Genesis 49:4
New International Version
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
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
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!

Berean Study Bible
Uncontrolled as the waters, you will no longer excel, because you went up to your father’s bed, onto my couch, and defiled it.

King James Bible
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.

New King James Version
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.

New American Standard Bible
“Uncontrollable 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.

NASB 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.

NASB 1977
“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.

Amplified Bible
“But unstable and reckless and boiling over like water [in sinful lust], you shall not excel or have the preeminence [of the firstborn], Because you went up to your father’s bed [with Bilhah]; You defiled it—he went up to my couch.

Christian Standard Bible
Turbulent as water, you will not excel, because you got into your father’s bed and you defiled it—he got into my bed.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
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.

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.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
You wandered as waters; you will not persist, for you went up to the bedroom of your father; truly you defiled my bed and you went up.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Thou wast insolent like water, burst not forth with violence, for thou wentest up to the bed of thy father; then thou defiledst the couch, whereupon thou wentest up.

Contemporary English Version
Uncontrollable as a flood, you slept with my wife and disgraced my bed. And so you no longer deserve the place of honor.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Thou art poured out as water, grow thou not: because thou wentest up to thy father's bed, and didst defile his couch.

Good News Translation
You are like a raging flood, But you will not be the most important, For you slept with my concubine And dishonored your father's bed.

International Standard Version
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."

JPS Tanakh 1917
Unstable as water, have not thou the excellency; Because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; Then defiledst thou it--he went up to my couch.

Literal Standard Version
Unstable as water, you are not abundant; For you have gone up your father’s bed; Then you have defiled [it]: He went up my couch!

New American Bible
Turbulent as water, you shall no longer excel, for you climbed into your father’s bed and defiled my couch to my sorrow.

NET Bible
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!

New Revised Standard Version
Unstable as water, you shall no longer excel because you went up onto your father’s bed; then you defiled it—you went up onto my couch!

New Heart English Bible
Uncontrolled as the waters, you will not have excel, because you went up to your father's bed, you went up and defiled 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!

Additional Translations ...
Context
Jacob Blesses His Sons
3Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power. 4Uncontrolled as the waters, you will no longer excel, because you went up to your father’s bed, onto my couch, and defiled it. 5Simeon and Levi are brothers; their swords are weapons of violence.…

Cross References
Genesis 35:22
While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father's concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard about it. Jacob had twelve sons:

Deuteronomy 27:20
Cursed is he who sleeps with his father's wife, for he has violated his father's marriage bed.' And let all the people say, 'Amen!'

Deuteronomy 33:6
Let Reuben live and not die, nor his men be few."

1 Chronicles 5:1
These were the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel. Though he was the firstborn, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel, because Reuben defiled his father's bed. So he is not reckoned according to birthright.


Treasury of Scripture

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.

Unstable.

James 1:6-8
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed…

2 Peter 2:14
Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

2 Peter 3:16
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

thou shall not excel.

Genesis 46:8
And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn.

Numbers 32:1-42
Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle; …

Deuteronomy 33:6
Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.

because.

Genesis 35:22
And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:

Deuteronomy 5:21
Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Deuteronomy 27:20
Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.

he went up to my couch.











(4) Unstable.--This translation is shown to be right by the use of the word in Judges 9:4; Zephaniah 3:4, in both which places it is translated light. Out of this sense of lightness and frivolity naturally arose the meaning which the word has in Syriac of wantonness. In Arabic it means boastful, another side of feebleness. With this sense the comparison with water well agrees; for it is its nature to seek a dull level, and while yielding to every impression to retain none. The other meaning given to it by many able critics is "boiling over like water," a description of the unrestrained violence of Reuben's passions.

Thou shalt not excel.--That is, thou shalt not have that excellency which was thine by right of birth.



Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
Uncontrolled
פַּ֤חַז (pa·ḥaz)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 6349: Wantonness, recklessness

as the waters,
כַּמַּ֙יִם֙ (kam·ma·yim)
Preposition-k, Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 4325: Water, juice, urine, semen

you will no
אַל־ (’al-)
Adverb
Strong's 408: Not

longer excel,
תּוֹתַ֔ר (tō·w·ṯar)
Verb - Hifil - Imperfect Jussive - second person masculine singular
Strong's 3498: To jut over, exceed, to excel, to remain, be left, to leave, cause to abound, preserve

because
כִּ֥י (kî)
Conjunction
Strong's 3588: A relative conjunction

you went up
עָלִ֖יתָ (‘ā·lî·ṯā)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's 5927: To ascend, in, actively

to your father’s
אָבִ֑יךָ (’ā·ḇî·ḵā)
Noun - masculine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's 1: Father

bed,
מִשְׁכְּבֵ֣י (miš·kə·ḇê)
Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's 4904: Place of lying, a couch, act of lying

onto
עָלָֽה׃ (‘ā·lāh)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 5927: To ascend, in, actively

my couch
יְצוּעִ֥י (yə·ṣū·‘î)
Noun - masculine singular construct | first person common singular
Strong's 3326: Spread, a bed, an extension, wing, lean-to

and
אָ֥ז (’āz)
Adverb
Strong's 227: At that time, place, therefore

defiled it.
חִלַּ֖לְתָּ (ḥil·lal·tā)
Verb - Piel - Perfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's 2490: To bore, to wound, to dissolve, to profane, to break, to begin, to play


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OT Law: Genesis 49:4 Boiling over as water you shall not (Gen. Ge Gn)
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