Highlights for Genesis 42-50
Jacob’s patriarchal blessings to his 12 sons are from another language, time, and culture; their symbolism and full significance aren’t always apparent. For example, Jacob blessed his youngest son, Benjamin:
KJV Genesis 49:27
Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
The Hebrew Bible – Genesis 49:27
In Hebrew texts, the verse appears as a poem:
Benjamin, ravening wolf,
in the morn he consumes the spoils,
at evening shares out plunder.
We might interpret that to mean Benjamin is wild, unkind, or unruly in our language. However, Robert Alter gives us a more accurate picture.
Robert Alter: Benjamin, ravening wolf. The last brief vignette of the poem, for the youngest of the twelve sons, is one of its sharpest images of death-dealing animals, and later biblical accounts, especially in Judges, indicate that the tribe of Benjamin was renowned for its martial prowess. (The tribe of Benjamin are accomplished warriors.)
Jacob blessed each son’s whole posterity “for a thousand generations,” not just the individual son. Likewise, Abraham’s blessing becomes personally important because it’s an inherited, repeated gift passed from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob (and then to Joseph) which also flows straight to you.
Our Patriarichal Blessings Are Powered by Israel
President Nelson reminds us of our essential connection to Abraham:
Some of us are the literal seed of Abraham; others are gathered into his family by adoption. The Lord makes no distinction. Together we receive these promised blessings–if we seek the Lord and obey His commandments. But if we don’t, we lose the blessings of the covenant.
To assist us, His Church provides patriarchal blessings to give each recipient a vision for his or her future as well as a connection with the past, even a declaration of lineage back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Note: The famous prophecy from Malachi about the hearts of the children turning to the fathers is missing a key idea in the King James Bible. On September 21, 1823, our connection to the Abrahamic covenant was first revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The angel Moroni declared that Elijah the prophet would come as a messenger from heaven to plant in the hearts of the children a knowledge of promises once made to the fathers of the house of Israel (D&C 2:1-3, BYU Citation Index)
What Are The Promises?
President Nelson made it clear we are indeed the House of Israel today (Let God Prevail, Oct 2020) and challenged us to spend six months learning the promises for the Latter-day House of Israel.
Here are a few solid promises today for those who make and keep covenants diligently:
- The Lord’s Spirit will be poured out upon us
- We will have visions and dreams
- We will enjoy the full power of the priesthood
- The Lord will gather and bless us
- We will have comfort and joy
- He will bless, protect, promote, and treat us with tender mercies.
- Israel will win
- The Lord will draw near to you as you draw near to Him
- We will be given power to escape darkness and find light
- We will be given power to escape captivity and enjoy freedom
- He will gather Zion
- He will build New Jerusalem and rebuild Jerusalem
- All those who combine against us as the Lord’s people, will be thwarted for our sakes.
You belong to the House of Israel. You are destined to enjoy these blessings. Read and ponder the list again. Which ones stand out to you? Let their heartfelt possibilities flow through you. Dare to seek them out.
Our prophetic, verified connections to the House of Israel with its covenants and promises give us a brightness of hope for the future and strength for today. Instead of fear and apprehension, we can have peace and confidence. Who wouldn’t relish those with today’s chaos?
Hurrah for Israel!