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His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. ' i . .
Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea ; and he •hall be for a haven of ships: and his border shall be unto Zidon.
Issachar is a strong ass, couching down between two burdens.
And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute- ••
Dan shall judge his people, .as one of- the tribes of Israel: '' -'- ' i' • .
Dan shall be a serpent by the way, art adder in the path! that biteth the horse's-heels, so that his rider shall Fall backward. ..:-i. t» . "•.
I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord. ~•'•»• > •.:
Gad, a troop shall overcome him; but he shall overcome at the last. . - .;
Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. •'•
Naphtali is a hind let loose : hegiveth goodly words.
Joseph is a fruitful bsugh, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: • •. . •.
The archers have sorely grieved him and shot at him, and hated him. I>
But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; from thence is the shepherd the stone of Israel; '.'
Even by the Got>'of thy father, who shall help thee, and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessing! of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb. .-* .
. The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors, unto the utmost bound of
the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. .;
Benjamin shall raven as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto themi and blessed them; every one according to his blessing, he blessed them.
And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite.
In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of EphrOn the Hittite, for a possession of a burying place. ;> .
And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.
And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
The Divine Promise made by the Lord to Jacob, that he would be with him whithersoever he went, was remarkably fulfilled in Egypt, in respect to the increase and prosperity of his family: but the good old patriarch's mind was fixed on Canaan, and his urgent desire to be buried there, may be considered as a proof of his belief in the Divine Promises. It was also a very prudent request to be interred in the cave of Machpelah, as it was calculated to answer the purpose of keeping up in the minds of his descendants, a wish and expectation of returning to . Canaan at God's appointed time.
The expression Israel bowed himself upon tlie bed's head, seems to imply that he testified his veneration fot. the name of the Lord, hy the greatest act of reverence his feeble state allowed him to use, while his son Joseph' took the oath required of him.
Though Joseph had obtained such an uncommon share ef riches and honours in Egypt, and doubtless had great possessions to bequeath to his children, he esteemed the blessing rf the Lord as the most valuable portion they could enjoy; and with the view to obtain it for them, he took his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh with him, when in consequence of the summons he had received, he went to attend his dying father.
If Jacob had not incorporated Joseph's sons into his own family, and bequeathed to their posterities an inheritance in the land of Canaan, disputes might afterwards have arisen between their descendants and those of Jacob's other sons: the latter would, in all probability, have considered the former as Egyptians. And Ephraim and Manasseh themselves might, from a-predilection for their native country, have prejudiced their children in favour of it.- Jacob appears to have cherished a tender remembrance of his dear wife Rachel; and he mentioned with seeming regret, that the circumstances he was in, when she died, prevented his burying her in the cave of Machpelah.
In the preference given to Ephraim, wehave an additional proof of the foreknowledge of the Supreme Eking; for, in pronouncing (he blessing on Joseph's two sons, Jacob evidently spake by Divine inspiration. This blessing related only to the temporal state of their posterities. .
Jacob himself was at this time in the very circumstances in which Isaac was, when he pronounced the paternal bles&ing on him, old and dim-sighted; the remembrance membrance of his father's inadvertency, in all probability, made him particularly circumspect.
It is remarkable, that Jacob calls the Gon before whom his fathers walked, (and whom he had just before styled God Almighty) the Angel that redeemed him from all evil, and sustained him. By recollecting the various revelations that were made to this patriarch, we shall find, that he did not allude to any created being, but to the Lord Himself, who was the only visible author of his deliverance and sustenance. The portion which Jacob gave to Joseph, as his own particular bequest, was the field which he purchased of Hamor the father of Shechem. It is likely that the Amorites seized upon this when Jacob went to settle at Beth el; and that on account of the altar which he had erected there, he resolved to recover it out of their hands; and though no warrior, the patriarch might be enabled to succeed in this enterprize by the aid of the Lord.
We may suppose that all the sons of Jacob were present at the time the blessing was given upon Ephraim and Manasseh; for it was necessary that they should hear from their father's own mouth the Lord's will concerning Joseph's sons, otherwise they might have disputed their right to be considered as heads of tribes, or might.have blended their posterities together, under the title of the tribe of Joseph.
The blessings Jacob pronounced when his sons surrounded his bed, were predictions concerning the future state of their posterities, which have been explained by their completion, as wili be observed in a future part of the History of the Israelites. It is sufficient to observe at present, that Judah was to have the preeYninence. By Shi Lob is to be understood the promised seed; and we shall find that from the time of king David,
who who was of the tribe of Judah, was settled upon the throne, till the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Judah possessed some degree of pre-eminence over the rest of the Jewish nation. s
The patriarch Abraham had several sons; but one only received the promise of the inheritance of the land of Canaan. Isaac had two, but the youngest of them was sole heir of the promises. The numerous family of Jacob promised a great increase ; and it was the Divine will that they should incorporate together, and form one people under the denomination of Israelites; the inheritance therefore was portioned out among them. The peculiar blessing respecting the Everlasting Covenant was the lot of Judah ; on which account he was to have the sovereignty. It will afford great satisfaction to observe the gradual accomplishment of these predictions.
There is something extremely edifying in Jacob's death. With the utmost composure did he expect his dissolution; his soul seems to have been strengthened by the hopes of those blessings which are reserved beyond the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills for him, and all the nations of the earth, through the promised Redeemer. It is needless to descant on the character of this Patriarch; every attentive reader may discover from the events, of his life, that he was a man of like infirmities with the rest of human kind, but eminent for hi* faith and piety; and, on account of these, supported under severe conflicts, sometimes by the visible appearance of the Lokd, sometimes by the secret influences of the Holy Spirit. Let it be our earnest prayer, that we may be enabled to imitate this faithful servant of God in every perfection, and that the same Lord who redeemed him from all evil, and sustained him, may also save and support us in iiU dangers, spiritual and temporal.