Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 49:27-28

27 Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.

We receive a quick pronouncement for Benjamin’s future where he is described as a devouring wolf, taking a great spoil. Admittedly, this description is quite different from the image I had concocted for Benjamin. I suppose this is because his main involvement in the story thus far has been his father’s fear of losing “the lad” when the sons went down to Egypt. That sort of concern for his safety created an image of Benjamin as a delicate and quiet sort, but that was merely an assumption. We never have been shown exactly what Benjamin was really like.

Or, even if Benjamin was a gentler man, there’s no reason that his posterity would have to remain so. As it is, the tribe of Benjamin would be known as a tribe of warriors, frequently filling the ranks of the Israelite army. Notable descendants that would display this fiery spirit include Ehud, an assassin who would slay Eglon, the king of Moab, and Saul, who would be the first king of Israel and lead the nation into battle. Paul would also be a descendant of Benjamin, and though not a warrior in earthly terms, he would be a veritable lion in proclaiming the gospel to the broader world.

And now the blessing of the twelve sons is concluded. Each has received according to the quality of man they have shown themselves to be, and according to the foreknowledge of what their descendants would become. Admittedly, the biblical record doesn’t spell out the fulfillment of each prophecy, but the details we do get consistently show Jacob’s prognoses coming to pass.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 49:10-12

10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

Yesterday we discussed how the tribe of Judah would give rise to the greatest kings of Israel and the Savior, Jesus Christ. This is why Jacob says that the “sceptre shall not depart from Judah, until Shiloh come.” Shiloh, of course, is a title for the Messiah.

Verses 11 and 12 can be interpreted in two ways. The first is that Jacob has gone back to describing Judah, foretelling how his land would be rich and overflowing, using hyperbole like the wine being so excessive that the people of the land would use it to wash their clothing.

Or these verses can be seen as one of the first poetic prophecies we have of the Messiah. Thus, they would be referring to “Shiloh,” who was just mentioned at the end of verse 10. From this perspective the “binding of his foal unto the vine,” would be how Christ integrated his disciples into the living vine of his own teachings. The washing his garments in wine refers to his sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane, where blood drained from his pores and must have permeated his clothing.

Of course, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that this description is twofold, meant to describe both Judah and the Savior. Indeed, many prophecies we interpret in a worldly way, and it fits perfectly fine as such, but then one day we realize there was a deeper, spiritual interpretation that was hiding within it this whole time!

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 49:8-10

8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Judah receives a far more promising blessing than Reuben, Simeon, and Levi. We have previously seen that after the three oldest brothers had tarnished themselves and Joseph was taken away, Judah was the one that Jacob relied upon as if he were the firstborn. The man has not been perfect, but he has also proven himself to have a working conscience from time to time.

Jacob foretells that all the other brethren will praise Judah. He even describes the two ways in which this will come true. First, when Israel’s greatest kings, David and Solomon, will come of Judah, and secondly, when our Savior, Jesus Christ, will be born of Judah as well. In fact, to this very day we refer to Christ as “the lion of Judah,” an image that is first suggested right here in Jacob’s blessing.

For a moment let us look more closely at this imagery of a lion. Judah is compared both to a whelp, or a young lion, and then to an old one. He is compared to the youth in terms of having taken his prey, and to the old in how he is now at peaceful repose. Thus, Judah is a warrior returned from successful battle, now able to rest in contentment. He is able to act when the moment requires, but then has the self-confidence to not have to prove himself thereafter. He knows that he has what it takes and is calm and sure in that knowledge.

This is the image of the warrior-poet. This is David, who was able to ride fearlessly into battle, and slay giants, but then go home and write beautiful psalms. This is Jesus, who could scatter the moneychangers at the table with a whip, but then invite the little children to come and be blessed. Judah is the nation of people that possess a deep-rooted and self-confident strength.

Active Discipleship- 2 Timothy 1:7, John 14:12

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

COMMENTARY

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind
He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these
When I read the scriptures as a boy, I liked to picture myself in the shoes of Daniel, Gideon, and Joseph. These were stories of heroes, stories of people doing remarkable things in difficult situations, stories of valiant hearts that rose to the occasion, that knew their calling, and then lived it boldly. I loved these stories, and I always felt that they represented exactly the life that God wanted for me as well!
There is an important theme to each one of these stories, the very thing that made them so exciting to read. In all the scriptures, all of the heroes are examples of people that lived active lifestyles. These stories only exist because the men and women in them were not sitting around, living passive lives. We will never be like the fearless warrior David so long as we shy away from our struggles. We will never be like the great pioneer Moses so long as we turn down the ventures God offers us. We will never be like the great re-builder Zechariah so long as we refuse to make restitution for the things we have broken.
God always intended that we would feel the scripture heroes alive within us. He wanted for us to read their stories, be inspired by them, and become heroes just like them. But it will never happen so long as we remain sedentary on the sofa.