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Genesis 49:3

    Genesis 49:3 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

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

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength; The pre-eminence of dignity, and the pre-eminence of power.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Reuben, you are my oldest son, the first-fruit of my strength, first in pride and first in power:

    Webster's Revision

    Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength; The pre-eminence of dignity, and the pre-eminence of power.

    World English Bible

    "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength; excelling in dignity, and excelling in power.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength; The excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.

    Definitions for Genesis 49:3

    Art - "Are"; second person singular.

    Clarke's Commentary on Genesis 49:3

    Reuben as the first-born had a right to a double portion of all that the father had; see Deuteronomy 21:17

    The eminence or dignity mentioned here may refer to the priesthood; the power, to the regal government or kingdom - In this sense it has been understood by all the ancient Targumists. The Targum of Onkelos paraphrases it thus: "Thou shouldst have received three portions, the birthright, the priesthood, and the kingdom:" and to this the Targums of Jonathan ben Uzziel and Jerusalem add: "But because thou hast sinned, the birthright is given to Joseph, the kingdom to Judah, and the priesthood to Levi." That the birthright was given to the sons of Joseph we have the fullest proof from 1 Chronicles 5:1.

    Barnes' Notes on Genesis 49:3

    Reuben, as the first-born by nature, has the first place in the benedictory address. My might. In times and places in which a man's right depends on his might, a large family of sons is the source of strength and safety. "The excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power" - the rank and authority which belong to the first-born. "Boiling over as water." That which boils over perishes at the same time that it is pernicious. This is here transferred in a figure to the passionate nature of Reuben. "Thou shalt not excel." There is here an allusion to the excellency of dignity and power. By the boiling over of his unhallowed passions Reuben lost all the excellence that primogeniture confers. By the dispensation of Providence the double portion went to Joseph, the first-born of Rachel; the chieftainship to Judah; and the priesthood to Levi. The cause of this forfeiture is then assigned. In the last sentence the patriarch in a spirit of indignant sorrow passes from the direct address to the indirect narrative. "To my couch he went up." The doom here pronounced upon Reuben is still a blessing, as he is not excluded from a tribe's share in the promised land. But, as in the case of the others, this blessing is abated and modified by his past conduct. His tribe has its seat on the east of the Jordan, and never comes to any eminence in the commonwealth of Israel.