Even by the God of your father, who shall help you; and by the Almighty, who shall bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Even by the God of thy father.—In the Hebrew this follows directly upon the preceding clause: “from the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel; from the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and from the Almighty,” &c.
Blessings of heaven above are the rains and dew; those of “the deep” beneath are lakes, rivers, and springs; and those of “the breasts and womb” mean an abundant offspring both of men and cattle. (For the opposite curse see Hosea 9:14.)Genesis 49:25-26. Even by the God of thy father Jacob, who shall help thee —
Our experiences of God’s power and goodness, in strengthening us hitherto, are encouragements still to hope for help from him. He that has helped us, will. And by the Almighty, who shall bless thee — And he only blesseth indeed. Observe the blessings conferred on Joseph: 1st, Various and abundant blessings. Blessings of heaven above — Rain in its season, and fair weather in its season; blessings of the deep that lies under — This earth, or with subterraneous mines and springs. Blessings of the womb and the breasts are given when children are safely born and comfortably nursed. 2d, Eminent and transcendent blessings, which prevail above the blessings of my progenitors — His father Isaac had but one blessing, and when he had given that to Jacob, he was at a loss for a blessing to bestow upon Esau; but Jacob had a blessing for each of his twelve sons, and now, at the latter end, a copious one for Joseph. 3d, Durable and extensive blessings: unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills — Including all the products of the most fruitful hills, and lasting as long as they last. Of these blessings it is here said, they shall be — So it is a promise; or, let them be, so it is a prayer, on the head of Joseph — To which let them be a crown to adorn it, and a helmet to protect it.
It is to be noted that this benediction, when fairly interpreted, though it breathes all the fondness of a father's heart, yet contains no intimation that the supremacy or the priesthood were to belong to Joseph, or that the Messiah was to spring from him. At the same time Joseph was in many events of his history a remarkable type of the Messiah, and by intermarriage he, as well as many foreigners, was no doubt among the ancestors of the Messiah 2 Kings 8:18, 2 Kings 8:26.
22. a fruitful bough, &c.—denotes the extraordinary increase of that tribe (compare Nu 1:33-35; Jos 17:17; De 33:17). The patriarch describes him as attacked by envy, revenge, temptation, ingratitude; yet still, by the grace of God, he triumphed over all opposition, so that he became the sustainer of Israel; and then he proceeds to shower blessings of every kind upon the head of this favorite son. The history of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh shows how fully these blessings were realized.from these, by adding even by (or rather from as this particle mem properly signifies, and was just now used)
the God of thy Father, i.e. who hath chosen and loved they father, and made a league with him, and blessed him with all manner of blessings.
Blessings of heaven above, i.e. the sweet and powerful influences of the heavenly bodies, and the dews and rains which fall from heaven, whereby the fruits of the earth are produced in great plenty. See Leviticus 26:4 Deu 28:12, Deu 33:14.
blessing of the deep, i.e. of the great sea of waters both above the earth, and in the earth, whence come those springs and rivers by which the earth is moistened and made fruitful. See Genesis 1:2 7:11, Deu 8:7.
Blessings of the breasts, and of the womb whereby both men and beasts shall be greatly multiplied, and abundantly supplied with all necessaries.
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 thence; 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 an 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.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:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25. Even by the God of thy father] This verse continues the subject of the two previous clauses, the Divine source of help for Joseph. For “the God of thy father,” cf. Genesis 31:5, Genesis 50:17.
And by the Almighty] Lit. “and with (êth = ‘with the help of,’ see Genesis 4:2) the Almighty.” The Hebrew, however, for “by” is most probably due to an error in the transcription of one letter (êth for êl). Read “and God Almighty.” “Êl” was read by LXX, Sam., and Syr. Pesh.
“Almighty,” i.e. Shaddai, see note on Genesis 17:1, Genesis 35:11.
who shall bless thee] Rather a prayer, = “and may he bless thee.” The next words should be compared with the blessing of Joseph in Deuteronomy 33:13, “blessed of the Lord be his land; for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, &c.” Here three types of blessing are invoked, those of the sky, the waters, and the human race, as three sources of fruitfulness.
blessings of] Either continuing the sentence, “May he bless thee with blessings,” or beginning a new sentence, “May there be to thee, &c.”
heaven above] The blessings of rain and dew. Cf. Genesis 27:28.
the deep that coucheth beneath] Cf. the identical words of Deut. quoted above. For “the deep that coucheth beneath” (Lat. abyssi jacentis deorsum), see note on Genesis 1:9. “The deep,” Heb. tehôm (Genesis 1:2), the great subterranean reservoir of water from which, according to Israelite ideas, the springs, fountains, and rivers welled up, and gave fertility to the soil.
the breasts] For the converse of this blessing, see Hosea 9:14. The fruitfulness of a family was deemed a proof of Divine blessing.Joshua 8:13, but only the reserves (see my commentary on the passage). The blessing, which is formed from a triple alliteration of the name Gad, contains no such special allusions to historical events as to enable us to interpret it historically, although the account in 1 Chronicles 5:18. proves that the Gadites displayed, wherever it was needed, the bravery promised them by Jacob. Compare with this 1 Chronicles 12:8-15, where the Gadites who come to David are compared to lions, and their swiftness to that of roes.
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