All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spoke to them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)These are the twelve tribes.—As we have seen in the case of Dan, Jacob had the further object of forming his descendants into twelve separate communities, which were, like the States in America, each to be independent, and have its own tribal government. From this position Levi naturally was excluded, when selected for the priesthood, and room was thus made for the bestowal of two of these communities upon the descendants of Joseph. Only in case of war they were to combine under the chieftainship of Judah. In the Book of Judges, however, we find the tribes as separate in matters of war as of peace, and by the time of Saul the need of a closer union had been felt, and tribal independence had been found to lead only to anarchy.
- The Burial of Jacob
10. אטד 'āṭâd Atad, "the buck-thorn."
11. מצרים אבל 'ābêl-mı̂tsrayı̂m, Abel-Mitsraim, "mourning of Mizraim," or meadow of Mizraim.The twelve tribes, i.e. the heads and parents of the twelve tribes. A metonomy of the effect. The tribes are generally accounted twelve, though they were thirteen, because the land was divided only into twelve parts, Levi having no distinct part of his own.
Every one according to his blessing, i.e. according to that blessing which God in his purpose had allotted to each of them, which also he manifested unto Jacob by his Spirit.
Object. There is no blessing here given to Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, but rather a curse; how then is he said to bless every one of them?
Answ. He blessed them all implicitly and really, though not expressly, or in words, because he gave each of them a part in Canaan; and his taking away from Reuben only the right of the first-born, plainly supposeth that he left him his single portion and inheritance. And he might well be said to bless them all, because he left them all an interest in God’s covenant, one article whereof was the giving of Canaan, or part of Canaan, to them, and this was an earnest of the other branches or articles of it; though it is probable he also added some short blessing, or prayer to God for his blessing, upon them all.
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.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel] In the enumeration of the twelve tribes, in this song, Joseph is reckoned as one; in Deuteronomy 33, Simeon is omitted, and Ephraim and Manasseh take the place of Joseph. In Numbers 2, Simeon is retained; Levi is omitted; Ephraim and Manasseh replace Joseph.
28–33. Genesis 49:28 a is the editorial conclusion to Jacob’s blessing. Genesis 49:28 b–33 resume from Genesis 49:1 a, and record Jacob’s death according to P.Verse 28. - All these are the twelve tribes of Israel (the underlying thought is that in blessing his sons Jacob was really blessing the future tribes): and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them (i.e. every one received his own appropriate benediction).
"Son of a fruit-tree is Joseph, son of a fruit-tree at the well, daughters run over the wall." Joseph is compared to the branch of a fruit-tree planted by a well (Psalm 1:3), which sends it shoots over the wall, and by which, according to Psalm 80, we are probably to understand a vine. בּן an unusual form of the construct state for בּן, and פּרת equivalent to פּריּה with the old feminine termination ath, like זמרת, Exodus 15:2. - בּנות are the twigs and branches, formed by the young fruit-tree. The singular צעדה is to be regarded as distributive, describing poetically the moving forward, i.e., the rising up of the different branches above the wall (Ges. 146, 4). עלי, a poetical form, as in Genesis 49:17.
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