New International Version
Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father's bed, onto my couch and defiled it.
King James Bible
Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
Darby Bible Translation
Impetuous as the waters, thou shalt have no pre-eminence; Because thou wentest up to thy father's couch: Then defiledst thou [it]: he went up to my bed.
World English Bible
Boiling over as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed, then defiled it. He went up to my couch.
Young's Literal Translation
Unstable as water, thou art not abundant; For thou hast gone up thy father's bed; Then thou hast polluted: My couch he went up!
Genesis 49:4 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Pouring out like the waters - This is an obscure sentence because unfinished. It evidently relates to the defilement of his father's couch; and the word פחז pachaz, here translated pouring out, and in our Version unstable, has a bad meaning in other places of the Scripture, being applied to dissolute, debauched, and licentious conduct. See Judges 9:4; Zephaniah 3:4; Jeremiah 23:14, Jeremiah 23:32; Jeremiah 29:23.
Thou shalt not excel - This tribe never rose to any eminence in Israel; was not so numerous by one third as either Judah, Joseph, or Dan, when Moses took the sum of them in the wilderness, Numbers 1:21; and was among the first that were carried into captivity, 1 Chronicles 5:26.
Then thou didst defile - Another unfinished sentence, similar to the former, and upon the same subject, passing over a transaction covertly, which delicacy forbade Jacob to enlarge on. For the crime of Reuben, see Clarke on Genesis 35:22 (note).
5. Simeon and Levi, brethren: They have accomplished their fraudulent purposes.
6. Into their secret council my soul did not come; In their confederacy my honor was not united: For in their anger they slew a man, (איש ish, a noble), And in their pleasure they murdered a prince.
7. Cursed was their anger, for it was fierce! And their excessive wrath, for it was inflexible! I will divide them out in Jacob, And I will disperse them in Israel.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
thou shall not excel. Heb. do not thou excel.
he went up to my couch. or, my couch is gone.
LibraryThe Shepherd, the Stone of Israel
'... The mighty God of Jacob. From thence is the Shepherd, the stone of Israel.'--GENESIS xlix. 24. A slight alteration in the rendering will probably bring out the meaning of these words more correctly. The last two clauses should perhaps not be read as a separate sentence. Striking out the supplement 'is,' and letting the previous sentence run on to the end of the verse, we get a series of names of God, in apposition with each other, as the sources of the strength promised to the arms of the hands …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Messianic Prophecies in the Pentateuch.
General Notes by the American Editor
The Holy Spirit and the Incarnation of the Word. ...
While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father's concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it. Jacob had twelve sons:
"Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father's wife, for he dishonors his father's bed." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!"
"Let Reuben live and not die, nor his people be few."
1 Chronicles 5:1
The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father's marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright,
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