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Parashah 12 VaYechi

Genesis 47:28 – 50:26

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14

Lucrative copying not permitted.  


Torah Readings:

  1. 47:28 – 48:9
  2. 48:10-16
  3. 48:17-22
  4. 49:1-18
  5. 49:19-26
  6. 49:27 – 50:20
  7. 50:21-26
  8. Maftir: 50:23-26


Haftarah: 1 Kings 2:1-12


Means “and he lived”


The First Aliyah, 47:28 – 48:9

47:28 “Ya`akov lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Ya`akov, the years of his life, were one hundred forty-seven years.”(HNV) – Ya’akov took care of his son Yosef during the first seventeen years of his life, see 37:2. Here Yosef gives Ya’akov back the care that he received, for the same amount of years. This teaches us that children are obliged to give back to their parents what they need when they are older, as it is written in 1 Timothy 5:4,

But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them learn first to show piety towards their own family, and to repay their parents, for this is acceptable in the sight of God.”(HNV)

47:29 “The time drew near that Yisra'el must die, and he called his son Yosef, and said to him, ‘If now I have found favor in your sight, please put your hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me. Please don’t bury me in Egypt,’”(HNV revised) – Israel had learned from his grandfather Avraham the importance of swearing by the sign of the circumcision, see 24:2. The first oath was about getting a bride for Yitzchak, the son of the promise. This time it concerned not being buried in Egypt. Both things were very important in relation to the Eternal’s plan of salvation. Why was it so important that Israel not be buried in Egypt, but in the Promised Land? Here are some reasons:

  • He wanted to show that Egypt was not the land for the people of Israel.

  • He did not want that the children of Israel would travel to Egypt in order to visit the grave of their forefather, see Deuteronomy 17:16.

  • He wanted to avoid having the Egyptians worshiping him as an idol.

  • He wanted to be in the land of Israel when the resurrection would happen at the time of the Messiah’s coming.

47:30 “’but when I sleep with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place.’ He said, ‘I will do as you have said.’” (HNV) – When a righteous man dies, he sleeps and rests. The Scriptures are not clear about what happens to the soul after death. According to some texts, it seems as though there is no consciousness after death. According to other texts, it seems as though the opposite is true. Greek philosophy teaches that the soul is immortal and eternal. This idea has infiltrated both Judaism and Christianity, but it is not what the Scriptures teach.

In Ezekiel 18:4, it is written,

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins, he shall die.”(HNV)

In Psalm 22:29, it is written,

“All the rich ones of the earth shall eat and worship. All those who go down to the dust shall bow before him, even he who can’t keep his soul alive.”(HNV)

In Matthew 10:28, it is written,

Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehinnom.”(HNV)

In Hebrews 10:39, it is written:

“But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul.”(HNV)

47:31 “He said, ‘Swear to me,’ and he swore to him. Yisra'el bowed himself on the bed’s head.”(HNV) – Ya’akov asked Yosef to swear an oath so that it would be easier for him to ask Paroh to bury him in the land of Kana’an. That way Paroh would see that the initiative did not come from Yosef, but from Ya’akov himself. It would make a greater impression since it was an oath.

In Hebrews 11:21, it is written,

By faith, Ya`akov, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Yosef, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.”(HNV)

In this passage in the letter to the Hebrews it seems as though Ya’akov first blessed Yosef’s sons, and then worshiped, leaning on his staff. In the Torah, however, nothing is mentioned about Ya’akov worshiping after he blesses Yosef’s sons, see Genesis 48. Neither does the Torah say that he leaned on his staff, but rather that he leaned on the bed’s head. How are we to understand what seems to be a contradiction? Here we will present two possible ways of interpreting this:

  • The Hebrew word that was written with the three letters mem, tet, and he, has two meanings, “bed”[1] and “staff”.[2] There were no vowels in the Hebrew text to begin with. The Torah was given at Sinai without vowels. The vowels were added by the scribes during the 9th century CE. There were, however, oral traditions with the correct pronunciation, which had been passed down carefully through the generations. This way the correct pronunciation of each word was known, without the vowels being written down. This does, however, open up different possibilities of interpretation of a Hebrew word that can be pronounced in different ways. The word mitah, “bed”, and the word mateh, “staff”, are written the same way in the original Hebrew text, using the three Hebrew letters which correspond with “m”, “t”, and “h”. In ta deeper level of interpretation one uses this possibility to understand one word in different ways, depending on the way it is pronounced using different vowels. This way the content of the text is enriched. Looking at the word in question according to this drash-level of interpretation would mean that it could be translated as either “bed” or “staff”. The Septuagint translated the word as “staff” and the Greek text of the book of Hebrews quotes the Septuagint. However, Clemens of Alexandria,[3] Eusebius,[4] and Jerome,[5] say that the book of Hebrews was written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek, so the question is then whether it was written “bed” in the original Hebrew of the book of Hebrews. In that case it would line up with the Masoretic (with vowels) text in Genesis.

  • It is also possible that the texts are speaking of two different incidents. One where Ya’akov worshiped at the head of his bed, according to Genesis 47:31, and another after he had blessed Yosef’s two sons, according to Genesis 48:22. In Hebrews 11:21, it says that Ya’akov worshiped leaning over the top of his staff after he had blessed Yosef’s sons. According to Jasher’s book,[6] Ya’akov gave Yosef, in Genesis 48:22, the sapphire staff which had been passed down from generation to generation since Adam. It could be possible that Ya’akov would have leaned over this staff and worshiped in Genesis 48:22.

48:1 “It happened after these things, that someone said to Yosef, ‘Behold, your father is sick.’ He took with him his two sons, Menasheh and Efrayim.”(HNV) – This time represents the last days of the Messianic age when Israel will go through the Great Tribulation. During that time new children will come into Israel, children who were born of non-Jewish mothers.

48:2 “Someone told Ya`akov, and said, ‘Behold, your son Yosef comes to you,’ and Yisra'el strengthened himself, and sat on the bed.”(HNV) – When Ya’akov goes through a great tribulation, Yosef comes to him. In the same way Israel will be lifted up by the revelation of the Messiah, the Son of Yosef.

48:3-4 “Ya`akov said to Yosef, ‘El Shaddai appeared to me at Luz in the land of Kana`an, and blessed me, and said to me, "Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession."’”(HNV) – When this happened Ya’akov already had eleven sons. Ya’akov understood the message from the Eternal as meaning that he would have more children.

In Genesis 35:11, it is written,

“God said to him, ‘I am El Shaddai. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations will be from you, and kings will come out of your loins.’”(HNV revised)

“A nation” is referring to Binyamin who would be born to Rachel. But since she died, Ya’akov would not have any more children through her. The way to fulfill the second part of the heavenly command, which was to become a company of nations, was to adopt Yosef’s sons.

48:5 “Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you into Egypt, are mine; Efrayim and Menasheh, even as Re'uven and Shim`on, will be mine.”(HNV) – As we said earlier, Yosef’s two sons represent the Messiah Yeshua’s spiritual sons who would be born among the gentiles during the two thousand years of the Messianic age, counting from the resurrection until today. Yosef’s sons were born among the gentiles of a non-Jewish mother. During his time of sickness, Ya’akov adopted them so that they became his own sons, with the same rights as Re’uven and Shimon. A firstborn is given three things:[7]

·         A double inheritance – which was given to Yosef’s tribe.

·         The priesthood – which was given to Levi’s tribe.

·         The right to rule – which was given to Yehudah’s tribe.

The birthright of double inheritance was given to Yosef’s sons, according to 1 Chronicles 5:1-2. That is why these two received a territory each in the Promised Land. In this way Yosef, through his sons, received the double portion according to the right of the firstborn.

48:6 “Your issue, who you become the father of after them, will be yours. They will be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance.”(HNV) – The rest of Yosef’s sons received their inheritance within one of their elder brothers’ tribes, Efrayim and Menasheh.

48:7 “As for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died by me in the land of Kana`an in the way, when there was still some distance to come to Efrat, and I buried her there in the way to Efrat (the same is Beit-Lechem).”(HNV) – The expression “as for me” means, according to Rashi, that in spite of the fact that Ya’akov had not buried Rachel in the Patriarchs’ grave, but on the way there, Ya’akov should be buried in Egypt, even though it would be complicated for Yosef.

48:8 “Yisra'el saw Yosef’s sons, and said, ‘Who are these?’”(HNV) – Ya’akov was practically blind, see verse 10. But it still says that he saw Yosef’s sons. This teaches us that he saw them prophetically.

According to a Midrash,[8] Ya’akov wanted to bless them both. But he could not because the Ruach haKodesh (the Spirit of Sanctity, the heavenly Presence) left him when he saw a prophetic vision. Two evil kings would be born as their descendants. The evil King Yehu would come from Menasheh, and the horrible King Achav from Efrayim. The question “who are these?” was then expressing doubt over their origin. Yosef then had to show a marriage certificate, (which is what the word “here” is referring to, according to Rashi). Then Ya’akov could bless them.

But it is hardly probable that they used marriage certificates at that time. It is something that was incorporated later on in Israel’s history. Rather, it is a matter of Ya’akov wanting to be sure that they really were Yosef’s two oldest sons, so that the same thing would not happen to him as had happened to his father Yitzchak when he blessed Ya’akov believing that he was Esav.

Furthermore, there is a prophetic revelation about the end times within these words.

In Isaiah 49:18-22, it is written,

“Lift up your eyes round about, and see: all these gather themselves together, and come to you. As I live, says HaShem, you shall surely clothe you with them all as with an ornament, and gird yourself with them, like a bride. For, as for your waste and your desolate places, and your land that has been destroyed, surely now shall you be too small for the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up shall be far away. The children of your bereavement shall yet say in your ears, The place is too small for me; give place to me that I may dwell. Then shall you say in your heart, Who has conceived these for me, seeing I have been bereaved of my children, and am solitary, an exile, and wandering back and forth? and who has brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where were they? Thus says the Lord HaShem, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and set up my ensign to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.”(HNV revised)

According to Rabbi Bar Shalom, there is a connection between Isaiah 49:21 and Genesis 48:8. By using the second level of interpretation, (gezerah shavah, similar expression), we can see this connection.

Israel will ask the same question again in the last days: “Who are these, and where have they come from?” People are coming from all the nations of the earth in order to be united with the people of Israel. These people are the sons of Ben Yosef. They are the disciples of Yeshua the Messiah. The word “son” also means “follower” and “disciple”, see John 21:5. In the last days, Yeshua is drawing near to Israel with the children that have been born again among the gentiles. They come from every nation, tribe, people, and language to be completely united with the people of Israel. Israel, as a nation, is going to ask the same question, “Who are these, and where have they come from?” They are not going to believe their eyes. So many children among the gentiles!

In Isaiah 49:5-6, it is written,

“Now says HaShem who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Ya`akov again to him, and that Yisra'el be gathered to him (for I am honorable in the eyes of HaShem, and my God is become my strength); yes, he says, It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Ya`akov, and to restore the preserved of Yisra'el: I will also give you for a light to the gentiles, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth.”(HNV revised)

According to this text, the Messiah has a two-fold assignment; to restore the twelve tribes of Israel and to carry the Eternal’s salvation to all the nations of the earth. Yeshua has to restore the twelve tribes of Israel if he is the real Messiah! Where is the majority of the twelve tribes? Among the gentiles. Who are the descendants of the house of Efrayim? gentiles. So, the Messiah has been working during the past 2000 years, to seek and to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel, as it is written in Matthew 15:24,

“But he answered, ‘I wasn’t sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Yisra'el.’”(HNV)

In the same prophecy in Isaiah 49:12, it is written,

"Behold, these shall come from far; and, behold, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.”(HNV)

The majority of the lost ten tribes is found in the countries to the northwest of the land of Israel.

In Isaiah 49:18a, it is written,

“Lift up your eyes round about, and see: all these gather themselves together, and come to you.”(HNV)

This lines up with what happened with Ya’akov when Yosef came to him with his two sons. He lifted up his spiritual eyes and saw. In the last days, Israel is going to see, acknowledge, and receive the children of Ben Yosef as legitimate. Israel has been blind and has not been able to see these sons for a long time. But now, as the Messiah will be revealed, Israel’s prophetic eyes are going to be opened to see his children who were born to the Mashiach among the gentiles.

In Revelation 7:9, 13-14, it is written,

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands… One of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘These who are arrayed in white robes, who are they, and from where did they come?’ I told him, ‘My lord, you know.’ He said to me, ‘These are those who came out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes, and made them white in the Lamb’s blood.’”(HNV revised)

In this text we can find four things that line up with the context we are studying in Beresheet:

·         I looked, and behold – Israel saw, see Genesis 48:8a.

·         Of every nation – my sons, whom God has given me here, see Genesis 48:9.

·         Who are they, and from where did they come? – Who are these?, see Genesis 48:8b.

·         These are those who came out of the great tribulation – Your father is sick, Genesis see 48:1.

48:9 “Yosef said to his father, ‘They are my sons, whom God has given me here.’ He said, ‘Please bring them to me, and I will bless them.’”(HNV) – The Messiah ben Yosef himself is going to declare that these former gentiles are his sons. He is going to convince Israel that they are legitimate, in spite of the fact that they were born in a Gentile world to non-Jewish mothers, as it is written in Luke 12:8,

“I tell you, everyone who confesses me before men, him will the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God.”(HNV)

“bring them to me” – In the last days, Ben Yosef is increasingly going to cause his sons to draw close to Israel. The Messianic movement among the gentiles has been started by Messiah Yeshua in order to bring his children closer to Israel.

“and I will bless them” – There is a great blessing awaiting the sons of Ben Yosef who were born among the gentiles when they come close to Israel.

The Second Aliyah, 48:10-16

48:10 “Now the eyes of Yisra'el were dim for age, so that he couldn’t see. Yosef brought them near to him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.”(HNV revised) – When the Eternal brings back the captives of Tziyon, Israel is going to be as if in a dream, not able to see clearly, see Psalm 126.

“Yosef brought them near to him” – It is not the rabbis denying Yeshua who have the right to lead the movement which causes Ben Yosef’s sons to draw near to Judaism and Israel in the last days. It is Yeshua HaMashiach who leads that movement. There are people who deny Yeshua in order to be accepted within traditional Judaism and thus are able to make Aliyah to Israel. They have stepped outside of what the Torah teaches about these times. According to the Torah, it is Yosef who brings his children to Israel in the end times, not Yehudah. Only the movement led by Yeshua can fulfill these prophecies. Whoever seeks to be acknowledged by men will be ashamed. Those who seek to be led by Yeshua are going to come to Israel to be embraced and kissed.

There are two main axels within Israel, Yehudah and Efrayim. The entire history of salvation revolves around these two. Not only around the Jews, but also around Efrayim’s descendants who were completely assimilated among the gentiles after the Assyrian invasion in year 722 BCE. Efrayim is the most important one of the ten tribes, which made up the northern kingdom, the house of Israel. Therefore Efrayim represents the rest of the ten tribes. In the end times, Efrayim will be united with Yehudah, and they will become one people under the rule of the Messiah, as it is written in Ezekiel 37:15-28,

“The word of HaShem came again to me, saying, You, son of man, take one stick, and write on it, For Yehudah, and for the children of Yisra'el his companions: then take another stick, and write on it, For Yosef, the stick of Efrayim, and for all the house of Yisra'el his companions: and join them for you one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. When the children of your people shall speak to you, saying, Will you not show us what you mean by these? tell them, Thus says the Lord HaShem: “Behold, I will take the stick of Yosef, which is in the hand of Efrayim, and the tribes of Yisra'el his companions; and I will put them with it, even with the stick of Yehudah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand. The sticks whereon you write shall be in your hand before their eyes. Say to them, Thus says the Lord HaShem: Behold, I will take the children of Yisra'el from among the nations, where they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Yisra'el; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all; neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

My servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my ordinances, and observe my statutes, and do them. They shall dwell in the land that I have given to Ya`akov my servant, in which your fathers lived; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children, forever: and David my servant shall be their prince for ever.  Moreover I will make a covenant of shalom with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. My tent also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. The nations shall know that I am HaShem who consecrates Yisra'el, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forevermore.”(HNV revised)

Luke 15 speaks of a father who has two sons. The older son represents the Jews who are close to the heavenly Father. The younger son represents Efrayim, Ya’akov’s youngest son. He was the head of the ten tribes who went out among the gentiles and wasted his Israelite inheritance. Now he is coming home again. But the older son does not want to come inside and join the feast that the Father has prepared for the son who has just arrived home.

However, it is important to notice that it is not the younger son who goes out to the older son trying to reconcile with him. The younger son is reconciled with the Father. It is the father who goes out to the older son and corrects him. One cannot submit to anti-messianic doctrines in order to be admitted within Israel! The heavenly Father is Israel’s God. If we are members of his family, we are also in Israel. Yeshua will be the Messiah of all Israel and if we are with him, he is going to make everything right for us according to the divine plan. How could we ever leave Yeshua in order to be acknowledged by men? In 1 John 2:23 it is written,

Whoever denies the Son, the same doesn’t have the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.”(HNV)

Yeshua said in Matthew 10:32-33,

Everyone therefore who confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.”(HNV)

Salvation in found in the CONFESSION of the name of Yeshua, as it is written in Romans 10:9-10,

“that if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Yeshua, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”(HNV)

In 1 John 4:1-3, it is written,

“Beloved, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit who doesn’t confess that Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh is not of God, and this is the spirit of the anti-messiah, of whom you have heard that it comes. Now it is in the world already.”(HNV revised)

In 1 John 4:15, it is written,

“Whoever confesses that Yeshua is the Son of God, God remains in him, and he in God.”(HNV)

Dear one who is coming home again, listen to me carefully. You cannot stop confessing Yeshua if you want to remain in Israel’s God! The power is in your confession. In the confession of the name of Yeshua there is salvation and eternal life. Don’t ever think to deny him. This world will pass away, but Yeshua is Lord for eternity. Soon he is going to sit on the throne of David and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Do not betray him now when that day is closer than ever!

In the Midrash that our Rabbi is teaching in Luke 15, we see that the father has the last word in the discussion with the older son. In the same way, the heavenly Father will deal with those older brothers who do not understand that what is happening in the Messianic or Hebrew Roots movement is a part of the heavenly plan of Israel’s restoration. The younger brother Efrayim is coming home, and the older brother is not so happy about it. But in the end the Father will have the last word in this story that we are living! Then we will have a feast, Sukkot, for a thousand years. If you deny Yeshua in order to please the oldest son, you will not take part in this feast! You will be cast into the sea that burns with fire and brimstone.

48:11 “Yisra'el said to Yosef, ‘I didn’t think I would see your face, and, behold, God has let me see your seed also.’”(HNV) – Israel has not believed that they would see Yeshua’s face again. The majority of the Jews still believe that Yeshua is dead. But not only is he alive, he rules and has children among the gentiles. And at this time he is bringing these children close to Israel. Those who do not come close to Israel in these days are not led by the spirit of the Messiah.

48:12 “Yosef brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.”(HNV) – Yosef’s two sons, who at this time were over 25 years old, were brought in between Ya’akov’s knees and then back out. This was an official act of adoption. It is as though they had come from his loins. Thus they became his children legally with full rights within Israel, just as Re’uven and Shimon. This act made such a strong impression on Yosef that he bowed down and worshiped the heavenly Father. Verses 9-12 show how the boys were adopted and verses 13-22 speak of the blessing that they received from their father.

Ben Yosef’s children, who at this time are being led by Messiah and come closer to Israel, are going to be brought into Israel and restored as sons with full rights of inheritance within Israel. Blessed be the Eternal!

48:12 “Yosef took them both, Efrayim in his right hand toward Yisra'el’s left hand, and Menasheh in his left hand toward Yisra'el’s right hand, and brought them near to him.”(HNV) – The word “took” is referring to the second stage of the Jewish wedding tradition, when the bridegroom goes to the bride’s home and “takes” her and brings her to his father’s home where the marriage act is completed. Here it is a reference to the wedding of the Messiah and his bride.

48:14 “Yisra'el stretched out his right hand, and laid it on Efrayim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Menasheh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Menasheh was the firstborn.”(HNV) – The right hand represents the Messiah, who is at his Father’s right hand on high. The Messiah’s hand is on Efrayim in spite of the fact that he has been dispersed among the nations. That hand is now bringing him back.

Ya’akov crossed his hands on purpose, knowing that the younger would be placed above the older. The crossed arms make the letter “X”, which is the letter tav in the archaic Hebrew alphabet, and which means “sign”, “seal”, “covenant”. Yeshua said that he is alef and tav, compare Revelation 22:13. That means that the Messiah is the beginning and the end of the Scriptures given from heaven. The Messiah is tav. That means that he will complete the work of the Eternal. He himself is the sign. He has, with his own blood, sealed the covenant between the Eternal and Israel. Between Israel and Yosef’s children there is, therefore, the sign, which is the completed work of the Messiah, the letter X, tav. It is because of the Messiah Yeshua that the children who are born in the gentile world can come home and be blessed by Israel.

The letter X is also a symbol of the tree where Yosef’s Son had to die in order to reconcile the world to the Father. In the same way we see the death of the Messiah being placed between the Father and the sons of Ben Yosef. It is at that place that the world is blessed. It is at that place where there is reconciliation between the children of Israel and the Eternal. It is at that place where man can be reconciled with the Father, as it is written in Ephesians 2:16-18,

“and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the tree, having killed the hostility thereby. He came and preached shalom to you who were far off and to those who were near. For through him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.”(HNV)

In Colossians 1:20-22, it is written,

“and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made shalom through the blood of his tree. You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you consecrated and without blemish and blameless before him”(HNV revised)

48:15-16 “He blessed Yosef, and said, ‘The God before whom my fathers Avraham and Yitzchak did walk, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads, and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Avraham and Yitzchak. Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.’”(HNV) – This blessing, along with the worshiping while leaning over the staff, are the only things from this patriarch’s life that were brought out and recorded in the chapter about the heroes of the faith, Hebrews 11. What was so special about this blessing? Why is this one of the greatest acts of faith in the history of mankind?

Ya’akov’s entire life had been a difficult struggle. Thirty-seven years of his life were spent outside the Promised Land. All his children except one were born there. Ya’akov was exposed to many life-threatening dangers. But he was saved from them and he worshiped, in the middle of his struggle. This power of protection from HaShem was now transferred to the adopted children, in spite of the fact that they were born in Egypt of a non-Jewish woman, in spite of the fact that they were raised in an environment of paganism and occultism. In spite of the fact that they will be exposed to hardship from their non-Israelite friends, HaShem will keep them so that they will not lose their Hebrew identity and so that they can be called by my name, Israel.

This prayer was fulfilled in Egypt and the two tribes Efrayim and Menasheh grew and kept their tribal identity until the great Exodus.

There is also power in this blessing for the last days. In spite of the fact that the tribes have been lost among the gentiles, they can come back and be identified as Israelites again.

The Third Aliyah, 48:17-22

48:17 “When Yosef saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Efrayim, it displeased him. He held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Efrayim’s head to Menasheh’s head.”(HNV) – The prophetic order takes preference over the natural order.

48:19 “His father refused, and said, ‘I know, my son, I know. He also will become a people, and he also will be great. However, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his seed will become a multitude of nations.’”(HNV) – Menasheh became a people, a great tribe within Israel, with a large territory on both sides of the river Yarden. According to the census taken in Numbers 1, Menasheh was the smallest tribe. But according to Numbers 26:34, the population of this tribe increased by 64% during the 38 years in the desert. This was the tribe with the largest growth rate during that time. Menasheh’s tribe became great also on account of Gidon, who came from this tribe, see Judges 7-8. But Efrayim would become greater. From him would come Yehoshua, Moshe’s successor. Efrayim also received the word about becoming the “fullness of the people”, in Hebrew, “meloh ha-goyim”. Rashi, who often bases his writings on Midrash literature,[9] claims that this means that Efrayim’s descendants will fill the people, in the sense that Yehoshua would make an enormous impression on the people when he caused the sun to stop in Givon and the moon in the valley of Ayalon, see Joshua 10:12.

The Hebrew text, however, invites deeper consideration. It literally says, “and his descendants are going to be the fullness of the (gentile) peoples”. There is another place in the Scriptures where the same expression is found, in Romans 11:25-26, where it is written,

“For I don’t desire, brothers, to have you ignorant of this mystery, so that you won’t be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Yisra'el, until the fullness of the gentiles has come in, and so all Yisra'el will be saved. Even as it is written, ‘There will come out of Tziyon the Deliverer, and he will turn away ungodliness from Ya`akov.’”(HNV)

From this text we can draw several important conclusions:

  • Only a part of Israel has been hardened for a limited period of time. It is not all of Israel and it is not forever.

  • It is a mystery, i.e. part of a heavenly plan for the salvation of the world, which is hard to understand.

  • The fullness of the peoples must come into the salvation, which belongs to Israel.

  • The salvation of all of Israel depends on the fullness of the gentiles.

  • Ungodliness will be removed from Ya’akov, which is the twelve tribes of Israel, not only the Jews, who represent two of Israel’s tribes, Yehudah and Binyamin as well as possibly Levi.

HaShem’s plan of salvation is one of the most wonderful secrets that exist. I will try to sketch it roughly with a few words.

In 1 Kings 12, we see how the kingdom was divided into two nations. This happened in Efrayim’s territory, or more specifically in Shechem, which had been given to Yosef, according to Genesis 48:22. Efrayim became the main tribe in the northern kingdom. Yeravam (Jeroboam) became the first king of the ten tribes in the north. He was from the tribe of Efrayim, 1 Kings 11:26, 28. From that time on Israel’s two houses have been divided, 1 Kings 12:19; 2 Chronicles 10:19. This division came from the Eternal, 1 Kings 12:24; 2 Chronicles 10:15. This is one of the secrets of the plan of salvation for all the peoples of the earth. The northern kingdom soon became pagan because they brought in a syncretistic religion, 1 Kings 12:28-33. The prophets Amos and Hoshea were sent to the northern kingdom in order to foretell its imminent destruction. The house of Israel would be sent out to the nations and become mixed in with them, as it is written in Hosea 7:8a,

“Efrayim, he mixes himself among the nations.”(HNV)

In Leviticus 26:33a, it is written,

“I will scatter you among the nations”(HNV)

In Psalm 106:26-27, it is written,

“Therefore he swore to them that he would overthrow them in the wilderness, that he would overthrow their seed among the nations, and scatter them in the lands.”(HNV)

In Hosea 1:4-5, it is written,

“HaShem said to him, ‘Call his name Yizre`el; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Yizre`el on the house of Yehu, and will cause the kingdom of the house of Yisra'el to cease. It will happen in that day that I will break the bow of Yisra'el in the valley of Yizre`el.’”(HNV revised)

This Yizre’el was the prophet’s firstborn son, born to him of his wife who was a prostitute. The marriage between the prophet and this woman reflects the covenant between the house of Israel, the ten tribes in the north, and the Eternal. The first son was called Yizre’el, which means “God will sow out”.[10] The children in Efrayim’s house were, therefore, seeds of the harvest that God would spread out among the nations, as it says in Matthew 13:3b,

“Behold, a farmer went out to sow.”(HNV)

This seed is going to reap a harvest in the end times, as it is written in Matthew 13:39b,

“The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.”(HNV)

In Hosea 1:6-11, it is written,

She conceived again, and bore a daughter. Then he said to him, ‘Call her name Lo-Ruhamah (no mercy); for I will no longer have mercy on the house of Yisra'el, that I should in any way pardon them. But I will have mercy on the house of Yehudah (the Jewish people), and will save them by HaShem their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.’

Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived, and bore a son. He said, ‘Call his name Lo-Ammi; for you are not my people, and I will not be yours. Yet the number of the children of Yisra'el will be as the sand of the sea, which can’t be measured nor numbered; and it will come to pass that, in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ The children of Yehudah and the children of Yisra'el will be gathered together, and they will appoint themselves one head, and will go up from the land; for great will be the day of Yizre`el.’”(HNV revised)

The prophet gives a rough outline of the Eternal’s plan of salvation for the house of Israel. First the house of Israel will be rejected. Thereafter it will become so great that no one can number it, as the sand of the sea. This means that they will be found among the nations of the world. After this, there will be a restoration of the Israelite identity in the same place where they were rejected, i.e. in the land of Israel. This will be the result of a reuniting of Yehudah’s children, the Jews, who never lost their identity, and Israel’s children who will leave their Gentile identity in the last days. Together they will confess Yeshua as the Messiah. Thereafter they will go up from the earth, or the land. This is a reference to the rapture of all those who belong to the Messiah. Because Yizre’el’s day, the day of God’s sowing, was so great, Israel’s children will be found among all the nations of the world. From there they will be caught up to meet the Messiah when he comes back to the earth.

In Hosea 2:14-23, it speaks of the chain of events from the exile to Assyria until the return to the land under the Messiah, according to what is written,

“’Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of `Akhor for a door of hope; and she will respond there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. It will be in that day,’ says HaShem, ‘That you will call me “my husband,” and no longer call me “my master.” For I will take away the names of the Ba`alim out of her mouth, and they will no more be mentioned by their name. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, and with the birds of the sky, and with the creeping things of the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land, and will make them lie down safely. I will betroth you to me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion. I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness; And you shall know HaShem. It will happen in that day, I will respond,’ says HaShem, ‘I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, and the new wine, and the oil; and they will respond to Yizre`el. I will sow her to me in the earth; and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; and I will tell those who were not my people, “You are my people”, and they will say, “My God!”’”(HNV revised)

In Amos 5:1-2, it is written about the house of Israel as a nation,

Listen to this word which I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Yisra'el (this does not apply to the Jews). ‘The virgin of Yisra'el has fallen; she shall rise no more. She is cast down on her land; there is no one to raise her up.’”(HNV)

In Amos 8:2, it is written,

“He said, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ I said, ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ Then HaShem said to me, ‘The end has come on my people Yisra'el. I will not again pass by them any more.’”(HNV revised)

In Amos 9:8-15, it is written,

“‘Behold, the eyes of the Lord HaShem are on the sinful kingdom (the northern kingdom), and I will destroy it from off the surface of the earth; except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Ya`akov (this is referring to the Jewish people),’ says HaShem. ‘For, behold, I will command, and I will sift the house of Yisra'el among all the nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet not the least kernel will fall on the earth. All the sinners of my people will die by the sword, who say, “Evil won’t overtake nor meet us.”

In that day I will raise up the tent of David who is fallen, and close up its breaches, and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations who are called by my name,’ says HaShem who does this. ‘Behold, the days come,’ says HaShem, ‘That the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the one treading grapes him who sows seed; and sweet wine will drip from the mountains, and flow from the hills. I will bring back the captivity of my people Yisra'el, and they will rebuild the ruined cities, and inhabit them; and they will plant vineyards, and drink wine from them. They shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. I will plant them on their land, and they will no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them,’ says HaShem your God.”(HNV revised)

Israel’s house was not shown mercy as it was completely destroyed at the Assyrian invasion in year 722BCE. The ten tribes were carried off to the nations north of Israel, see 2 Kings 17:6. From there they were spread out over the whole earth. There are, however, clear traces of the different tribes in the northwest nations of Europe and North America.

Lost Tribes Map

In Zechariah 10:3-12, it is written,

My anger is kindled against the shepherds (the leaders in Israel during the second temple period), and I will punish the male goats (the powerful ones who oppressed the poor); For HaShem of Hosts has visited his flock, the house of Yehudah (the Jewish people only, not the house of Efrayim), and will make them as his horse in the battle that he is proud of. From him will come forth the corner-stone, from him the nail, from him the battle bow, from him everything that is called a ruler (the Messiah). They shall be as mighty men, treading down muddy streets in the battle; and they shall fight, because HaShem is with them; and the riders on horses will be confounded. I will again strengthen the house of Yehudah (through the founding of the state of Israel in 1948), and I will save the house of Yosef (spread out among the nations), and I will bring them back; for I have mercy on them (the ten lost tribes); and they will be as though I had not cast them off (restored within Israel). For I am HaShem their God, and I will hear them. Efrayim (the ten tribes) will be like a mighty man, and their heart will rejoice as through wine; yes, their children (the future generations) will see it, and rejoice. Their heart will be glad in HaShem. I will signal for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them; and they will increase as they have increased. I will sow them among the peoples; and they will remember me in far countries; and they will live with their children, and will return. I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Ashur (Syria), and I will bring them into the land of Gil`ad (Jordan) and Levanon (Lebanon); and there won’t be room enough for them (the ten tribes who have returned home). He will pass through the sea of affliction, and will strike the waves in the sea, and all the depths of the Nile will dry up; and the pride of Ashur will be brought down, and the scepter of Egypt will depart. I will strengthen them in HaShem, and they will walk up and down in his name,’ says HaShem.”(HNV revised)

In Romans 9:23-26, it is written,

“and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory, us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the gentiles? As he says also in Hoshea, ‘I will call them “my people,” which were not my people; and her “beloved,” who was not beloved. It will be that in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” there they will be called “children of the living God.”’”(HNV)

The shaliach (apostle) Shaul uses the texts in Hosea 2:23 and 1:10 as a reference to the gentiles. These texts were given to the house of Israel. Those who were a part of the house of Israel are gentiles now. Through the salvation of the gentiles the house of Israel is coming home again from every nation, and in this way all of Israel will be saved, as we read in Romans 11:26.

Through the salvation of the gentiles, Efrayim’s prophetic role is fulfilled.

In Hosea 11:8-10, it is written,

“How can I give you up, Efrayim? How can I hand you over, Yisra'el? How can I make you like Admah? How can I make you like Tzevoyim? My heart is turned within me, my compassion is aroused. I will not execute the fierceness of my anger. I will not return to destroy Efrayim for I am God, and not man; the Consecrated One in the midst of you; and I will not come in wrath. They will walk after HaShem, who will roar like a lion; for he will roar, and the children will come trembling from the west.”(HNV revised)

Since the Eternal in concerned with saving the children of Efrayim, he is simultaneously saving those gentiles who are not descendants of Israel. This is the mystery that Romans 11:25 is talking about. The fullness of the gentiles are the children of Efrayim, according to Genesis 48:19. Through their return, ALL of Israel is saved, all twelve tribes, which also includes those Jews who never left their Israelite identity.

“Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!”(Romans 11:33 HNV)

48:20 “He blessed them that day, saying, ‘In you will Yisra'el bless, saying, “God make you as Efrayim and as Menasheh”’ He set Efrayim before Menasheh.”(HNV revised) – This blessing is spoken every Kabbalat Shabbat, as the Sabbath is received, when Jewish fathers bless their sons at the Sabbath table. They place their right hand on the head of the son and utter these words, Yesimcháh Elohim ke-Efrayim ve-chi-Mnashéh.

Why are these two sons of Yosef placed as examples for all sons of Israel? We can name several reasons:

  • Even though the younger was placed over the older, they never quarreled.

  • Even though they grew up in an environment of paganism and occultism, they never lost their faith in the God of Israel, their Israelite identity, or the teaching that they received from their forefathers.

  • Even though they were born and lived their entire lives outside of the land of Israel, they never lost the hope of returning to the land of their forefathers.

These two were set as examples for all the children of Israel.

48:22 “Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took out of the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated “portion” is shekhem. It is referring to the land that Ya’akov bought across from the city of Shekhem, see Genesis 33:19, as well as the city itself which was taken by Shimon and Levi (see Genesis 34). That place was given to Yosef, as it also is written in John 4:5-6a,

“So he came to a city of Shomron, called Suchar, near the property that Ya`akov gave to his son, Yosef, and Ya`akov’s well was there.”(MRC)

In Joshua 24:32, it is written,

“The bones of Yosef, which the children of Yisra'el brought up out of Egypt, buried them in Shekhem, in the parcel of ground which Ya`akov bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shekhem for a hundred pieces of money: and they became the inheritance of the children of Yosef.”(HNV)

The Messiah has, since the time of his first coming, been seeking the lost sheep of the two houses. This was the reason that he had to go to Shomron (Samaria), as it is written in John 4:4,

“He needed to pass through Shomron.”(HNV)

When he did this, the Messiah was going to a place that was key both in Israel’s history and in the salvation plan of the Eternal, the area of Suchar, which is the same as Shekhem. Shekhem was a city of refuge within the territory of Efrayim’s tribe (see Joshua 20:7; 21:21; 1 Chronicles 6:67). This is where the kingdom was divided. Shekhem was the first capital of the northern kingdom, 1 Kings 12:25. This is where the Samaritans lived, who are a mixture of the survivors of the northern tribes and the gentiles whom the Assyrian king brought to the land after the fall of Israel (see 2 Kings 17:24, 29). The Samaritans are the only descendants of the house of Efrayim who have not lost their Israelite identity, as it is written in John 4:12,

“Are you greater than our father, Ya`akov, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his cattle?”(HNV)

The Samaritan woman called Ya’akov “our father”. These people were a part of the Eternal’s plan of salvation since they were descendants of Ya’akov. This is why the Messiah needed to go there to seek and save that which had been lost.

In John 4:6-7, it is written,

“Ya`akov’s well was there. Yeshua therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Shomron came to draw water. Yeshua said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’”(HNV)

This account is reminiscent of Genesis 24, where Avraham’s servant sought a bride for Yitzchak. This time it is the Messiah who sits by the well because he seeks his bride among the Samaritans as well. These Samaritans waited for salvation through the Messiah, as it is written in John 4:22, 25-26,

You (Samaritans) worship (with your sacrifices) that which you don’t know (Israel’s God). We (Jews) worship (by our sacrifices in the temple) that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews’… The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah comes,’ he who is called Anointed One. ‘When he has come, he will declare to us all things.’ Yeshua said to her, ‘I am he, the one who speaks to you.’”(HNV)

In John 4:35, it is written,

“Don’t you say, ‘There are yet four months until the harvest?’ Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already.”(HNV)

There is a similar expression in Genesis 48:8, where it says that Ya’akov saw Yosef’s sons. The Samaritans are descendants of Yosef, and the Messiah sees them as a harvest for the coming kingdom, as it is written in John 4:39-42,

“From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, ‘He told me everything that I did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Messiah, the Savior of the world.’”(HNV)

Yeshua stayed for two days in Shekhem. These two days correspond with the two thousand years during which the Messiah has been seeking the descendants of the twelve tribes among the gentiles, as well as the other gentiles, in order to save them.

In Acts 15:14-18, it is written,

“Shim`on has reported how God first visited the gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. This agrees with the words of the prophets. As it is written, ‘After these things I will return. I will again build the tent of David, which has fallen. I will again build its ruins. I will set it up, that the rest of men may seek after the Lord; all the gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who does all these things. All his works are known to God from eternity.’”(HNV)

Here the Nasi (President) Ya’akov quotes Amos 9:11-12. The restoration of the tent of David refers to the restoration of the house of David’s rule. When Yeshua came the first time this work was begun, as it is written in Luke 1:32-33,

“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David, and he will reign over the house of Ya`akov forever. There will be no end to his kingdom.”(HNV)

Through the coming of the Messiah, the door was opened so that the gentiles could be part of the people who are created for the Name of the Eternal. The Greek word that has been translated in Acts 15:14 as “out of them” and in verse 23 as “who are of the”, is ex,[11] which means “out of”, “away from”, “former”, “ex”. This describes those gentiles who have placed their trust in the Messiah, and are called “ex-es”, ex-gentiles. Now they are a “people for his Name”, i.e. now they are no longer gentiles in a spiritual sense but a part of the people of Israel (see Ephesians 2:11-22; 3:4-8; 4:17; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 12:2; Revelation 5:9-10).

The Fourth Aliyah, 49:1-18

49:1 “Ya`akov called to his sons, and said: ‘Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which will happen to you in the days to come.’”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that has been translated as “to come” is acharit,[12] which means “last”, “end”, “uttermost”. Rashi, basing his claim on Talmud, says that Ya’akov wanted to reveal to them the last days, but at that moment the Ruach HaKodesh pulled back. Then he began saying other things instead. A Midrash[13] tells the following,

“Ya’akov wanted to reveal to his sons the point in time of the coming of the Messiah. He knew that they would be faithful to HaShem even though they would know that the time of redemption was far off. But the Almighty decided to keep the point in time of the redemption of the children of Ya’akov a secret, because of the future generations who would not be as good as Ya’akov’s children. The future generations would have despaired in their exile if they had known that the time for redemption was so far in the future.”

We do find, however, prophetic messages in Ya’akov’s blessings, which tell the future of each tribe, up until the time of the coming of the Messiah. There are three important points in the message that Ya’akov gave to each one of his sons:

·         The identity and character of each one.

·         The historical developments of each one.

·         Events at the end times.

49:3-4 “Re'uven, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength; the pre-eminence of dignity, and the pre-eminence of power. Boiling over as water, you shall not have the pre-eminence; because you went up to your father’s bed; then defiled it. He went up to my couch.”(HNV) – Re’uven continued to be the firstborn as far as it concerned the genealogy of the family. This teaches us that he repented of the sin he committed with his father’s concubine. However, he did lose the birthright, which included the double portion of the inheritance, the priesthood, and the right to rule. It also teaches us that whoever does not control his sexual urges cannot hold important positions within the Kingdom.

According to Rashi and others, Re’uven’s descendants populated France. France has been a prominent nation for a long time. But before the second coming of the Messiah, France will lose that position.

49:5-7 “Shim`on and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords. My soul, don’t come into their council; my glory, don’t be united to their assembly; for in their anger they killed a man, in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel. I will divide them in Ya`akov, scatter them in Yisra'el.”(HNV) – Shimon and Levi were not cursed, but their anger was. Violence brings a curse over the land. Shimon’s tribe was in the forefront of the sin with Ba’al-Pe’or, see Numbers 25:6-14; 26:1. Because of this the tribe lost 63% of its population, and went from 59,300 to 22,200 according to the census that was taken in Numbers 1 and the census taken in Numbers 26. Shimon did not receive any territory in the land. His territory was divided up within Yehudah’s territory, see Joshua 19:1. Levi’s tribe did not receive any land either, but was spread out in forty-eight cities over the whole land, see Joshua 18:7. Shimon became a poor tribe. But among them were many scribes, see Zechariah 12:13.

49:8-12 “Yehudah, your brothers will praise you: your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down before you. Yehudah is a lion’s cub. From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down, he crouched as a lion, as a lioness. Who will rouse him up? The scepter will not depart from Yehudah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes to whom it belongs. To him will the obedience of the peoples be. Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; he has washed his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes: his eyes will be red with wine, his teeth white with milk.”(HNV) – There are several key words in this prophecy which refer to the Messiah; for example: “Yehudah”, “my son”, “you have gone up”, “binding”, “donkey’s colt”, “choice vine”, “his garments”, “blood”, “wine”. All this speaks of the Messiah’s first coming. He came from the tribe of Yehudah.

Yehudah’s hand was on the neck of his enemies through King David, according to 2 Samuel 22:38-41, where it is written,

“I have pursued my enemies, and destroyed them; neither did I turn again until they were consumed. I have consumed them, and struck them through, so that they can’t arise: yes, they are fallen under my feet. For you have girded me with strength to the battle; you have subdued under me those who rose up against me. You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, that I might cut off those who hate me.”(HNV)

This prophecy was also fulfilled through the first coming of the Messiah, when all the evil spirits were defeated, as it is written in Colossians 2:15,

“having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”(HNV)

Ya’akov’s words over Yehudah will finally be fulfilled at the Messiah’s second coming. Then all enemies will be laid under his feet, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 15:25,

“For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”(HNV)

your father’s sons will bow down before you” – This was fulfilled through King David and King Solomon. But it will have its final fulfillment at the second coming of the Messiah.

“Yehudah is a lion’s cub… as a lion” – Yeshua is the lion of the tribe of Yehudah, as it is written in Revelation 5:5,

"One of the elders said to me, ‘Don’t weep. Behold, the Lion who is of the tribe of Yehudah, the Root of David, has overcome; he who opens the book and its seven seals.’”(HNV revised)

The scepter will not depart from Yehudah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes to whom it belongs.” – Shiloh is a reference to the Messiah, according to Onkelos, Midrash Rabbah, Rashi, and many others. According to Nachmanides the word means “his son”. One of the wise men of Talmud[14] is of the opinion that Shiloh means “his”, as a reference to the royal power that belongs to the Messiah. Rashi says that it means “treasures to him”, in relation to the gifts that the people would bring him when they accept his power.

According to Rashi this prophecy was fulfilled starting with David and continuing on, even through the Jewish leaders in Babylon. These were the ones who were called “exilarchs” and who descendants of King David. According to the prophecy, the scepter and the ruler’s staff will not depart from Yehudah until the Messiah comes.

49:13 “Zevulun will dwell at the haven of the sea. He will be for a haven of ships. His border will be on Tzidon.”(HNV) – Zevulun’s territory was not by the water (see Joshua 19:10-16). It seems as though he was closer to Tzidon later. Zevulun devoted himself to earning money so that his brother Yissakhar could devote himself to Torah studies, as it is written in Deuteronomy 33:18,

“Of Zevulun he said, rejoice, Zevulun, in your going out; Yissakhar, in your tents.”(HNV)

49:14-15 “Yissakhar is a strong donkey, lying down between the saddlebags. He saw a resting-place, that it was good, the land, that it was pleasant; he bows his shoulder to the burden, and becomes a servant doing forced labor.”(HNV) – There were highly educated men in Yissakhar’s tribe who bore the yoke of the Torah, as it is written in 1 Chronicles 12:32,

“Of the children of Yissakhar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Yisra'el ought to do, the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brothers were at their command.”(HNV)

Two hundred leaders of the Sanhedrin came from Yissakhar.

49:16-18 “Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Yisra'el. Dan will be a serpent in the way, an adder in the path, that bites the horse’s heels, so that his rider falls backward. I have waited for your salvation, HaShem.”(HNV revised) – The judge Shimshon came from the tribe of Dan (see Judges 13:2). This prophecy was fulfilled through him.

“I have waited for your salvation, HaShem.” – Shimshon was not the one who brought the final redemption for Israel. They had to continue to wait for another Messiah.

The Fifth Aliyah, 49:19-26

49:19 “Gad, a troop will be ready in him; that will walk in his own footsteps.”(based on R.A. Coffman´s translation to Spanish) – The tribe of Gad went over the Jordan river with their brothers to fight the Canaanites for fourteen years until the land was conquered. When they later went back to their own area they were retracing their steps, or walking in their own footsteps.

49:20 “Out of Asher his bread will be fat, he will yield royal dainties.”(HNV) – Asher’s territory was great to cultivate. There were many olive trees there as well.

49:21 “Naftali is a doe set free, he giveth goodly words.”(HNV, JPS) – The valley of Ginnosar is in Naphtali’s territory (northwest of the Sea of Galilee). The fruit there is produced very quickly. Since his land was so productive, he had time left over to study the Torah. Targum translated it this way: “(His land shall produce fruits) which one will thank and bless (God) for”. The prophetess Devorah came from Naftali.[15] She sang a very beautiful song (see Judges 5).

49:22-26 “Yosef is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a spring; his branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him, shot at him, and persecute him: but his bow abode in strength, the arms of his hands were made strong, by the hands of the Mighty One of Ya`akov, (from there is the shepherd, the stone of Yisra'el), even by the God of your father, who will help you, by El Shaddai, who will bless you, with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb. The blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of the ancient mountains, above the bounty of the age-old hills. They will be on the head of Yosef, on the crown of the head of him who is separated from his brothers.”(HNV revised)

“blessings of the breasts, and of the womb” – According to Rashi, the word “shadayim”, which is translated as breasts, should be translated “throwing” with the implication of ejaculation and conception. Targum translated the text as “blessing for father and mother”.

Ya’akov was more blessed than his forefathers. They received a promise of a limited area, but not Ya’akov, as it is written in Genesis 28:14a,

“Your seed will be as the dust of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south.”(HNV)

The Sixth Aliyah, 49:27 – 50:20

49:27 “Binyamin is a ravenous wolf. In the morning he will devour the prey. At evening he will divide the spoil.”(HNV) – The judge Ehud was like a wolf (see Judges 3). King Shaul came from Binyamin. He devoured much prey in the beginning of Israel’s history (see 1 Samuel 14:47). Mordechay and Esther divided much spoil in the evening of the history of Israel (see Esther 8:7). Rabbi Shaul came from the tribe of Binyamin (see Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5).

50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive.”(HNV) – No matter what happens to us, the Eternal can turn it into something good, as it is written in Romans 8:28,

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.”(HNV)

Those who handed Yeshua over to be hung on a tree did not know what they were doing. They meant to do evil to him. But God turned it into something good in order for the whole world to be saved. This teaches us that no matter what curse comes against us, it can be turned into a blessing by the Eternal. Blessed be his Name!

The Seventh Aliyah, 50:21-26

50:24-25 “Yosef said to his brothers, ‘I am dying, but God will surely visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Ya`akov.’ Yosef took an oath of the children of Yisra'el, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.’”(HNV) – This is the only act of faith by Yosef that is mentioned in Hebrews 11, where it is written in verse 22:

“By faith, Yosef, when his end was near, made mention of the departure of the children of Yisra'el; and gave instructions concerning his bones.”(HNV)

He knew that the Exodus would come, and therefore he took an oath of the children of Israel that his bones would be taken out of Egypt and brought to the land of Kana’an. Faith knows that it knows that it knows that what has been promised is going to happen, because the Eternal is faithful to keep his promises and he cannot lie, as it is written in Numbers 23:19,

“God is not a man, that he should lie, neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good?” (HNV)

In Hebrews 6:18b, it is written,

“it is impossible for God to lie”(HNV)

In Exodus 13:19, it is written,

“Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him, for he had made the children of Yisra'el swear, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones away from here with you.’”(HNV)

In Joshua 24:32, it is written,

“The bones of Yosef, which the children of Yisra'el brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shekhem, in the parcel of ground which Ya`akov bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shekhem for a hundred pieces of money: and they became the inheritance of the children of Yosef.”(HNV)

Yosef came back to the place where he had looked for his brothers. It happened according to his faith, many years after his death. His grave is still there today as a testimony that Messiah ben Yosef had to die in order to bring the lost sheep of the house of Israel back. It also testifies of the day that will come when the Messiah will raise him up again and he will be clothed in immortality and receive his reward because he was faithful.

And after having finished one of the books of the Torah we say:

Chazak, chazak, ve-nitchazek! – Be strong, be strong, and we will be strengthened!”

[1]       Strong H4296 mitòtòâh, mit-taw', From H5186; a bed (as extended) for sleeping or eating; by analogy a sofa, litter or bier: - bed ([-chamber]), bier.

[2]       Strong H4294 matòtòeh  matòtòâh, mat-teh', mat-taw', From H5186; a branch (as extending); figuratively a tribe; also a rod, whether for chastising (figuratively correction), ruling (a sceptre), throwing (a lance), or walking (a staff; figuratively a support of life, for example bread): - rod, staff, tribe.

[3]       Clement of Alexandria (150 - 212 C.E.) In the work called Hypotyposes, to sum up the matter briefly he [Clement of Alexandria] has given us abridged accounts of  all the canonical Scriptures,... the Epistle to the Hebrews he asserts was written by Paul, to the Hebrews, in the Hebrew tongue; but that it was carefully translated by Luke, and published among the Greeks. (Clement of Alexandria; Hypotyposes; referred to by Eusebius in Eccl. Hist. 6:14:2)

[4]       Eusebius (315 C.E.) For as Paul had addressed the Hebrews in the language of his country; some say that the evangelist Luke, others that Clement, translated the epistle. (Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:38:2-3)

[5]       Jerome (382) "He (Paul) being a Hebrew wrote in Hebrew, that is, his own tongue and most fluently while things which were eloquently written in Hebrew were more eloquently turned into Greek (Lives of Illustrious Men, Book V)

[6]       Jasher 77:38-47.

[7]       See Bereshit Rabbáh 98:5

[8]       Tanchumáh Vajechí 9.

[9]       Bereshit Rabbáh 97:4 y Avodáh Zaráh 25a.

[10]     Strong H3157 yizre‛ê'l, yiz-reh-ale', From H2232 and H410; God will sow; Jizreel, the name of two places in Palestine and of two Israelites: - Jezreel.

[11]     Strong G1537 εκ, εξ, ek  ex, ek, ex, A primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out (of place, time or cause; literally or figuratively; direct or remote): - after, among, X are, at betwixt (-yond), by (the means of), exceedingly, (+ abundantly above), for (-th), from (among, forth, up), + grudgingly, + heartily, X heavenly, X hereby, + very highly, in, . . . ly, (because, by reason) of, off (from), on, out among (from, of), over, since, X thenceforth, through, X unto, X vehemently, with (-out). Often used in composition, with the same general import; often of completion.

[12]     Strong H319 'achărîyth, akh-ar-eeth', From H310; the last or end, hence the future; also posterity: - (last, latter) end (time), hinder (utter) -most, length, posterity, remnant, residue, reward.

[13]     Etz Josef.

[14]     Sanhedrin 98b.

[15]     Bereshit Rabbah 98:22.