Genesis 47:31
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Swear to me," he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

King James Bible
And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.

Darby Bible Translation
And he said, Swear to me; and he swore to him. And Israel worshipped on the bed's head.

World English Bible
He said, "Swear to me," and he swore to him. Israel bowed himself on the bed's head.

Young's Literal Translation
and he saith, 'Swear to me;' and he sweareth to him, and Israel boweth himself on the head of the bed.

Genesis 47:31 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head - Jacob was now both old and feeble, and we may suppose him reclined on his couch when Joseph came; that he afterwards sat up erect (see Genesis 48:2) while conversing with his son, and receiving his oath and promise; and that when this was finished he bowed himself upon the bed's head - exhausted with the conversation, he again reclined himself on his bed as before. This seems to be the simple meaning, which the text unconnected with any religious system or prejudice, naturally proposes. But because שחה shachah, signifies not only to bow but to worship, because acts of religious worship were performed by bowing or prostration, and because מטה mittah, a bed, by the change of the points, only becomes matteh, a staff, in which sense the Septuagint took it, translating the original words thus: Και προσεκυνησεν Ισραηλ επι το ακρον της ῥαβδου αυτου, and Israel worshipped upon the top of his staff, which the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Hebrews 11:21, quotes literatim; therefore some have supposed that Jacob certainly had a carved image on the head or top of his staff, to which he paid a species of adoration; or that he bowed himself to the staff or scepter of Joseph, thus fulfilling the prophetic import of his son's dreams! The sense of the Hebrew text is given above. If the reader prefers the sense of the Septuagint and the Epistle to the Hebrews, the meaning is, that Jacob, through feebleness, supported himself with a staff, and that, when he got the requisite assurance from Joseph that his dead body should be carried to Canaan, leaning on his staff be bowed his head in adoration to God, who had supported him all his life long, and hitherto fulfilled all his promises.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Genesis 24:3 And I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth...

And Israel bowed. As {shachah}, which primarily signifies to {bow}, denotes also to {worship}; and as {mittah, a bed} pronounced {matteh} is a {staff}; the LXX. have taken the passage in the latter sense, and rendered it [] `and Israel worshipped upon the top of his staff,' which is literally copied by the apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews. The present reading is, however, supported by the Maoretic pointing and the Targums; and is most probably correct, as it would appear that Jacob was confined to his bed.

Genesis 47:29 And the time drew near that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said to him, If now I have found grace in your sight...

Genesis 24:26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.

Genesis 48:1,2 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, your father is sick: and he took with him his two sons...

1 Kings 1:47 And moreover the king's servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than your name...

Hebrews 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Two Retrospects of one Life
'And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.'--GENESIS xlvii. 9. 'The God which fed me all my life long unto this day; the Angel which redeemed me from all evil.' --GENESIS xlviii. 15,16. These are two strangely different estimates of the same life to be taken by the same man. In the latter Jacob categorically contradicts everything that he had said in the former. 'Few and evil,' he said before Pharaoh. 'All my life long,' 'the Angel which redeemed me from
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Shortness and Misery of Life.
1 Our days, alas! our mortal days Are short and wretched too; "Evil and few," the patriarch says, [1] And well the patriarch knew. 2 'Tis but at best a narrow bound That heaven allows to men, And pains and sins run thro' the round Of threescore years and ten. 3 Well, if ye must be sad and few, Run on, my days, in haste; Moments of sin, and months of woe, Ye cannot fly too fast. 4 Let heavenly love prepare my soul, And call her to the skies, Where years of long salvation roll, And glory never dies.
Isaac Watts—Hymns and Spiritual Songs

Cross References
Hebrews 11:21
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

Genesis 21:23
Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you."

Genesis 21:24
Abraham said, "I swear it."

Genesis 24:3
I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living,

Genesis 31:53
May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us." So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac.

Genesis 50:25
And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place."

1 Kings 1:47
Also, the royal officials have come to congratulate our lord King David, saying, 'May your God make Solomon's name more famous than yours and his throne greater than yours!' And the king bowed in worship on his bed

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