Today is the 12th Sabbath of the annual Torah cycle: parashah (Torah portion) Vayechi / And he lived, Gen 47:28-50:26. Read Genesis 47:28-50:26 at Bible Gateway.
This week’s Torah portion forms a chaistic structure. I have included the markings (s for stumah and p for p’tuchah) for the paragraph divisions (see the teaching tools of Scripture) so that it can be seen that the paragraph divisions often reveal the chiastic structure.
1a) Gen 47:28-31 (p), Jacob’s request that his bones are taken up from Egypt;
1b) Gen 48:1-6, Jacob ill; Joseph and sons appeared before Jacob; Jacob’s command to Joseph;
1c) Gen 48:7, Rachel buried on the road to Bethlehem;
1d) Gen 48:8-20, The great multitude of Ephraim and Manasseh;
1e) Gen 48:21-22 (p), Jacob about to die + the land of the Amorites;
1f) Gen 49:1-2, Jacob to give his sons their prophetic blessing;
1g) Gen 49:3-4 (p), Reuben;
1h) Gen 49:5-7 (p), Simeon and Levi to be separated among his brothers;
1i) Gen 49:8-12 (p), Judah’s blessing of leadership;
1j) Gen 49:13 (p), Zebulun;
1k) Gen 49:14-15 (s), Issachar;
1l) Gen 49:16-17 (s), Dan;
central axis) Gen 49:18 (s), “I have waited for Your salvation, O YHVH!”
2l) Gen 49:19 (s), Gad;
2k) Gen 49:20 (s), Asher;
2j) Gen 49:21 (s), Naphtali;
2i) Gen 49:22-25, Joseph’s blessing of fruitfulness;
2h) Gen 49:26 (p), Joseph separated from his brothers;
2g) Gen 49:27, Benjamin;
2f) Gen 49:28, Jacob gave his sons their prophetic blessing;
2e) Gen 49:29-33, Jacob about to die + the cave of Machpelah;
2d) Gen 50:1-11, The imposing company of Jacob’s mourners;
2c) Gen 50:12-14, Jacob buried in Machpelah;
2b) Gen 50:15-21, Jacob dead; Jacob’s sons appeared before Joseph; Jacob’s “command” to Joseph;
2a) Gen 50:22-26 (p), Joseph’s request that his bones be taken up from Egypt.
There is an overt messianic prophecy found in Judah’s blessing, in Gen 49:10:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
The discussion on the meaning of shiloh and its messianic significance from Gensenius’ Hebrew Lexicon is enlightening. The root word from which shiloh is derived, is the verb to be at rest, the same root that gives us shalom.
Therefore this word can indicate the abstract concept of tranquility, rest. Then,
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah until tranquility shall come, and the peoples shall obey him,” meaning Judah; i.e., Judah shall not lay down the sceptre of the ruler, until his enemies be subdued, and he shall rule over many people; an expectation belonging to the kingdom of the Messiah, who was to spring from the tribe of Judah.
Others take the meaning of shiloh as the concrete noun, and render it, the peaceable one, the peacemaker; either understanding the Messiah (compare to Isa 9:1-7) or Solomon (compare to 1 Chr 22:9). The ancient versions take shiloh as being compounded in this sense, “until he shall come to whom the sceptre, the dominion, belongs;” i.e. Messiah.
The central axis in Gen 49:18 contains a covert messianic prophecy, besides the above overt messianic prophecy.
“I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!”
“Salvation” is in Hebrew, Strong’s H3444, yeshua, the name of our Savior and Lord!
“I have waited for Your Yeshua, O YHVH!”
Israel is prophetically blessing his seed, and at the center of that blessing is Yeshua, the Seed of Israel and the Seed of Promise! Israel is declaring that he and his seed will wait upon the LORD for the promise of His coming, of Gen 3:15 fulfilled!