Jacob Blesses His Sons, by Melissa Gibbs

 

Jacob Blesses His Sons, by Melissa Gibbs

As Jacob's death draws near, he makes Joseph swear ( in an ancient version of our "pinky swear") that he will bury him in Canaan, with Isaac and Abraham, along with Rebekah and Sarah. I found it comforting to learn that Leah had also been buried there and would be joined in death by her husband. As the only woman buried next to her husband, and alongside the forefathers of God's chosen people, Leah finally attained the respect and worth she had long desired.

But before he dies, Jacob blesses his sons, which equates to prophesying over each of the 12 tribes of Israel. While Jacob had twelve sons, the tribes of Israel are slightly different. Because of the honor bestowed upon Joseph, either for being his father's favorite or for his role in preserving the family/nation, he is given the "double portion" of the inheritance that was customarily given to the firstborn. This was accomplished when Jacob claimed Joseph's two sons as his own, giving them tribal status equal to their uncles (Jacob's sons). Breaking custom again, Jacob gives Joseph's younger son the "blessing" of the firstborn; the same blessing he had cheated Esau out of. When Jospeh tries to correct him, thinking his father simply cannot see, Jacob assures him of his intent. Again, the younger will be greater than the older, ( as with Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau) confirming that God looks at the heart and makes sovereign decisions accordingly.

Rather than Joseph having a tribe, he essentially had two tribes through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh. So if you're counting, there should now be 13 tribes of Israel... 12 brothers less one (Joseph) plus two (Ephraim and Manasseh). Yet when the time comes to divide the Promised Land into sections for each of the tribes, the divisions are based on the number 12. This is due to the fact that the tribe of Levi would become priests and would be scattered throughout the tribal territories, ministering to the Israelites and teaching them God's statutes. They would not inherit land of their own, as they would not be living separately as a tribal unit.

One of my resource books listed each of Jacob's blessings to his sons and their later fulfillment. I will summarize the most notable...

Rueben: lost status as firstborn due to the bedding of his father's concubine; Reuben was actually one of the first tribes to be overcome in the 9th century BC by Moab

Simeon: as punishment for his horrific crime at Shechem, his tribe would be scattered; Though quite numerous at the time of the Exodus, they are not mentioned in Deuteronomy and were apparently absorbed by the tribe of Judah

Levi: also prophesied to be scattered due to his participation in the slaughter at Shechem, the Levites became priests after being the only tribe to take a stand with Moses after the golden calf incident in the wilderness; still, they were scattered and had no land of their own

Judah: portrayed as a powerful lion and a ruler of Israel; Jesus would come from this tribe; this prophecy contains a strong reference to the coming Messiah King when it reads "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs".

Tomorrow's reading: Job 1-4

About Melissa Gibbs:

 

Melissa is the mother of four boys and the wife of her junior high sweetheart, JD.  He is the President of Joe Gibbs Racing and the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.  JD and Melissa have been married 16 years and are actively involved with Young Life, Motor Racing Outreach, their church, and other ministries.  Their youngest son Taylor is nearing completion of a 3 year treatment protocol for leukemia, which has been a powerful faith walk for their family.  Since his diagnosis, Melissa has been called upon to share their family's testimony with many local churches. Much of her energy is now focused on a huge festival planned for mid May in celebration of Taylor's victory over leukemia and in effort to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer.  If you'd like to check out what she's up to while not blogging, go to www.finishlinefestival.com.

 

Visit Melissa at http://chronologicalbiblein2010.blogspot.com/.

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