New American Standard Bible
"Reuben, you are my firstborn; My might and the beginning of my strength, Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
King James Bible
Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
Darby Bible Translation
Reuben, thou art my firstborn, My might, and the firstfruits of my vigour: Excellency of dignity, and excellency of strength.
World English Bible
"Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength; excelling in dignity, and excelling in power.
Young's Literal Translation
Reuben! my first-born thou, My power, and beginning of my strength, The abundance of exaltation, And the abundance of strength;
Genesis 49:3 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Reuben, as the first-born by nature, has the first place in the benedictory address. My might. In times and places in which a man's right depends on his might, a large family of sons is the source of strength and safety. "The excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power" - the rank and authority which belong to the first-born. "Boiling over as water." That which boils over perishes at the same time that it is pernicious. This is here transferred in a figure to the passionate nature of Reuben. "Thou shalt not excel." There is here an allusion to the excellency of dignity and power. By the boiling over of his unhallowed passions Reuben lost all the excellence that primogeniture confers. By the dispensation of Providence the double portion went to Joseph, the first-born of Rachel; the chieftainship to Judah; and the priesthood to Levi. The cause of this forfeiture is then assigned. In the last sentence the patriarch in a spirit of indignant sorrow passes from the direct address to the indirect narrative. "To my couch he went up." The doom here pronounced upon Reuben is still a blessing, as he is not excluded from a tribe's share in the promised land. But, as in the case of the others, this blessing is abated and modified by his past conduct. His tribe has its seat on the east of the Jordan, and never comes to any eminence in the commonwealth of Israel.
Now, my brethren, if it be so in earthly things, it is so also in spiritual. Instability in religion is a thing which every man despises, although every man has, to a degree, the evil in himself, but stability in the firm profession and practice of godliness, will always win respect, even from the worldly, and certainly will not be forgotten by him whose smile is honor and whose praise is glory, even the great Lord and Master, before whom we stand or fall. I have many characters here to-day whom …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857
Bunsen's Biblical Researches.
A Preliminary Discourse to Catechising
Fifthly, as this Revelation, to the Judgment of Right and Sober Reason,
"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
"But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.
"May Reuben live and not die, Nor his men be few."
And smote all the firstborn in Egypt, The first issue of their virility in the tents of Ham.
He also struck down all the firstborn in their land, The first fruits of all their vigor.
Jump to PreviousAbundance Beginning Dignity Exaltation Excellence Excellency Excelling First Firstborn First-Born First-Fruit Firstfruits First-Fruits Fruits Honor Oldest Power Pre-Eminence Preeminent Pre-Eminent Pride Reuben Sign Strength Vigour
Jump to NextAbundance Beginning Dignity Exaltation Excellence Excellency Excelling First Firstborn First-Born First-Fruit Firstfruits First-Fruits Fruits Honor Oldest Power Pre-Eminence Preeminent Pre-Eminent Pride Reuben Sign Strength Vigour
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