THE BLESSINGS OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PREFIGURING IN THE ZODIAC

The Highpriest’s Breastplate     Online Index     Flash Version     Download PDF     

THE BLESSINGS OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PREFIGURING IN THE ZODIAC





THE SCRIPTURAL PASSAGES, PLUS THE TARGUMS AND LXX



THE NAMING OF THE SONS AT THEIR BIRTH



Genesis Chapter 29

32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.

33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.

34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.

35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

Chapter 30

1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

3 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.

4 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.

5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.

6 And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.

7 And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.

8 And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.

9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.

10 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son.

11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.

12 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son.

13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

14 ¶And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.

15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.

16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.

17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.

18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.

19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.

20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.

21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.

22 ¶And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:

24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.



Genesis Chapter 35

16 ¶And they journeyed from Beth–el; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.

17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.

18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben–oni: but his father called him Benjamin.

19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Beth–lehem.

20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.





THE BLESSING OF JACOB



Gen. 49:



1 ¶ And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch. {thou shalt…: Heb. Do not thou excel} {he went…: or, my couch is gone}

5 ¶ Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. {instruments…: or, their swords are weapons of violence}

6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall. {digged…: or, houghed oxen}

7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

8 ¶ Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

13 ¶ Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.

14 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: 15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.

16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.

17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. {an adder: Heb. An arrow-snake}

18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.

19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

20 Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.

21 Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.

22 ¶ Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: {branches: Heb. Daughters}

23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: 24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) 25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: 26 The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

27 Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

28 ¶ All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.





THE BLESSING OF MOSES



Deut. 33:



1 ¶ And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.

2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. {a fiery…: Heb. A fire of law}

3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.

4 Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.

5 And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.

6 ¶ Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.

7 And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.

8 ¶ And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;

9 Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.

10 They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar. {They shall teach: or, Let them teach} {they shall put: or, let them put} {before…: Heb. At thy nose}

11 Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.

12 ¶ And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.

13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,

14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, {put: Heb. Thrust} {moon: Heb. moons}

15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,

16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.

17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh. {unicorns: Heb. an unicorn}

18 ¶ And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.

19 They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.

20 And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.

21 And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel. {seated: Heb. cieled}

22 ¶ And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.

23 And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.

24 And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.

25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. {Thy shoes: or, Under thy shoes}





TARGUM OF JONATHAN BEN UZZIEL ON GENESIS WITH PARALLEL PASSAGES FROM THE TARGUM OF JERUSALEM



XLVIII. And after these things it was told Joseph, Behold, thy father is lying ill. And he took his two sons with him, Menasheh and Ephraim. And it was announced to Jakob, saying, Behold, thy son Joseph hath come to thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.

And Jakob said to Joseph: El Shadai revealed Himself to me at Luz, in the land of Kenaan, and blessed me. And He said to me, Behold, I will increase thee and multiply thee, and make thee an assemblage of tribes, and will give this land to thy sons after thee for an everlasting inheritance. And now, thy two sons who have been born to thee in the land of Mizraim before I came to thee into Mizraim are mine; Ephraim and Menasheh as Reuben and Shimeon shall be reckoned unto me. And thy children whom thou mayest beget after them shall be thine; by the name of their brethren shall they be called in their inheritance. And I beseech thee to bury me with my fathers. Rahel died by me suddenly in the land of Kenaan, while there was yet much ground to come to Ephrath; nor could I carry her to bury her in the Double Cave, but I buried her there, in the way of Ephrath which is Bethlechem.

And Israel looked at the sons of Joseph and said, From whom are these born to thee? And Joseph answered his father, They are my sons which the Word of the Lord gave me according to this writing, according to which I took Asenath the daughter of Dinah thy daughter to be my wife.

And he said, Bring them now near to me, and I will bless them. But Israel’s eyes were heavy from age, and he could not see. And he brought them to him, and he kissed them and embraced them. And Israel said to Joseph, To see thy face I had not reckoned, but, behold, the Lord hath also showed me thy sons. And Joseph brought them out from (between) his knees, and worshipped on his face upon the ground. And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right side, which was Israel’s left, and Menasheh on his left side, which was Israel’s right, and brought them to him.

And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it upon the head of Ephraim, though be was the younger; and his left hand upon the head of Menasheh, altering his hands, for Menasheh was the firstborn. [JERUSALEM. He altered his hands.] And he blessed Joseph, and said:

The Lord, before whom my fathers Abraham and Izhak, did serve; the Lord who hath fed me since I have been unto this day, be pleased that the angel whom thou didst ordain for me, to redeem me from all evil, may bless the children; and let my name be called upon them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Izhak. And as the fishes of the sea in multiplying are multiplied in the sea, so may the children of Joseph be multiplied abundantly in the midst of the earth.

And Joseph saw that his father placed his right hand upon Ephraim’s head; and it was evil before him, and he uplifted his father’s hand to remove it from off the head of Ephraim, that it might rest on the head of Menasheh. And Joseph said to his father, Not so, my father, for this is the firstborn; lay thy right hand on his head. But his father was not willing, and said, I know, my son, I know that he is the firstborn, and also that he will be a great people, and will also be multiplied; yet will his younger brother be greater than he, and his sons be greater among the nations. And he blessed them in that day, saying, In thee, Joseph my son, shall the house of Israel bless their infants in the day of their circumcision, saying, The Lord set thee as Ephraim and as Menasheh. And in the numbering of the tribes the prince of Ephraim shall be numbered before the prince of Menasheh. And he appointed that Ephraim should be before Menasheh.

And Israel said to Joseph, Behold, my end cometh to die. But the Word of the Lord shall be your Helper, and restore you to the land of your fathers; and I, behold, I have given to thee the city of Shekem, one portion for a gift above thy brethren, which I took from the hand of the Amoraee at the time that you went into the midst of it, and I arose and helped you with my sword and with my bow. [Jerusalem. And I, behold, I have given thee one portion above thy brethren, the robe of the first Adam. Abraham the father of my father took it from the hands of Nimrod the Wicked, and gave it to Izhak my father; and Izhak my father gave it to Esau, and I took it from the hands of Esau my brother, not with my sword nor with my bow, but through my righteousness and my good works.]



XLIX. And Jakob called his sons and said to them, Purify yourselves from uncleanness, and I will show you the hidden mysteries, the ends concealed, the recompense of reward for the righteous, the retribution of the wicked, and the bower of Eden, what it is. And the twelve tribes of Israel gathered themselves together around the golden bed whereon he reclined, and where was revealed to him the Shekina of the Lord, (though) the end for which the king Meshiha is to come had been concealed from him. Then said he, Come, and I will declare to you what shall befall you at the end of the days. Gather yourselves together and hear, ye sons of Jakob, and receive instruction from Israel your father.

Reuben thou art my firstborn, the beginning of the strength of my generation, and the chief event of my thoughts To thee belonged the birthright, and the high priesthood, and the kingdom: but because thou hast sinned, my son, the birthright is given to Joseph, and the, kingdom to Jehuda, and the priesthood to Levi. I will liken thee to a little garden in the midst of which there enter torrents swift and strong, which it cannot bear, but is overwhelmed. Be repentant then, Reuben my son, for thou hast sinned, and add not; that wherein thou hast sinned it may be forgiven thee; for it is reckoned to thee as if thou wentest in to have to do with the wife of thy father at the time that thou didst confound my bed upon which thou wentest up.

Shimeon and Levi are brothers of the womb; their thoughts are of sharp weapons for rapine. In their counsel my soul bath not had pleasure, and in their gathering against Shekem to destroy it mine honor was not united; for in their anger they slew the prince and his ruler, and in their ill will they demolished the wall of their adversary. And Jakob said, Accursed was the town of Shekem. when they entered within it to destroy it in their violent wrath; and their hatred against Joseph, for it was relentless. If, said Jakob, they dwell together, no king nor ruler may stand before them. Therefore will I divide the inheritance of the sons of Shimeon into two portions; one part shall come to them out of the inheritance of the sons of Jehuda, and one part from among the rest of the tribes of Jakob; and the tribe of Levi I will disperse among all the tribes of Israel.

Jehuda, thou didst make confession in the matter of Tamar: therefore shall thy brethren confess thee, and shall be called Jehudain from thy name. Thy hand shall avenge thee of thy adversaries, in throwing arrows upon them when they turn their backs before thee; and the sons of thy fathers shall come before thee with salutations. I will liken thee, my son Jehuda, to a whelp, the young of a lion; for from the killing of Joseph my son thou didst uplift thy soul, and from the judgment of Tamar thou wast free. He dwelleth quietly and in strength, as a lion; and as an old lion when he reposeth, who may stir him up? Kings shall not cease, nor rulers, from the house of Jehuda, nor sapherim teaching the law from his seed, till the time that the King the Meshiha, shall come, the youngest of his sons; and on account of him shall the peoples flow together How beauteous is the King, the Meshiha who will arise from the house of Jehuda! He hath girded his loins, and descended, and arrayed the battle against his adversaries, slaying kings with their rulers; neither is there any king or ruler who shall stand before him. The mountains become red with the blood of their slain; his garments, dipped in blood, are like the outpressed juice of grapes. How beautiful are the eyes of the king Meshiha, as the pure wine! He cannot look upon what is unclean, nor on the shedding of the blood of the innocent; and his teeth, purer than milk, cannot eat that which is stolen or torn; and therefore his mountains are red with wine, and his hills white with corn, and with the cotes of flocks.



Zebulon shall dwell upon the banks of the sea, and have dominion over the havens he will surmount the breakers of the sea with ships and his border extend unto Zidon.



Issakar is an ass in the law; a strong tribe, knowing the order, of the times; and he lieth down between the, limits of his brethren. And he saw the rest of the world to come that it is good, and the portion of the land of Israel that it is pleasant; therefore bowed he his shoulders to labor in the law, and unto him shall come his brethren bearing presents.



From the house of Dan there is to arise a man who will judge his people with the judgment of truth. All the tribes of Israel will hearken to him together. A chosen man shall arise from the house of Dan, like the basilisk which lieth at the dividing of the way, and the serpent’s head which lurketh by the way, that biteth the horse in his heel, and the master from his terror is thrown backward. Even thus will Shimshon bar Manovach slay all the heroes of Philistia, the horsemen and the foot; he will hamstring their horses and hurl their riders backwards.



When Jakob saw Gideon bar Joash and Shimshon bar Manovach, who were established to be deliverers, he said, I expect not the salvation of Gideon, nor look I for the salvation of Shimshon; for their salvation will be the salvation of an hour; but for Thy salvation have I waited, and will look for, 0 Lord; for Thy salvation is the salvation of eternity.



The tribe of Gad with the rest of the tribes will, armed, pass over the streams of Arnona and subdue before them the pillars of the earth, and armed will they return into their limits with much substance and dwell in peace beyond the passage of Jardena; for so will they choose, and it shall be to them to receive their inheritance.



Happy is Asher whose fruitage is plenteous, and whose land aboundeth in balsams and costly perfumes.



Naphatali is a swift messenger, like a hind that runneth on the tops of the mountains, bringing good tidings: he it was who announced that Joseph was living; he it was who hasteneth to go into Mizraim, and bring the contract of the double field in which Esau had no portion; and when he shall open his mouth in the congregation of Israel to give praise, he shall be the chosen of all tongues.



Joseph, my son, thou hast become great; Joseph, my son, thou hast become great and mighty; the end (determined) on thee was (that thou shouldst) be mighty, because thou didst subdue thy inclination in the matter of thy mistress, and in the work of thy brethren. Thee will I liken to a vine planted by fountains of water, which sendeth forth her roots, and overrunneth the ridges of stone, and covereth by her branches all unfruitful trees; even so didst thou my son Joseph subject by thy wisdom and thy good works all the magicians of Mizraim; and when, celebrating thy praises, the daughters of princes walking on the high places cast before thee bracelets and chains of gold, that thou shouldst lift up thine eyes upon them, thine eyes thou wouldst not lift up on one of them, to become guilty in the great day of judgment. And all the magicians of Mizraim were bitter and angry against him, and brought accusations against him before Pharoh, expecting to bring him down from his honor They spake against him with the slanderous tongue which is severe as arrows. But he returned to abide in his early strength, and would not yield himself unto sin, and subdued his inclinations by the strong discipline he had received from Jakob, and thence became worthy of being a ruler, and of being joined in the engraving of the names upon the stones of Israel. From the Word of the Lord shall be thy help; and He who is called the All-Sufficient shall bless thee with the blessings which descend with the dew of heaven from above, and with the good blessing of the fountains of the deep which ascend and clothe the herbage from beneath. The breasts are blessed at which thou wast suckled, and the womb in which thou didst lie, The blessings of thy father be added to the blessings wherewith my fathers Abraham and Izhak have blessed me, and which the princes of the world Ishmael and Esau and all the sons of Keturah have desired: let all these blessings be united, and form a diadem of majesty for the head of Joseph, and for the brow of the man who became chief and ruler in Mizraim, and the brightness of the glory of his brethren.



Benjamin is a strong tribe, (like) the wolf (with) his prey. In his land will dwell the Shekina of the Lord of the world, and the house of the sanctuary be builded in his inheritance. In the morning will the priests offer the lamb continually until the fourth hour, and between the evenings the second lamb, and at eventide will they divide the residue remaining of the offering, and eat, every man, his portion.





[Jerusalem Targum. And our father Jakob called his sons, and said to them, Gather together, and I will teach yon the concealed end, the secret mysteries, the recompense of reward for the just, and the punishment of the wicked, and the blessedness of Eden, what it is. And the twelve tribes of Jakob assembled and surrounded the golden bed whereon our father Jakob lay, desiring that he should teach them (at the) end in benediction and consolation. Then was revealed to him the secret that had been hidden from him, and then was opened the door which had been shut to him. Our father Jakob turned therefore and blessed his sons, every man according to his good did he bless him.



[When the twelve tribes of Jakob were assembled, and surrounded the golden bed whereon our father Jakob lay, they expected that he would make known to them the order of blessing and consolation: but they were hidden from him. Our father Jakob answered and said to them: From Abraham my father’s father arose the profane Ishmael and all the sons of Keturah; and from Izhak my father arose the profane Esau, my brother; and I am afraid lest there should be among you a man whose heart is separated from his brethren to go and worship before strange idols. The twelve tribes of Jakob answered all together, and said, Hear us, Israel our father! The Lord our God is one Lord! And Jakob our father answered, and said, May His Great Name be blessed for ever and ever!



[REUBEN, my firstborn art thou, my strength, and the beginning of my sorrow. To thee my son Reuben would it have pertained to receive three portions above thy brethren, birthright, priesthood, kingdom: but because thou hast sinned, Reuben, my son, the birthright is given unto Joseph, the kingdom to Jehuda, and the high priesthood to the tribe of Levi. I will liken thee, my son Reuben, to a little garden into the midst of which there enter rapid torrents, which it cannot bear, but is carried away before them. Be repentant then, my son Reuben, with good works, for thou hast sinned; and sin no more, that that which thou hast sinned may be forgiven thee.



[5. Shimeon and Levi are brothers of the womb, men who are masters of sharp weapons; they made war from their youth; in the land of their adversary they wrought out the triumphs of war. In their counsels my soul found no pleasure; and in their gathering together at the city of Shekem to destroy it, they were not favorable to my honor; for in their anger they slew kings with princes, and in their willfulness they sold Joseph their brother, who is compared to the ox. Accursed was the town of shekem when Shimeon and Levi entered to destroy it in their wrath, for it was strong, and in their anger, for it was cruel. And Jakob our father said, If these remain together, no people or kingdom can stand before them. I will divide the tribe of Shimeon, that they may become preachers and teachers of the law in the congregation of Jakob; and I will disperse the tribe of Levi in the houses of instruction for the sons of Israel



[8. JEHUDA, thee shall all thy brethren praise, and from thy name shall all be called Jehudaee; thy hand shall avenge thee of thy adversaries; all the sons of thy father shall come before thee with salutation. I will liken thee, my son Jehuda, to a whelp the son of a lion: from the slaying of Joseph thou wast free, from the judgment of Tamar thou, my son, wast acquitted. He remaineth tranquil in the midst of war, as the lion and as the lioness; nor is there people or kingdom that can stand against thee. Kings shall not cease from the house of Jehuda, nor sapherim teaching the law from his children’s children, until the time that the King Meshiha shall come, whose is the kingdom, and to whom all the kingdoms of the earth shall be obedient. How beauteous is the King Meshiha, who is to arise from the house of Jehuda!



[Binding his loins, and going forth to war against them that hate him, he will slay kings with princes, and make the rivers red with the blood of their slain, and his hills white with the fat of their mighty ones; his garments will be dipped in blood, and he himself be like the juice of the winepress. More beautiful are the eyes of the king Meshiha to behold than pure wine; they will not look upon that which is unclean, or the shedding of the blood of the innocent. His teeth are employed according to the precept rather than in eating the things of violence and rapine; his mountains shall be red with vines, and his presses with his wine, and his hills be white with much corn and with flocks of sheep.



[14. ISSAKAR is a strong tribe, and his limits shall be in the midst between two boundaries. And he saw the house of the sanctuary, which is called Quietness, that it is good, and the land that its fruits are rich; and bared his shoulders to labor in the law, and to him shall be all his brethren bringing tribute.



[17. (Of DAN) He will be the deliverer who is to arise, strong will he be and elevated above all kingdoms. And be will be like the serpent that lieth in the way, and the basilisk which lurketh at the dividing of the road, which striketh the horse in his heel, and thinketh by the terror of him to throw his rider backward. He is Shimshon bar Manovach, who will be a terror upon his adversaries, and a fear upon them that hate him, and who will slay kings with princes. Our father Jakob said, My soul hath not waited for the redemption of Gideon bar Joash which is for an hour, nor for the redemption of Shimshon which is a creature redemption, but for the Redemption which Thou hast said in Thy Word shall come for Thy people the sons of Israel, for this Thy Redemption my soul hath waited.



[19. From the house of GAD will go forth hosts arrayed in arms. They will bring Israel over Jardena put them in possession of the land of Kenaan, and afterwards return in peace to their tabernacles.



[Of happy Asher how fertile is the land! His land shall satisfy with dainties the kings of the sons of Israel.



[Naphtali is a swift messenger declaring good tidings. He first declared to our father Jakob that Joseph was yet in life, and he went down to Mizraim in a little time, and brought the contract of the Double Field from the palace of Joseph. And when he openeth his mouth in the congregation of Jakob, his tongue is sweet as honey.



[22. My son who hast become great, JOSEPH, my son, who hast become great, and waxed mighty, that thou wouldst become mighty was foreseen. Thee, Joseph, my son, will I liken to a vine planted by fountains of water, which sendeth her roots into the depth and striketh the ridges of the rocks, uplifting herself on high and surmounting all the trees. So hast thou, O Joseph my son, risen by thy wisdom above all magicians of Mizraim, and all the wise men who were there, what time thou didst ride in the second chariot of Pharoh, and they proclaimed before thee and said, This is the father of the king, Long live the father of the king, Great in wisdom, though few in years. And the daughters of kings and of princes danced before thee at the windows, and beheld thee from the balconies, and scattered before thee bracelets rings collars, necklaces, and all ornaments of gold, in hope thou wouldst uplift thine eyes and regard one of them. But thou my son Joseph wast far from lifting thine eyes on any one of them, though the daughters of kings and of princes spake one to another, This is the holy man Joseph, who walks not after the sight of his eyes nor after the imagination of his heart; because the sight of the eyes and the imagination of his heart make the son of woman to perish from the world. Therefore will arise from thee the two tribes Menasheh and Ephraim, who shall receive portion and inheritance with their brethren in the dividing of the land. The magicians of Mizraim and all the wise men spake against him, but could not prevail over him; they spake evil of him before his lord, they accused him before Pharoh king of Mizraim, to bring him down from his dignity; they spake against him in the palace of Pharoh with a slanderous tongue severe as arrows. But the strength of his confidence remained in both his hands and his arms, and he sought mercy from the strength of his father Jakob, under the arms of whose power the tribes of Israel are led, and do come. Blessed are the breasts that suckled thee, and the womb in which thou didst lie. The blessing of thy father be added upon thee, upon the blessings wherewith thy fathers Abraham and Izhak who are like mountains blessed thee, and upon the blessing of the four mothers’ Sarah, Rivekah, Rahel, and Leah, who are like hills; let all these blessings come, and make a diadem of majesty upon the head of Joseph, and upon the crown of the man who became a chief and ruler in the land of Mizraim, and the brightness of the glory of his brethren.



[17. (Of BENJAMIN) I will liken him to a ravening wolf. In his limits will the sanctuary be builded, and in his inheritance the glory of the Shekina of the Lord will dwell. In the morning will the priests offer the continual lamb and its oblations, and at the going down of the sun will the priests offer the continual lamb and its oblations, and at evening divide the offerings of the sons of Israel.]





LXX:



Gen. 49:



3 Ruben, thou art my first-born, thou my strength, and the first of my children, hard to be endured, hard and self-willed.

4 Thou wast insolent like water, burst not forth with violence, for thou wentest up to the bed of thy father; then thou defiledst the couch, whereupon thou wentest up.

5 Symeon and Levi, brethren, accomplished the injustice of their cutting off.

6 Let not my soul come into their counsel, and let not mine inward parts contend in their conspiracy, for in their wrath they slew men, and in their passion they houghed a bull.

7 Cursed be their wrath, for it was willful, and their anger, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

8 Juda, thy brethren have praised thee, and thy hands shall be on the back of thine enemies; thy father’s sons shall do thee reverence.

9 Juda is a lion’s whelp: from the tender plant, my son, thou art gone up, having couched thou liest as a lion, and as a whelp; who shall stir him up?

10 A ruler shall not fail from Juda, nor a prince from his loins, until there come the things stored up for him; and he is the expectation of nations.

11 Binding his foal to the vine, and the foal of his ass to the branch of it, he shall wash his robe in wine, and his garment in the blood of the grape.

12 His eyes shall be more cheering than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.

13 Zabulon shall dwell on the coast, and he shall be by a haven of ships, and shall extend to Sidon.

14 Issachar has desired that which is good; resting between the inheritances.

15 And having seen the resting place that it was good, and the land that it was fertile, he subjected his shoulder to labor, and became a husbandman.

16 Dan shall judge his people, as one tribe too in Israel.

17 And let Dan be a serpent in the way, besetting the path, biting the heel of the horse (and the rider shall fall backward),

18 waiting for the salvation of the Lord.

19 Gad, a plundering troop shall plunder him; but he shall plunder him, pursuing him closely.

20 Aser, his bread shall be fat; and he shall yield dainties to princes.

21 Nephthalim is a spreading stem, bestowing beauty on its fruit.

22 Joseph is a son increased; my dearly loved son is increased; my youngest son, turn to me.

23 Against whom men taking evil counsel reproached him, and the archers pressed hard upon him.

24 But their bow and arrows were mightily consumed, and the sinews of their arms were slackened by the hand of the mighty one of Jacob; thence is he that strengthened Israel from the God of thy father;

25 and my God helped thee, and he blessed thee with the blessing of heaven from above, and the blessing of the earth possessing all things, because of the blessing of the breasts and of the womb,

26 the blessings of thy father and thy mother — it has prevailed above the blessing of the lasting mountains, and beyond the blessings of the everlasting hills; they shall be upon the head of Joseph, and upon the head of the brothers of whom he took the lead.

27 Benjamin, as a ravening wolf, shall eat still in the morning, and at evening he gives food.



Deut. 33:



6 Let Ruben live, and not die; and let him be many in number.

7 And this is the blessing of Juda; Hear, Lord, the voice of Juda, and do thou visit his people: his hands shall contend for him, and thou shalt be a help from his enemies.

8 And to Levi he said, Give to Levi his manifestations, and his truth to the holy man, whom they tempted in the temptation; they reviled him at the water of strife.

9 Who says to his father and mother, I have not seen thee; and he knew not his brethren, and he refused to know his sons: he kept thine oracles, and observed thy covenant.

10 They shall declare thine ordinances to Jacob, and thy law to Israel: they shall place incense in the time of thy wrath continually upon thine altar.

11 Bless, Lord, his strength, and accept the works of his hands; break the loins of his enemies that have risen up against him, and let not them that hate him rise up.

12 And to Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in confidence, and God overshadows him always, and he rested between his shoulders.

13 And to Joseph he said, His land is of the blessing of the Lord, of the seasons of sky and dew, and of the deeps of wells below,

14 and of the fruits of the changes of the sun in season, and of the produce of the months,

15 from the top of the ancient mountains, and from the top of the everlasting hills,

16 and of the fullness of the land in season: and let the things pleasing to him that dwelt in the bush come on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of him who was glorified above his brethren.

17 His beauty is as the firstling of his bull, his horns are the horns of a unicorn; with them he shall thrust the nations at once, even from the end of the earth: these are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and these are the thousands of Manasse.

18 And to Zabulon he said, Rejoice, Zabulon, in thy going out, and Issachar in his tents.

19 They shall utterly destroy the nations, and ye shall call men there, and there offer the sacrifice of righteousness; for the wealth of the sea shall suckle thee, and so shall the marts of them that dwell by the seacoast.

20 And to Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlarges Gad: as a lion he rested, having broken the arm and the ruler.

21 And he saw his firstfruits, that there the land of the princes gathered with the chiefs of the people was divided; the Lord wrought righteousness, and his judgment with Israel.

22 And to Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp, and shall leap out of Basan.

23 And to Nephthali he said, Nephthali has the fulness of good things; and let him be filled with blessing from the Lord: he shall inherit the west and the south.

24 And to Aser he said, Aser is blessed with children; and he shall be acceptable to his brethren: he shall dip his foot in oil.

25 His sandal shall be iron and brass; as thy days, so shall be thy strength.





The chief tribes of the four Camps are Judah (the eastern Camp, under the Zodiac sign Leo), Reuben (the southern Camp, under the Zodiac sign Taurus), Ephraim (the western Camp, under the Zodiac sign Aquarius) and Dan (the northern Camp, under the Zodiac sign Scorpio).



These tribes are prefigured in the Zodiac as follows:



LEO (Heb. Aryeh) = JUDAH



Judah (whose name means recognition with favor, or appointment for leadership, or praise) is compared to a Lion many times in Scripture. The root meaning of his name is to point out with the hand, acknowledge as one who is praiseworthy, or as one who has ability to guide and lead. He was the ancestor of the tribe from which the royal line of the Jews was to spring, the House of David. Hence his sign was the universally recognized symbol of power and royalty, the Lion (Leo).



TAURUS (Heb. Shor) = REUBEN



Reuben was the firstborn of Leah and Leah means “wild cow”. Reuben was, therefore, the firstborn of the cow and was accordingly symbolized as a bull, particularly a young bull, i.e. the sign Taurus. The name of Reuben means “Beware (or watch) the young one (of animal or man)”. Taurus is depicted as an angry bull charging. In fact Taurus is charging and attacking a shepherd (depicted in the conjoined constellation Auriga), who holds in his arms a ewe (the star Capella) and her two offspring. Reuben accordingly assaulted his father Israel (who was a shepherd) by lying with Israel’s concubine Bilhah. This attack, an attack of lust (bull), committed by the firstborn son of Israel’s less favored wife, Leah, was also an assault on Israel’s beloved, and therefore rival, wife, Rachel (whose name means ewe) with her two offspring, Joseph and Benjamin (both favored like their mother), inasmuch as Bilhah was the handmaid of Rachel. Hence in the heavenly sign, the ewe (Rachel, Capella), recognizing the danger of Leah’s jealous (bullish), young champion, Reuben (Taurus), cowers for protection with her two children in the bosom of the shepherd Israel (Auriga).



AQUARIUS (Heb. Deli) = EPHRAIM



Aquarius is the figure of a man pouring out water, the heavenly irrigator. It represents the tribe of Ephraim, whose name means “He [God] has made productive or fruitful”, i.e. very productive, the form of the Hebrew name conveying the sense of “Double Fruitfulness”. It was, and still is, usual in the Near East for the fruitfulness of the land to depend on human irrigation. The Hebrew name of the sign Deli (the water vessel) has connotations, likewise, of fertility and reproduction. As the recipient of the blessing of the firstborn, Ephraim inherited his father’s mantle and, indeed, his name, so this tribe is frequently called simply Joseph (e.g. in Rev. 7). The name Joseph, too, means “Prolific”, “Increasing” or “Multiplication”, and Joseph himself is, therefore, equally and appropriately represented by the sign of the Irrigator. In view of this, it is remarkable that the stream of productive water in the celestial sign is flowing into the belly of the great Southern Fish (the constellation Piscis Australis), which anciently was believed to represent the mother of the two fishes of Pisces. This sign, Piscis Australis, therefore, is a figuration of Asenath, the Egyptian wife of Joseph and mother of Manasseh and Ephraim. Joseph was identified with the Egyptian god Serapis, and the consort of this god was Isis, the Great Goddess of Egyptian paganism. Accordingly, the Greeks and Romans identified Piscis Australis with their equivalent Great Goddess, Aphrodite or Venus, and hence their belief that the emblem of this divinity was to be found amongst the stars of “The Fishes” (which designated conjointly Piscis Australis and Pisces). The child of this goddess was called Eros or Cupid, meaning, union of natural affection, and this union was signified in the stars by the band in the sign of Pisces, by which the two fishes were united.





SCORPIO (Heb. Akrav) = DAN



Dan means divine judgment or divine punishment. It is represented in the Zodiac by the sign of a scorpion. This creature causes torment or punishment by its deadly sting. In Hebrew the word Scorpion (akrav) actually means, as well as the creature so designated, an instrument of judicial punishment, a scourge fitted with sharp points. The Latin word Scorpio (scorpion) is derived directly from the Hebrew name (-k-r-b, pronounced akrav, with the initial hard breathing transformed, as commonly elsewhere, into s and b into p). Similarly in Latin, scorpio designates both the creature and a scourge with sharp points. The Hebrew name is a conflation of two other Hebrew words, akar (wound) and akev (heel), so the scorpion is the “heel-wounder”, representing the serpentine evil seed which is prophesied in Gen. 3 to wound the heel of the Messiah, the Seed of the Woman. In the blessing of Jacob, accordingly, Dan is described as a serpent in the path who bites the heels of a horse so that its rider falls backward. Here we have in one phrase references to the scorpion (heel-wounder), the centaur (horse) which is in conflict with Scorpio in the Zodiac, and the Seed of the Woman who is attacked by the seed of the serpent (the rider of the horse). Hence the sign of the basilisk-serpent on the standard of Dan. In the celestial sphere, Scorpio is attacking the heel of the conjoined constellation, the “Serpent-wrestler”, Ophiuchus, representing the Seed of the Woman, who is in the process of crushing Scorpio with his heel. In fact, the stars of Ophiuchus intermingle with those of Scorpio in the section where the foot of the former crushes the heart of the latter (the star Antares or “Heart of the Scorpion”). In Egypt, Ophiuchus was represented with the head of a bird of prey which the Hebrews and Greeks called an Eagle, this bird being the particular enemy of the serpent. Hence, because of the fusion of the signs, it was possible for Scorpio to be replaced by an Eagle. For example, in the figures of the four Cherubim, we have a Lion (Leo), a Bull (Taurus), a Man (Aquarius) and an Eagle (Ophiuchus/Scorpio).



The Birth Signs of the sons of Israel are reflected in their names as follows:



Reuben = Leo, Heb. Aryeh, the “Lion”. The name Reuben means “Behold a son [male child]” or “He [God] has looked on my [the mother Leah’s] affliction”. The Hebrew name of the Zodiac sign Aryeh includes within it the word ary = “Behold!” The second component, –h, could be interpreted as a grammatical (“paedagogic”) suffix conveying no particular information. In that case Aryeh means: 1) “Behold!” 2) “Lion”, but in Hebrew “lion” also means “hero, notable male”, and the lion indicated in the star-sign is a young male (cf. the Targum on Numbers 2). These two meanings are expressed in Leah’s interpretation of the name Reuben, “(1) Behold (2) a son [male child].” Alternatively, the final -h could be interpreted as the cry of woe “ha!” or “he!” and Aryeh would then mean “Behold the cry of woe”. Leah’s alternative interpretation, “He has looked on my affliction”, expresses the same concept in different words. The lion is known for its keen sight, as well as for its male qualities of bravery and strength. It is recognized (sight) as the king (male) of the beasts.



Simeon = Aries, Heb. Taleh = “Lamb, Young One”, from the root, tl, or twl, “to hang down, drop, shake, lie on the ground”. From the same root is formed the word tallit, the long, hanging, “prayer-shawl” of the kind commonly used by Hebrews, especially the priest or leader in prayer. Simeon means “Answer to prayer [lit. Hearing]”, interpreted by the mother Leah to mean “Heard by God because I was hated”. The element “hated” is found in the verbal form tiltel from the same root, meaning “to shake, unsettle, send into exile”.



Levi = Sagittarius, Heb. Kasshat, the “Bowman”. Levi comes from the root lwh, meaning “to bend, curve, coil, be attached, join”. Hence the curved bow of the sign Sagittarius the Archer is the Zodiac sign of Levi. This is a mounted archer (a centaur, a bowman and horse fused into one), and the root lwh also means “to be a military escort”, such an escort in the ancient world commonly comprising mounted archers.



Judah = Taurus, Heb. Shor, the “Bull”. Judah, Heb. Yehudah, comes from the Heb. root ydh, lit. “to cast, direct (at)” then, “to direct words, praise, confession (at), to praise, acknowledge, confess”. So of Judah it is said, “him shall his brethren praise.” The name is found in both senses in the constellation Taurus: the bull in the star-sign is directing its horns upward at Auriga, and in Hebrew the expression “to lift up the horn” means “to exult, triumph” or “cause (one) to triumph, be exalted, etc.” by praise, acknowledgment, confession, or otherwise. Judah is identified implicitly with Auriga, or with one or the other of Auriga’s dependent asterisms, viz. those known as “the Kids”, who shelter in Auriga’s bosom, as the constellation Auriga is conjoined to Taurus by the shared star El Nath at the end of the northern horn of Taurus, and formed one constellation in antiquity: accordingly, the praise (horn) of the bull is directed at Auriga (“him [Auriga] shall his brethren [Taurus] praise”).



Issachar = Virgo, Heb. Betulah, the “Virgin”. The young woman (Virgo) carries a branch (of mandrakes) and a stalk of harvested wheat, because at the harvest-time (stalk of harvested wheat) Issachar (whose name means hired man) was conceived by Leah after hiring her husband for the night from Rachel, Rachel receiving as her hire the mandrakes which Leah’s son had found in the fields. The mandrakes were desired by Rachel because she hoped their aphrodisiac powers would help her conceive, when before this she had been barren (Virgo = virgin). And, indeed, she did conceive immediately thereafter, bringing forth her firstborn son, Joseph, typing the Promised Seed, the Messiah Jesus, born from the Virgin (Virgo) Mary. Rachel (Virgo) is seen in the sign carrying off the mandrakes, to represent the hiring from which Issachar received his name, and bearing the Seed (the star Spica, Ear of Corn), as a prophecy of the coming Messiah. A subjoined constellation, Coma, the “Hair” of the Virgin (representing the hair of the wheat plant [“mother”] which bears the Seed), was in ancient times depicted as a Virgin bearing a young boy on her lap. The Arabs said this young boy was Jesus, the Messiah, and claimed that an ancient prophecy of the Magi foretold that a great star would beam forth in this sign at the time the Messiah was born. This was the Star of Bethlehem. Indeed, precisely when Jesus was born (historically, in April, not December), at midnight, Virgo and Coma were on the meridian, directly above Bethlehem. The Virgin (Rachel) in Virgo, Betulah in Hebrew, is holding the plant used to make the (mandrake) wine in one hand (its chief star being called Vindemiatrix, the Vine-Harvester), and in Israelite times the sign Virgo was where the sun was located at the time of the harvesting of vines (the Hebrew month Tishri, September-October). In fact Betulah, the Hebrew name of the sign, means, as well as “virgin”, “branch” or “shoot of a plant”. The Virgin in the star-sign is the Branch personified. So also in Latin virgo (virgin) is cognate to virga, branch.



Zebulun = Capricorn, Heb. Gedi, the “Goat”. The Zodiac sign depicts a goat-fish, representing a fertile (goat) fountain (fish), spring-water being of particular importance in the Near East to ensure the fertility of fields sown with crops. Zebulun (Heb. Zevulun) is from the root zbl meaning “to fertilize” (by spreading manure in the form of dead foliage etc. on the fields), and zevul (same root) is also, specifically, the manure from goats.



Dan = Gemini, Heb. Teomim, the “Twins”. Dan means “to hold counsel, debate, decide, judge, punish”. The heavenly debate, and the punishment following, is represented by two figures, the Twins (two minds in debate), holding weapons (punishment).



Gad = Libra, Heb. Moznayim, the “Scales”. Gad, from the root gd, means forager or grazer or foraging troop. The root meaning of the word incorporates, as well as the idea of grazing or cropping (literally), the idea of picking (mentally), selecting or choosing, hence it comes to denote the Divine Election or Decree (commonly mistranslated “fate, luck”). The Divine Decree is symbolized by the heavenly Scales of Libra.



Naphtali = Aquarius, Heb. Deli, the Water-bucket. The name Naphtali is derived from the root ptl, meaning “to twine”, whence patil, “thread”. Naphtali literally means “My [the mother’s] strugglings, lit. twinings”, as if the mother was struggling on a rope. It is symbolized by the Water-bucket on the rope of the shaduf (by which water is raised from rivers in the Near East) depicted in the sign of Aquarius (a long sprawling line of stars exactly duplicating the long handle on a fulcrum of the shaduf).



Asher = Cancer, Heb. Sartan, the Crab. Asher means “to direct or lead one on the path to success, prosperity etc.” The Crab in the sign of Cancer is precisely directing or leading its young offspring (symbolized by the cluster Praesepe) with its two pincers.



Joseph = Scorpio, Heb. Akrav, the Scorpion. The name Joseph is interpreted two ways: 1) from the Hebrew asaph, “He causes to be removed” and 2) from the Hebrew yasaph, “He piles on top, adds more etc.” Joseph is symbolized by the sign of Scorpio which depicts the removing of the hated Scorpion by the piling on top of the foot of Ophiuchus, the Serpent-wrestler. The Scorpion, in addition, is a symbol of sterility, and crushing it represents fertility: the name Joseph means more precisely “He (God) shall add another son”.



Benjamin = Pisces, Heb. Dagim, the “Fishes”. Benjamin had two names: 1) Ben-oni, “Son of my [the mother’s] sorrow, affliction” and 2) Ben-jamin, “Son of the right hand, i.e. blessed, favored”. Fishes symbolize offspring (the Heb. nin means both “fish” and “offspring” from the root nwn, “be prolific”). Here we have two fishes in the star-sign, and also two sons in the names Ben-oni and Ben-jamin. One fish in the star-sign is travelling horizontally along the ecliptic (the sun’s path through the sky), representing the path through this world of sorrow and death (Ben-oni, “Son of my sorrow”), and the other fish is swimming vertically towards the zenith, representing the upward path to heaven obtained only by the unmerited grace and favor of God (Ben-jamin, “Son of the right hand, i.e. blessed, favored”).









Previous     Next