry which should be introduced among his descendants through their means, Jacob says, I have waited for, expected and desired, thy help, O Lord, to save my posterity from the manifold sins and temporal calamities which I foresee are coming upon them, and especially from spiritual and eternal miseries, by that Messiah whom thou hast promised, that seed of the woman which is to bruise the head of him that bruises the heel of thy people. Or, 2d, They may be considered as an unconnected sentence, an ejaculation, in which he interrupts the thread of his discourse, and breathes out his desires after God. And the pious ejaculations of a warm and lively devotion, though sometimes they may be incoherent, yet are not impertinent. It is no absurdity, when we are speaking to men, to lift up our hearts to God. The salvation he waited for was, 1st, Christ, the promised seed, whom he had spoken of, Genesis 49:10; now he was going to be gathered to his people, he breathes after him to whom the gathering of the people shall be. 2d, Heaven, the better country, which he declared plainly that he sought, Hebrews 11:13-14, and continued seeking now he was in Egypt.49:13-18 Concerning Zebulun: if prophecy says, Zebulun shall be a haven of ships, be sure Providence will so plant him. God appoints the bounds of our habitation. It is our wisdom and duty to accommodate ourselves to our lot, and to improve it; if Zebulun dwell at the heaven of the sea, let him be for a haven of ships. Concerning Issachar: he saw that the land was pleasant, yielding not only pleasant prospects, but pleasant fruits to recompense his toils. Let us, with an eye of faith, see the heavenly rest to be good, and that land of promise to be pleasant; this will make our present services easy. Dan should, by art, and policy, and surprise, gain advantages against his enemies, like a serpent biting the heel of the traveller. Jacob, almost spent, and ready to faint, relieves himself with those words, I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord! The salvation he waited for was Christ, the promised Seed; now that he was going to be gathered to his people, he breathes after Him to whom the gathering of the people shall be. He declared plainly that he sought heaven, the better country, Heb 11:13,14. Now he is going to enjoy the salvation, he comforts himself that he had waited for the salvation. Christ, as our way to heaven, is to be waited on; and heaven, as our rest in Christ, is to be waited for. It is the comfort of a dying saint thus to have waited for the salvation of the Lord; for then he shall have what he has been waiting for.The sons of the handmaids follow those of Leah. "Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel." He will maintain his position as a tribe in the state. When threatened by overwhelming power he will put forth his native force for the discomfiture of the foe. The adder is the cerastes or horned serpent, of the color of the sand, and therefore, not easily recognized, that inflicts a fatal wound on him that unwarily treads on it. The few facts in the history of Dan afterward given correspond well with the character here drawn. Some of its features are conspicuous in Samson Judges 13-16. "For thy salvation have I waited, O Lord." The patriarch, contemplating the power of the adversaries of his future people, breaks forth into the expression of his longing desire and hope of that salvation of the Almighty by which alone they can be delivered. That salvation is commensurate with the utmost extent and diversity of these adversaries.17. Dan—"a judge."

a serpent … an adder—A serpent, an adder, implies subtlety and stratagem; such was pre-eminently the character of Samson, the most illustrious of its judges.

I do earnestly wait, and hope, and pray for thy helping hand to save me and my posterity from the manifold temporal calamities which I foresee will come upon them, and especially from spiritual and eternal mischiefs, by that Messiah which thou hast promised. Jacob in the midst of his great work doth take a little breathing, and finding himself weakened by his speech to his children, and drawing nearer death, he opens his arms to receive it, as the thing for which he had long waited, as the only effectual remedy and mean of salvation or deliverance from all his pains and miseries, and particularly from his present horrors, upon the contemplation of the future state of his children. And this pathetical exclamation may look either,

1. Backward, to the state of the tribe of Dan, which he foresaw would be deplorable, both for its great straits and pressures, of which see Joshua 19:47 Judges 1:34, and especially for that idolatry which that tribe would introduce and promote, Judges 18:30 1 Kings 12:29, whereby they would ruin themselves, and most of the other tribes with them. Or,

2. Forward, to the doubtful and miserable condition of Gad. I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord. Jacob finding his spirits faint and flag, 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 ere he did; and especially he may have a regard to the Messiah, the promised Saviour, 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 fulness 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 transitory 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 saviours that should be raised up; yet his chief view was to the Messiah, and salvation by him. {o} I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.

(o) Seeing the miseries that his posterity would fall into, he bursts out in prayer to God to remedy it.

18. I have waited] This parenthetical ejaculation of prayer is thought by many scholars to be a gloss. But all authorities contain the verse. There is no obvious reason for inserting such a gloss at this particular point. (a) The ejaculation has by some been thought to shew that, at the time of the composition of this song, Dan was engaged in a long conflict with his foes, and the issue was still doubtful. (b) By others it has been explained as a cry of physical weakness by Jacob. It is very possible that the verse is intended to mark the point at which the song is half finished; but it is not necessarily, therefore, an interpolation.

thy salvation] i.e. deliverance wrought by Thee. For the thought of the prayer, cf. Psalm 25:5; Psalm 27:14; Psalm 119:81; Psalm 119:166; Psalm 119:174; Isaiah 25:9.In Genesis 49:11 and Genesis 49:12 Jacob finishes his blessing on Judah by depicting the abundance of his possessions in the promised land. "Binding his she-ass to the vine, and to the choice vine his ass's colt; he washes his garment in wine, and his cloak in the blood of the grape: dull are the eyes with wine, and white the teeth with milk." The participle אסרי has the old connecting vowel, i, before a word with a preposition (like Isaiah 22:16; Micah 7:14, etc.); and בּני in the construct state, as in Genesis 31:39. The subject is not Shiloh, but Judah, to whom the whole blessing applies. The former would only be possible, if the fathers and Luther were right in regarding the whole as an allegorical description of Christ, or if Hoffmann's opinion were correct, that it would be quite unsuitable to describe Judah, the lion-like warrior and ruler, as binding his ass to a vine, coming so peacefully upon his ass, and remaining in his vineyard. But are lion-like courage and strength irreconcilable with a readiness for peace? Besides, the notion that riding upon an ass is an image of a peaceful disposition seems quite unwarranted; and the supposition that the ass is introduced as an animal of peace, in contrast with the war-horse, is founded upon Zechariah 9:9, and applied to the words of the patriarch in a most unhistorical manner. This contrast did not exist till a much later period, when the Israelites and Canaanites had introduced war-horses, and is not applicable at all to the age and circumstances of the patriarchs, since at that time the only animals there were to ride, beside camels, were asses and she-asses (Genesis 22:3 cf. Exodus 4:20; Numbers 22:21); and even in the time of the Judges, and down to David's time, riding upon asses was a distinction of nobility or superior rank (Judges 1:14; Judges 10:4; Judges 12:14; 2 Samuel 19:27). Lastly, even in Genesis 49:9, Genesis 49:10 Judah is not depicted as a lion eager for prey, or as loving war and engaged in constant strife, but, according to Hoffmann's own words, "as having attained, even before the coming of Shiloh, to a rest acquired by victory over surrounding foes, and as seated in his place with the insignia of his dominion." Now, when Judah's conflicts are over, and he has come to rest, he also may bind his ass to the vine and enjoy in peaceful repose the abundance of his inheritance. Of wine and milk, the most valuable productions of his land, he will have such a superabundance, that, as Jacob hyperbolically expresses it, he may wash his clothes in the blood of the grape, and enjoy them so plentifully, that his eyes shall be inflamed with wine, and his teeth become white with milk.

(Note: Jam de situ regionis loquitur, quae sorte filiis Judae obtigit. Significat autem tantam illic fore vitium copiam, ut passim obviae prostent non secus atque alibi vepres vel infrugifera arbusta. Nam quum ad sepes ligari soleant asini, vites ad hunc contemptibilem usum aeputat. Eodem pertinet quae sequuntur hyperbolicae loquendi formae, quod Judas lavabit vestem suam in vino, et oculis eritrubicundus. Tantam enim vini abundantiam fore intelligit, ut promiscue ad lotiones, perinde ut aqua effundi queat sine magno dispendio; assiduo autem largioreque illius potu rubedinem contracturi sint oculi. Calvin.)

The soil of Judah produced the best wine in Canaan, near Hebron and Engedi (Numbers 13:23-24; Sol 1:4; 2 Chronicles 26:10 cf. Joel 1:7.), and had excellent pasture land in the desert by Tekoah and Carmel, to the south of Hebron (1 Samuel 25:2; Amos 1:1; 2 Chronicles 26:10). סוּתה: contracted from סווּתה, from סוה to envelope, synonymous with מסוה a veil (Exodus 34:33).

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