And Jacob called to his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.…
Jacob's benediction on his sons was a prophetic treasure, to be kept in store by future generations, and a foundation on which much faith could afterwards be built.. It has been called "the last full bloom of patriarchal prophecy and theocratic promise." The central point, the blessing on the royal tribe of Judah. The corresponding eminence being given to Joseph. The Israel blessing to the one, the Jacob blessing to the other. In each case we distinguish -
1. The earthly basis of the blessing in the tribe itself.
2. The nearest fulfillments of it in the temporal history.
3. The symbolical import pointing to a remoter fulfillment.
We may compare the many dying scenes of the Bible with this; as the last words of Isaac, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Simeon, Stephen, Paul, Peter, and the apocalyptic visions of John. Compare especially the song of Moses, and the prophecy of Balaam. It seems possible that the beautiful exclamation, ver. 18, I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord," was intended to form a kind of middle point, separating the groups of blessings into one of seven, and another of five. The first group has a Messianic character, the second a wider, cosmopolitan. In the first, Judah, the royal tribe, represents the theocracy. In the second, Joseph, the link of connection between Israel and Egypt, represents the kingdom of Christ becoming the universal kingdom, from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel. The whole is a typical representation of "Israel" in the higher sense.
1. It comes out of sinful human nature.
2. It is developed by the grace of God in human history.
3. It stands upon the Divine order of the twelve tribes, the revealed truth, and the Divinely sanctioned religions life and institutions.
4. The essential dement in the history, is the Messiah coming out o/Judah, the shepherd of Israel, the stone of help out of Joseph, the Nazarite, the tried man, the blessed one.
5. The kingdom of Christ is the universal blessedness of the world. When Jacob has handed on his blessing to his heirs, he gathers up his feet into the bed, yields up the ghost, and is gathered to his people. When the carnal Israel is done with, the spiritual Israel remains. When the promises of God shall be fulfilled, then there shall be no more concern with the earthly pilgrimage. "The blessings prevail unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills." - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.