Friday, February 10, 2012

Jacob’s Prediction About Zebulun - Genesis 49:13


“Zebulun shall dwell at the seashore; And he shall be a haven for ships, And his flank shall be toward Sidon.”

So far in this chapter of Israel’s prophecy concerning his sons, he has spoken of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.  These were his first four sons, addressed in the order of their birth.  But now for some reason of which we cannot be certain, Jacob skips over Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher (whose natural mothers were the servants of Rachel and Leah).  One would think that the reason for this is the very fact that they were not direct children of one of his two wives, but then he skips over the next son, Issachar, who was indeed borne by Leah.  Instead he goes to her next son, Zebulun.  It is possible that Issachar was skipped initially because of the meaning behind his name, which means “man of hire” and implying that he was God’s wages to Leah for allowing her maiden Zilpah to sleep with her husband in order to bear him children.  What we do know is that Jacob continued his prophecies staying with the children of Leah first.

Zebulun’s name meant “dwelling” as Leah felt that surely Jacob would now reside more with her than with Rachel since she had borne him six sons.

Jacob prophesizes that Zebulun’s tribe would be people who lived by the sea.  They would oversee one or more great ports.  In fact, one could say they were themselves the “haven” between two seas – the Mediterranean on the west and the Sea of Galilee further south and to the east.  The land they occupied was the northern part of Israel, now Lebanon.  One of its borders would be next to Sidon (or Saida), now a large city in Lebanon.  This positioned them well to be merchants and traders.

Later on in Scripture we learn of their various roles in God’s plan. They put to good use the geography that Jacob had prophesized they would occupy and which God later gave them.  Perhaps the take away point for us is simply this – wherever we are in the world today we must realize that God has ordained our very location.  It is our responsibility then to make the best use of it for His Kingdom.  What are you and I doing for Him right where we are today?

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