Saturday, March 28, 2015

A comparison of Genesis 49 with Deuteronomy 33

As we were reading through the book of Deuteronomy, we read Moses' blessings upon the tribes and I did a comparison with Jacob's blessings upon his sons. I made a little grid. I 'm not sure what I'll do with it. In 1965 Oosterbaan & Le Cointre published J.G. Meijer's two volume work, Ieder Een Eigen Zegen ("Each his own Blessing"). Perhaps Deuteronomy 33 calls for something similar. In the mean time, the two sets of blessings are interesting to compare.

Jacob, Genesis 49
Moses, Deuteronomy 33

Reuben, you are my firstborn,
    my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
    preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence,
    because you went up to your father's bed;
    then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!


“Let Reuben live, and not die,
    but let his men be few.”

5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers;
    weapons of violence are their swords.
6 Let my soul come not into their council;
    O my glory, be not joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
    and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.
7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
    and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
    and scatter them in Israel.

“Give to Levi[h] your Thummim,
    and your Urim to your godly one,
whom you tested at Massah,
    with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah;
who said of his father and mother,
    ‘I regard them not’;
he disowned his brothers
    and ignored his children.
For they observed your word
    and kept your covenant.
10 They shall teach Jacob your rules
    and Israel your law;
they shall put incense before you
    and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11 Bless, O Lord, his substance,
    and accept the work of his hands;
crush the loins of his adversaries,
    of those who hate him, that they rise not again.”

(Simeon missing)


Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
    your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
    your father's sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion's cub;
    from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
    and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;[a]
    and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
    and his donkey's colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
    and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
    and his teeth whiter than milk.


“Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah,
    and bring him in to his people.
With your hands contend[g] for him,
    and be a help against his adversaries.”

13 Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea;
    he shall become a haven for ships,
    and his border shall be at Sidon.

“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
    and Issachar, in your tents.
19 They shall call peoples to their mountain;
    there they offer right sacrifices;
for they draw from the abundance of the seas
    and the hidden treasures of the sand.”


14 Issachar is a strong donkey,
    crouching between the sheepfolds.[b]
15 He saw that a resting place was good,
    and that the land was pleasant,
so he bowed his shoulder to bear,
    and became a servant at forced labor.


For Issachar, see Zebulun

16 Dan shall judge his people
    as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
    a viper by the path,
that bites the horse's heels
    so that his rider falls backward.
18 I wait for your salvation, O Lord.


Dan is a lion's cub
    that leaps from Bashan.”

19 “Raiders shall raid Gad,[c]
    but he shall raid at their heels.

“Blessed be he who enlarges Gad!
    Gad crouches like a lion;
    he tears off arm and scalp.
21 He chose the best of the land for himself,
    for there a commander's portion was reserved;
and he came with the heads of the people,
    with Israel he executed the justice of the Lord,
    and his judgments for Israel.”


20 Asher's food shall be rich,
    and he shall yield royal delicacies.

“Most blessed of sons be Asher;
    let him be the favorite of his brothers,
    and let him dip his foot in oil.
25 Your bars shall be iron and bronze,
    and as your days, so shall your strength be.


21 Naphtali is a doe let loose
    that bears beautiful fawns.

“O Naphtali, sated with favor,
    and full of the blessing of the Lord,
    possess the lake[l] and the south.”

  
22 Joseph is a fruitful bough,
    a fruitful bough by a spring;
    his branches run over the wall.[e]
23 The archers bitterly attacked him,
    shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24 yet his bow remained unmoved;
    his arms[f] were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
    (from there is the Shepherd,[g] the Stone of Israel),
25 by the God of your father who will help you,
    by the Almighty[h] who will bless you
    with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
    blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
    are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents,
    up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.[i]
May they be on the head of Joseph,
    and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.


 “Blessed by the Lord be his [Joseph’s] land,
    with the choicest gifts of heaven above,[j]
    and of the deep that crouches beneath,
14 with the choicest fruits of the sun
    and the rich yield of the months,
15 with the finest produce of the ancient mountains
    and the abundance of the everlasting hills,
16 with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
    and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.
May these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.
17 A firstborn bull[k]—he has majesty,
    and his horns are the horns of a wild ox;
with them he shall gore the peoples,
    all of them, to the ends of the earth;
they are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
    and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
    in the morning devouring the prey
    and at evening dividing the spoil.”

The beloved of the Lord [Benjamin] dwells in safety.
The High God[i] surrounds him all day long,
    and dwells between his shoulders.”





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