Zebulun Settles By The Seashore!
As we continue on our study of Genesis 49, which is essentially a series of prophetic blessings that predestines the character and attributes of the 12 tribes of Israel…we ended last time with the 4th –born son of Jacob, Judah. And, we saw that Judah seemingly received the Firstborn Blessing.
“Zebulun will settle by the seashore
and will be a harbor for ships;
his borders will extend to Sidon.
Genesis 49:13 (NLT)
What we see here is that it is said that Zebulun’s destiny is to be in commercial ventures: he’d be a merchant and a trader. Even more, his ancestors would have much to do with shipping and other maritime industry.
And, hundreds of years into the future, we find that Zebulun’s territorial allotment will put them as a land bridge between the Sea of Galilee, and the Mediterranean.
Now, they never really possessed territory all the way to the seashore, but they had shipping and trade interests on both Seas. But more, directly through their territory ran one of the greatest trading routes of their era or any other: Via Maris, the Way of the Sea. It began in Damascus, and wound its way all the way to Egypt, and was an enormous economic boom for the tribe of Zebulun.
Just as Zebulun’s blessing is short and sweet, so is the tribe’s Biblical history. Very little is said about them. No person of significance is mentioned as coming from the tribe of Zebulun.
However, in the “Song of Deborah and Barak”, Zebulun is mentioned as being one of several tribes that committed many men to fighting against the King of Hazor, in the Valley of Jezreel, which was in Zebulun’s territory. Though precious little is said in the Bible about Zebulun, what is said could be characterized as positive and complimentary.
Even less is known about Issachar than his brother Zebulun. In fact, so little is known about Issachar, that the ancient Israelite scholars went out of their way to invent good things to say about his descendants.
Primarily, it is that while the ancestors of Zebulun toiled away as merchants, it was to support the tribe of Issachar who were great Torah scholars. Now, this is so easy to debunk as simply a self-serving fable, because after Babylon, when the vast amount of rabbinical writings and rulings and commentary was created, is when the Tradition was created that Torah study was the highest calling of any Jew.
Conversely, being a merchant, being absorbed with dealing with such material matters as trade and money, was the lowest. So, the notion that the merchant tribe would be the supporters of the tribe of learned Torah scholars was quite an ideal, and fit in very well with the social agenda of the Jewish post-Babylon time when these legends and traditions concerning Issachar and Zebulun were created.
This might be a good time to mention that while an enormous wealth of information and exciting finds are waiting for anyone who can find the time and stamina to study the Talmud, one should only use it for the purpose of its historical content, helping to understand societal structure in those ancient times, what their thought processes and agendas were and how they evolved, even how certain ceremonies occurred, what they represented, how they were performed; sometimes the Talmud can help us put certain things from the Bible in proper chronological order.
But, what is there is not inspired of God. It is in no way on par with the Holy Scriptures. Yet, it is not a pack of lies or inaccuracies either. Generally speaking, the writers and commentators were the best and finest Jewish scholars, sages, and historians of their day. But, what is written can only be counted upon as earthly wisdom and knowledge, not of the Spirit.
Unfortunately, the Jewish people have for thousands of years put the Talmud, Tradition, on par with, or even above, the Holy Scriptures. And, Jesus really throttled and verbally scourged the academic elite of His day for doing that; even telling them their so-called knowledge of Godly matters was really of their TRUE father, the Devil. He was referring to the huge and growing body of Tradition that was dominating Jewish life.
To Be Continued…