Birthrights, Blessings, and a Coming King
“Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright. Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph).” (1 Chronicles 5:1-2,)
Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons. Ten of them became leaders of a tribe of Israel. His son, Levi, had no tribal inheritance because his line became the priestly tribe, dependent upon the tithes of the other tribes for sustenance. Then, rather than Joseph leading a tribe, Jacob adopted Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, as leaders of tribes, bringing the total to twelve.
Reuben, the first born, should have received a double inheritance, according to Old Testament inheritance practices. Because of his sin with his father’s concubine, however, the blessing of the firstborn was transferred to Joseph, who, through Manasseh and Ephraim received the double portion.
The real preeminence came from Judah (the term from which we get the word “Jew”). The tribe of Judah became the Royal tribe, the tribe of David, the tribe of Jesus. In Genesis 49:8-12 Jacob gave the blessing to Judah, seeing in him the coming of the future Promised One.
Through the Old Testament there is a fascinating continuation of generational blessings and curses. In our day, we know that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Today, celebrate the blessings of your ancestry and thank God for your heritage. If you have ancestry that is not God-honoring, rejoice that you have—or can be—adopted into His family and be a child of the King!
In His Grace,
Dr. Randy White
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