Today we begin Genesis Chapter 48.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
Before Jacob passes away, as head of the clan, he has some very important duties to take care of.
The time had now arrived for him to transfer the first-born rights over to the next leader of Israel.
In addition, he will also have to issue blessings and instructions not only to the next leader, but to all 12 of his sons.
Be forewarned, we’re not going to rush through this.
We’re going to take as much time as needed and be very meticulous in examining these blessings because the ramifications of what Jacob pronounced on his sons here have eternal consequences that affect even us believers today.
In fact, I would go so far as to say a proper grasp of these blessings is essential to not only understanding the remainder of the Torah including both the Old and New Testaments, but will also shed much light on what is happening in Israel right now even as you are reading this.
Before we dive deep into the contents from the next post, let’s take a look at a word that is commonly misunderstood.
“Jacob said to Joseph, ‘El Shaddai’ appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me.”
Jacob starts off by recalling an earlier part of his of life when he speaks of meeting a God who called himself “El Shaddai“.
Jacob did NOT call God by the name Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh.
We know this because we learn later that God didn’t reveal his personal name until the time of Exodus to Moses at Mount Sinai.
So what does the word “El Shaddai” mean?
Usually the common response is “God Almighty“.
And for good reason, because that is how the oldest translations of the Hebrew Bible rendered this word.
For example, the Septuagint (the earliest Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible), translates El Shaddai as “All-Powerful”, “Lord”, or the “Heavenly One”.
And the Latin translation renders it to be “Omnipotent”.
However, the truth be told, there is ZERO linguistic basis to support the idea that El Shaddai means God Almighty.
Here’s the reason why.
Hebrew is a descendant of the Akkadian language.
When we study the root word from which a given Hebrew term sprang, we can arrive at a fairly precise definition.
Recently, paleo-linguists (those who study dead or ancient languages) have learned that “Shaddai” comes from the Akkadian word “Shaddu”
Now “Shaddu” means “mountain”.
Therefore, the conclusion is simple.
El Shaddai means “The God of the Mountain“.
This fits in perfectly with the ancient way of thinking in those days that believed the dwelling place of the gods was normally high up in the mountains.
For the Hebrews, their God lived on a mountain top called Mount Sinai.