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At length we arrive to that point which forms the period of all things here below: and we are brought to the conclusion of the Patriarch Jacob's history. This Chapter relates the memorable circumstances of his dying moments. He convenes his children all around him, and under the spirit of prophecy declares to them, as the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel, what would distinguish their families in the last days. Having finished his prophecy and blessed them, and given commandment concerning his burial, the dying Patriarch gathers up his feet into the bed, and yields up the ghost.
The Reader will not overlook, I hope, Him whom the Patriarch here typified, nor need my reminding him of that precious conference the dying JESUS held in the midst of his family. John 17:1; John 17:1 .
It is remarkable that from this tribe of Israel, there never arose a governor, a prophet, or prince. And it is as remarkable that the Reubenites chose their settlement on the other side of Jordan. Joshua 1:12-15 ; Deuteronomy 33:6 ; Judges 5:15-16 ; James 1:8 .
Genesis 34:30 . The Simeonites and Levites were scattered among the other tribes. Joshua 21:3; Joshua 21:3 ; 1 Chronicles 6:24 , etc.
1 Chronicles 5:2 . This was proved, Psalms 18:40 .
This is the third promise of grace in the Bible. The first is, Genesis 3:15 . The second is, Genesis 22:18 . And this the third. The first gives assurance of the promised seed, the LORD JESUS. The second tells of the blessing's folded up in him. And this, when the mercies shall be. The sceptre did not depart until JESUS came. For in the family of David it was continued, even when Judaea became a province under the Roman government. In proof read that scripture: John 19:7 . And in proof that then JESUS, the Shiloh, was come, read that scripture: John 19:15 . And for the gathering of the people, read Haggai 2:7 ; John 11:32; John 11:32 .
This prophecy was completed, when the tribe of Zebulun had by lot assigned it the border of the sea. Joshua 19:10-11 .
John 15:1 ; 1 Kings 4:25 ; Revelation 19:18 .
This verse forms a sweet break in the thread of Jacob's blessing. So said Simeon, Luke 2:25-30 . Reader! GOD grant that so may you and I. Heb 11:13-14 .
Deuteronomy 33:18 .
Joshua 19:40 .
Gad is a type of grace, often overcome by troops of enemies, but at length victorious. Romans 8:37 . Concerning Gad, see 1 Chronicles 5:18 , etc.
Deuteronomy 33:24 . How precious is that promise made to Asher: Deuteronomy 33:25 . And how very sweet have the LORD'S people found it in all ages!
Deuteronomy 33:23 . And what greater mercy can be desired than this!
While we keep in view the Patriarch Joseph in those prophecies, let us not forget that a greater than Joseph is here. How fruitful is the church of the LORD! his branches have spread over the earth. Psalms 80:1-8 , etc.
How was JESUS shot at, and his Church assaulted in all ages! Isaiah 50:6 .
Isaiah 1:7 ; 1 Peter 2:6-7
Nothing can afford a higher proof that the Patriarch Jacob, in all that he here said, was guided by the spirit of prophecy, and not by natural affection: because his predictions concerning his beloved Benjamin were not very flattering to himself. If you consult the history of the Benjamites you will find the truth of Jacob's prophecies fulfilled. See Judges 20:14 . It is perhaps worth observing, that Paul the Apostle was of this tribe: in the morning of whose life he was furious as a wolf against the cause of JESUS; but in the evening he sat down to the fruits of his labours for the cross. See Romans 11:1 ; Acts 9:1 ; Philippians 3:5 .
Genesis 28:13 ; Deuteronomy 33:13-17 .
One thought meets us here. It is this, though Israel's tribes were thus diversified under many and various exercises, yet it is a precious thought to consider Israel as a people brought into Covenant mercies. Isaiah 54:7-10 .
Would you know what it is to be gathered unto Jacob's people, See Hebrews 12:18-24 .
Genesis 25:19 ; Acts 7:60
MARK the perfect man and behold the upright, (saith the Psalmist), for the end of that man is peace. Reader! think what an important thing it is to die well. What is to be performed but once should be well performed. For if we err here there is no repentance in the grave. LORD, grant, if it be thy holy will, that like the Patriarch I may be waiting while living for thy salvation: that when dying like him I may rejoice in the possession of it.
Let us take a parting look at the Patriarch Jacob while closing his history, and once more in him behold a lively type of the blessed JESUS. Before his birth, like the Patriarch, was he not chosen to be the father of many nations? Did he not in a yet more striking manner struggle in the womb with the elder Adam; and by fulfilling the covenant which he had broken, recover the birth-right for his people? In the great work of redemption, how was he driven from his father's house, exposed to all the horrors of the wilderness, and made the subject of temptations? For the love he bore his Church, what a series of servitude did he not endure? Never, surely, could it be said of Israel, as of Israel's GOD, with equal strength of reason, that which was torn of beasts was required of my hand; in the day I was consumed by drought, and of the frost by night. Blessed JESUS! in all things it behoveth thee that thou shouldst have the pre-eminence. May it be my portion to have thy person and gracious offices always in view, until in the dispensation of the fulness of times thou shalt gather together in one all things in thyself, both which are in heaven and which are on earth: and the whole multitude of thy people shall be gathered round thy throne in everlasting glory.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 49". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17