by Harley Howard

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Genesis Chapter 49 (46 of 47)
Series: The Study of The Word Of God
Harley Howard

1 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.
2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

Jacob prepared to bless his sons and some of them were in for a big and unpleasant surprise. Jacob's words took a prophetic tone toward his sons. I am sure that there was great excitement on the part of the sons now that Jacob was dying and that their inheritance, that they waited for, was about to be bestowed. As I said, some would be in for a big unpleasant surprise, starting with unpleasant surprise number one, Reuben.

3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

Jacob heaped praise upon Reuben. He was powerful, he had dignity, and he had power. He was entitled to a double portion of the inheritance because he was the firstborn. If the verse stopped here we could see a happy ending for Reuben. In spite of his strengths, he had greater weaknesses and a short memory.

4 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.

What a blow to this man. Jacob described him as boiling over as water. In the figurative sense, he was one given over to the excitement of lust. This phrase boiling over with water is used in Judges 9:4 and Zephaniah 3:4, for frivolity and pride. What was his punishment? He would not excel. You will have no preference, because you defiled and desecrated my marriage bed when you defiled my concubine, who should have been sacred in your sight. You have lost everything. You will have no leadership of the nation, no double portion, no portion at all. No prophet, hero or judge ever came from this tribe in the pages of scripture. What was to ...

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