Messianic Prophecies: Genesis 49: 8-11

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Continuing our Advent look at Messianic prophecies, a series which we began in Advent 2011 and continued in 2102, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here,   here, here here, here, here ,  here, here here, here ,   here,  here  , here, , here   and here , we come to Genesis 49: 8-11:

[8] Juda, thee shall thy brethren praise: thy hands shall be on the necks of thy enemies: the sons of thy father shall bow down to thee. [9] Juda is a lion’s whelp: to the prey, my son, thou art gone up: resting thou hast couched as a lion, and as a lioness, who shall rouse him? [10] The sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations.

[11] Tying his foal to the vineyard, and his ass, O my son, to the vine. He shall wash his robe in wine, and his garment in the blood of the grape. [12] His eyes are more beautiful than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.

 

Saint Augustine wrote of this passage:

I should like to know, or rather, it would be well not to know, with what blindness of mind Faustus reads the passage where Jacob calls his sons, and says, “Assemble, that I may tell you the things that are to happen in the last day. Assemble and hear, you sons of Jacob; give ear to Israel, your father.” Surely these are the words of a prophet. What, then, does he say of his son Judah, of whose tribe Christ came of the seed of David according to the flesh, as the apostle teaches? “Judah,” he says, “your brethren shall praise you: your hand shall be upon the backs of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you. Judah is a lion’s cub; my son and offspring: bowing down, you have gone up: you sleep as a lion, and as a young lion, who will rouse him up? A prince shall not depart from Judah, nor a leader from his loins, till those things come which have been laid up for him. He also is the desire of nations: binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt with sackcloth, he shall wash his garment in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: his eyes are bright with wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.” There is no falsehood or obscurity in these words when we read them in the clear light of Christ. We see His brethren the apostles and all His joint-heirs praising Him, seeking, not their own glory, but His. We see His hands on the backs of His enemies, who are bent and bowed to the earth by the growth of the Christian communities in spite of their opposition. We see Him worshipped by the sons of Jacob, the remnant saved according to the election of grace. Christ, who was born as an infant, is the lion’s cub, as it is added, My son and offspring, to show why this whelp, in whose praise it is said, “The lion’s cub is stronger than the herd,” Proverbs 30:30 is even in infancy stronger than its elders. We see Christ ascending the cross, and bowing down when He gave up His spirit. We see Him sleeping as a lion, because in death itself He was not the conquered, but the conqueror, and as a lion’s cub; for the reason of His birth and of His death was the same. And He is raised from the dead by Him whom no man has seen or can see; for the words, “Who will raise Him up?” point to an unknown power. A prince did not depart from Judah, nor a leader from his loins, till in due time those things came which had been laid up in the promise. For we learn from the authentic history of the Jews themselves, that Herod, under whom Christ was born, was their first foreign king. So the sceptre did not depart from the seed of Judah till the things laid up for him came. Then, as the promise is not only to the believing Jews, it is added: “He is the desire of the nations.” Christ bound His foal — that is, His people — to the vine, when He preached in sackcloth, crying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The Gentiles made subject to Him are represented by the ass’s colt, on which He also sat, leading it into Jerusalem, that is, the vision of peace teaching the meek His ways. We see Him washing His garments in wine; for He is one with the glorious Church, which He presents to Himself, not having spot or wrinkle; to whom also it is said by Isaiah: “Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18 How is this done but by the remission of sins? And the wine is none other than that of which it is said that it is “shed for many, for the remission of sins.” Christ is the cluster that hung on the pole. So it is added, “and His clothes in the blood of the grape.” Again, what is said of His eyes being bright with wine, is understood by those members of His body who are enabled, in holy aberration of mind from the current of earthly things, to gaze on the eternal light of wisdom. So Paul says in a passage quoted before: “If we be beside ourselves, it is to God.” Those are the eyes bright with wine. But he adds: “If we be sober, it is for your sakes.” The babes needing to be fed with milk are not forgotten, as is denoted by the words, “His teeth are whiter than milk.”

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5 Comments

  1. St. Augustine’s commentary is pure gold.

    I wonder about St. Monica.
    Was she able to witness much of her son’s rebirth? She prayed, sacrificed and suffered too, I imagine, for her son’s conversion.

    How it must have filled her heart with God’s JOY to see her prayers answered. Here’s to a grace filled 2019 Liturgical year. Conversion conversion conversion’s!

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