And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And of Joseph he said.—The remark of Rashi is especially applicable here. “Thou wilt find in the case of all the tribes, that the blessing of Moses is drawn from the fountain of the blessing of Jacob.”
As the voice of Judah, the office of Levi, and the situation of Benjamin are singled out for notice, so the land of Joseph is blessed.
The deep that coucheth beneath.—Rashi observes that “the deep ascends in vapour, and also gives moisture from below.”Deuteronomy 33:13-15. And of Joseph — Including both Ephraim and Manasseh. In Jacob’s blessing, that of Joseph is the largest; and so it is here. His land — His portion, shall be endowed with choice blessings from God. Of heaven — That is, the precious fruits of the earth brought forth by the influences of heaven, the warmth of the sun, and the rain, which God will send from heaven. The deep — The springs of water bubbling out of the earth: perhaps it may likewise refer to the great deep, the abyss of waters, which is supposed to be contained in the earth. By the sun — Which opens and warms the earth, cherishes and improves, and in due time ripens, the seeds and fruits of it. The moon — Which by its moisture refreshes and promotes them. Hebrew, Of the moons, or months, that is, which it bringeth forth in the several mouths or seasons of the year. The chief things — That is, the excellent fruits, growing upon the mountains, as grapes, olives, figs, &c., or the precious minerals, contained in them; ancient and lasting — That is, such as have been from the beginning of the world, and are likely to continue till the end of it, in opposition to those hills or mounts which have been cast up by man.Genesis 49:23-24); while the lawgiver seems to look beyond, and to behold the two triumphant and established in their power.
For the precious things of heaven, i.e. the precious fruits of the earth brought forth by the influences of heaven, the warmth of the sun, and the rain which God will send from heaven.
For the deep that coucheth beneath; the springs of water bubbling out of the earth.
blessed of the Lord be his land; as the lands inherited by his sons were extremely fruitful, the countries of lead and Bashan by Manasseh, and the fields of Samaria by Ephraim: Jarchi says,"there was not in the inheritance of the tribes a land so full of all good things as the land of Joseph;''typical of the church of Christ, the antitypical Joseph, which abounds with all good things through him, or of the better country in heaven:
for the precious things of heaven; that is, the pleasant, precious, and excellent fruits, reproduced by the influence of the heavens, particularly showers of rain which descend from thence; emblems of the grace of God, and Gospel of Christ, which bring spiritual blessings to the sons of men on earth, and make them fruitful in every good word and work: for the dew; which descends also from heaven, and is of unspeakable use to the fruits of the earth, and is sometimes used as an emblem of the favour and goodness of God to his people, Hosea 14:5,
and for the deep that coucheth beneath; that is, beneath the earth, and breaks out upon it, and waters it, and makes it fruitful, which happiness the land of Joseph had, as well as the rain and dew of heaven: this is to be understood of springs and fountains that flow out of the earth to the enriching of it; and so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase the words, and may be applied to Christ and to his Gospel, Sol 4:15.And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. paddle] peg or stake, in Jdg 5:26 of tent-peg, here a digging-stick, Scot. ‘dibble.’
13 And of Joseph he said:
Blessed of the Lord be his land,
With the wealth of heaven above,
And the deep that crouches beneath.
14 With the wealth of the crops of the sun,
And the wealth of the yield of the moons.
15 With the best (?) from the hills of yore,
And the wealth of the ancient heights.
16 Even the wealth of the land and its fulness,
And His favour who dwelt in the Bush.
May they come on the head of Yoséph,
On the skull of the crowned of his brothers!
17 His firstling bull’s be the splendour,
And his horns the horns of the wild ox!
With them he thrusteth the peoples
Together to the ends of the earth.
These be the myriads of Ephraim,
And these the thousands of Manasseh.
The rather longer Blessing of Joseph in Genesis 49:22-26 dwells similarly on the richness of the territory, and on the primacy, of Joseph among the tribes. But it reflects, as this does not, a contest with foreign foes in which he has suffered severely, yet his strength is maintained by the help of the Mighty One of Jacob (the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel?), the God of thy father. The following are close parallels: Deuteronomy 33:13 with Genesis 49:25 c, d; Deuteronomy 33:16 c, d with 26 c, d. See Ryle’s notes.
13. For] Rather with or from, and so throughout 13–16.
precious things] Heb. meged, exact meaning uncertain. It is found only here and in Song of Solomon 4:13; Song of Solomon 4:16; Song of Solomon 7:13 (14) where its plur. is used with fruits: R.V. and Budde precious fruits, Haupt most luscious fruitage. Here it is similarly rendered by Steuern. ‘das Köstlichste,’ Marti ‘das Herrlichste,’ Berth. ‘köstliche Gabe.’ But from the Ar. analogue it is as likely that it meant lavishness, profusion or wealth. Sam. has issue or profluence. LXX in Deuteronomy 33:13 ἀπὸ ὡρῶν, in Deuteronomy 33:14 and Deuteronomy 33:16 καθʼ ὤραν, but in Deuteronomy 33:15 ἀπὸ κορυφῆς reading rôsh twice.
for the dew] So Sam. LXX. Read (with the change of one consonant) from above as in Genesis 49:25.
the deep] Heb. Tehôm without the art. as always, because originally the proper name of the mythical monster, Bab. Tiâmat, identified with the Ocean and its supposed extension below, as well as around, the earth, the source of springs and fountains; cp. LXX ἀπὸ ἀβύσσων πηγῶν. The personification further survives in the epithet couching or crouching. See on Deuteronomy 8:7.Verses 13-17. - The blessing on Joseph by Moses closely resembles that pronounced by Jacob on his favorite son; he solicits for him the utmost abundance of temporal blessing, and the riches of the Divine favor. There is this difference, however, between the two blessings, that in that of the patriarch it is the growth of the tribe in power and might that is chiefly contemplated; whilst in that of Moses it is the advance of the tribe in wealth, prosperity, and influence that is chiefly indicated. "Jacob described the growth of Joseph under the figure of a luxuriant branch of a fruit tree planted by the water; whilst Moses fixes his eye primarily upon the land of Joseph, and desires for him the richest productions" (Keil). For the precious things of heaven, for the dew. Several codices, for מטל, "for dew," read מעל, above - "the precious things of heaven above;" and this reading, some critics of eminence adopt. Probably, however, this is only a correction, to bring this passage into accordance with Genesis 49:25. The Targums and the Peshito combine both readings. Instead of "for the precious things," it is better to read "with," etc., and so throughout vers. 13-16. Literally, it is from, etc.; מִמֶּגֶד, the מ expressing the instrumental cause of the blessing, of which the Lord is the efficient cause. The noun מֶגֶד, literally, excellency, preciousness, occurs only here and in Song of Solomon 4:13, 16 and Cant 7:13, where it is rendered by "pleasant." The precious fruit of the heavens is the dew, which, with the waters stored up in the recesses of the earth, furthers the growth of the earth's produce, ripened by the influences of sun and moon. And for the chief things of the ancient mountains; literally, and from the head of the mountains of old. The precious things of the mountains and hills are the vines and olive trees with which the lower slopes are adorned, and the forests that crown the loftier. The good will of him that dwelt in the bush. The reference is to the appearance of Jehovah to Moses in the bush at Horeb (Exodus 3.), when he manifested himself as the Deliverer of Israel, whose good pleasure it was that they should be redeemed from bondage and favored with blessing. That was separated from his brethren; separated in the sense of consecrated, or distinguished (נָזִיר, from נָזַר, to consecrate), from among his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock; rather, the firstborn of his oxen, majesty is to him. The singular, שׁור, is here used collectively, as in Deuteronomy 15:19. The oxen are Joseph's sons, all of whom were strong, but the firstborn excelled the rest, and was endowed with majesty. It is Ephraim that is referred to, whom Jacob raised to the position of the firstborn (Genesis 48:8, etc.). His horns are like the horns of unicorns; literally, and horns of a ream are his horns. The ream is supposed to be the aurochs, an animal of the bovine species, allied to the buffalo, now extinct, but which the Assyrian bas-reliefs show to have been formerly hunted in that region (cf. Job 39:9, etc.; Psalm 22:22; Rawlinson 'Anc. Men.,' 1:284). By his strong power, Ephraim should thrust down nations, even the most distant. And they are the ten thousands of Ephraim; and these are, etc.; i.e. in such might will the myriads of Ephraim come forth. To Ephraim, as the chief, the myriads are assigned; to Manasseh only the thousands. Genesis 49:10), is mentioned before Levi as the royal tribe. The prayer, May Jehovah bring Judah to his people, can hardly be understood in any other way than it is by Onkelos and Hengstenberg (Christol. i. 80), viz., as founded upon the blessing of Jacob, and expressing the desire, that as Judah was to lead the way as the champion of his brethren in the wars of Israel against the nations, he might have a prosperous return to his people; for the thought, "introduce him to the kingdom of Israel and Judah" (Luther), or "give up to him the people which belongs to him according to Thine appointment" (Schultz), is hardly implied in the words, "bring to his people." Other explanations are not worth mentioning. What follows points to strife and war: "With his hands (ידיו accusative of the instrument, vid., Ges. ֗138, 1, note 3; Ewald, ֗283, a.) is he fighting (רב participle of ריב) for it (the nation); Thou wilt grant him help, deliverance before his foes."
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