Parashat Vayechi

Parashat Vayechi
 (Genesis 47:28 to 50:26)

Jacob’s blessing of Judah (Speaker’s Notes)


  • “Vayechi” – and he lived.
    • Jacob the man with 2 names dies at the end of this portion, but it is called “and he lived”.
    • Jacob is the man of flesh. Israel is the Spiritual man – and he lived.
  • Joseph’s covenant promise to bury Jacob with Leah.
  • Joseph’s 2 sons are blessed.
  • Jacob bless all his sons.
  • Jacob dies and Joseph close his eyes. (Gen 46:3 & 50:1)
  • Joseph comforts his brothers as their “old” fears are revived by Jacob’s death.
  • Joseph’s death concludes the Book of Genesis with the word: “Egypt” i.e. “Mizraim”, the “Narrow Place”.

Blessing – Bracha:  What is a “blessing”?


I’ve learnt a few things from the Temple Institute’s Rabbi Chaim Richman:

  • What does it mean to “bless”? “I wish you well”
    • Jacobs bless his sons BUT… Reuben, Simeon and Levi’s blessings sound much more like curses.
    • Is “Baruch Ata Adonai Eloheinu” wishing GOD well?
  • “Bracha” relates to “Berech” – “knee”, “kneeling”.
  • But also to a spring-fed pool over-flowing (Brachi)
  • (The source of life)
  • And to a tree propagated by branch-rooting (Brachi).
  • (The source of life)
  • When we “Bless God”, we say HE will be WHO HE is – we confess HIS Name Jud-Hey-Vav-Hey.
  • HE is our source, our overflowing “Mahim Chaim” (Living Water).


Biblical Examples of blessings:


  • First a curse in Jeremiah 17:6 –  “For he will be like a bush in the desert.  He cannot see goodness when it comes, but will dwell in parched places in the wilderness — a salt land where no one lives.”
  • Bracha in Psalm 1:3 –  “He will be like a planted tree over streams of water, producing its fruit during its season.  Its leaf never droops — but in all he does, he succeeds.”
  • Bracha in Psalm 23 –  “Green pastures”, “Still waters”, “My cup overflows”.
  • Bracha in Genesis 49:22(a) –  “A fruitful son is Joseph, a fruitful son beside a spring…”



Read Genesis 49:1 (TLV) – NOTE that Jacob’s blessings relate to the LAST DAYS


“Jacob called his sons and said to them:

“Gather together so that I can tell you

what will happen to you in the last days.”



Jacob’s (Israel’s) blessing of Judah: (Genesis 49:8-12)

“Judah, so you are—
your brothers will praise you:
Your hand will be on your enemies’ neck.
Your father’s sons will bow down to you.
A lion’s cub is Judah—
from the prey, my son,  you have gone up.
He crouches, lies down like a lion / lioness
who would rouse him?
The scepter will not pass from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs will come.
To him will be the obedience of the peoples.
Binding his foal to the vine,
his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine,
and in the blood of grapes his robe.
His eyes are darker than wine,
and teeth that are whiter than milk.”



Let us first understand:  Who was/is Judah?


From Genesis 29:35 we learn:

“Then she (Leah) became pregnant again and gave birth to a son and said,

This time I praise Adonai.

For this reason she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. “


Leah praised Adonai for her 4th son.  Judah’s name reflect her praise to Adonai.

Through Leah’s praise of Adonai,

Judah was blessed from birth, through his name.


Has Judah always been blessed?


  • Judah yearned for his father Jacob’s love for himself and for his mother
  • But Jacob loved Rachel (not Leah) and once Joseph was born, Jacob doted on Joseph (not Judah).
  • Judah was jealous. Sibling rivalry for Jacob’s affection.
  • When the brothers saw an opportunity to be rid of Joseph, it was Judah who saw an opportunity to make a little money whilst getting rid of Joseph.



Did Judah change?


  • Judah loved his father Jacob.
  • 20 years of watching his father Jacob pine away because of the loss of Joseph, ate at Judah and destroyed his conscience.
  • By the time that Joseph was 2IC in Egypt and the drought brought famine to the Promised Land, Judah was a changed man…
  • Judah offered himself in place of Benjamin
  • The blessing in his name, flowered, bourn fruit.
  • Judah became an example of self-sacrificing love – As Yeshua / Jesus did centuries later.



Back to Jacob’s blessing of Judah:  (Genesis 49:8)


“Your brothers will praise you: 

Your hand will be on your enemies’ neck. 

Your father’s sons will bow down to you.” 


Echoed in:

  • Revelation 5:5 – Then one of the elders tells me, “Stop weeping! Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed—He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
  • Revelation 5:8 – When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense—which are the prayers of the kedoshim.



A listing of Judah’s descendents indicates partial fulfilment:  (Matthew 1:1-17)


“The book of the genealogy of Yeshua ha-Mashiach, Ben-David,  Ben-Avraham Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,  Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar,  Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram,   Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon,  Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth,  Obed fathered Jesse,  and Jesse fathered David the king.

David fathered Solomon by the wife of Uriah,  Solomon fathered Rehoboam, Rehoboam fathered Abijah, Abijah fathered Asa,  Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, Joram fathered Uzziah,  Uzziah fathered Jotham, Jotham fathered Ahaz, Ahaz fathered Hezekiah,  Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, Manasseh fathered Amon, Amon fathered Josiah,  and Josiah fathered Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

After the Babylonian exile Jeconiah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel,  Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, Abiud fathered Eliakim, Eliakim fathered Azor,  Azor fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Achim, Achim fathered Eliud,  Eliud fathered Eleazar, Eleazar fathered Matthan, Matthan fathered Jacob,  and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Miriam, from whom was born Yeshua who is called the Messiah 

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the Babylonian exile are fourteen generations, and from the Babylonian exile until the Messiah are fourteen generations.



Return again to Jacob’s blessing of Judah: (Genesis 49:9)


“A lion’s cub is Judahfrom the prey, my son,  you have gone up.  He crouches, lies down like a lion/lioness who would rouse him?” 


Confirmed by John:

  • Revelation 5:5 – Then one of the elders tells me, “Stop weeping!  Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed—He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”



Once again back to Jacob’s blessing of Judah: (Genesis 49:10)


The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs will come.  To him will be the obedience of the peoples.” 


This part of the blessing is confirmed by:

  • 2 Samuel 7:16-17 –  So your house and your kingship will be secure forever before you; your throne will be established forever.”  Just so Nathan spoke all these words and all this vision to David.
  • Revelation 19:15-16 – From His mouth comes a sharp sword—so that with it He may strike down the nations—and He shall rule them with an iron rod, and He treads the winepress of the furious wrath of Elohei-Tzva’ot On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”



The next part of Jacob’s blessing of Judah: (Genesis 49:11)


“Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine, and in the blood of grapes his robe.”


Repeated by the Prophet, centuries later:

  • Zecheriah 9:9-11 – “Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion!  Shout, daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your king is coming to you, a righteous one bringing salvation.  He is lowly, riding on a donkey— on a colt, the foal of a donkey.   I will banish chariots from Ephraim and horses from Jerusalem, and the war bow will be broken.  He will speak shalom to the nations.  His rule will extend from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.  As for you also, by the blood of your covenant,  I will release your prisoners from the waterless Pit.”


And confirmed in the Gospels:

  • Matthew 21:4-5 and John 12:15 –  This happened to fullfil what was spoken through the prophet, saying,  “Say to the daughter of Zion,  ‘See, your King is coming to you,  humble and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”


The second part is echoed through another Prophets:


  • Isaiah 63:1-6 – “Who is this coming from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah?  This One splendid in His apparel, pressing forward in His great might?”  “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

“Why is Your apparel so red, and Your garments like one who treads in a wine press?”

“I have trodden the winepress alone— from the peoples, no man was with Me.  I trod them in My anger, and trampled them in My wrath.  Their lifeblood spattered My garments, so I stained all My robes.  For a day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come.  I looked, but there was no one to help.  I was amazed, but no one was assisting.  So My own arm won victory for Me, and My wrath upheld Me.  So I trod down the peoples in My anger, and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”


  • Revelation 19:11-13 –   Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horseThe One riding on it is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness.   His eyes are like a flame of fire, and many royal crowns are on His head. He has a name written that no one knows except Himself.  He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called is “the Word of God.”



The final portion of Jacob’s blessing of Judah: (Genesis 49:12)


“His eyes are darker than wine, and teeth that are whiter than milk.”


Our eyes darken with emotion.  The same applies to the Messiah:


  • Isaiah 63:3 – “I have trodden the winepress alone— from the peoples, no man was with Me.  I trod them in My anger, and trampled them in My wrath…”


  • Revelation 19:12  – His eyes are like a flame of fire


Finally a Prophet also has something to say about us who aren’t Jewish:


  • Zecharaiah 9:7-8 –  I will remove the blood from his mouth, forbidden food from between his teeth.  Whoever is left will be a remnant for our God.  He will be like a leader in Judah, and Ekron will be like a Jebusite.  But I will camp around My House against marauding forces.  No oppressor will overrun them again— for now I watch with My own eyes.


White teeth also indicate health and strength, whilst HIS enemies will grind their teeth in pain.



Jacob’s blessing of Judah and the end time: 


  • Jacob prophesized that the Messiah will come from Judah.
  • Jacob’s prophecy does not portray the cute little baby Jesus which the world wants to celebrate at this time.
  • When Yeshua the Messiah returns:
    • HIS brothers will praise HIM: Israel will recognise their Messiah, all Israel will be saved.

“Baruch Ata Be’Shem Adonai” (Blessed is HIM who comes in the Name of the LORD)

  • HIS enemies will be destroyed, in fact they are aligning their necks for HIM now…
  • All will bow down and confess that HE is the SON of GOD


  • Yeshua is already known as the LION of Judah.
  • Yeshua’s Millennial Kingdom will be established and then made eternal.
  • Riding a donkey vs. Blood-stained garments.
    • Baby Jesus vs. The KING of kings, LORD of lords., the Mighty Conqueror, the Judge, the High Priest.
    • During HIS 1st coming HE was the Suffering Servant, the Messiah Ben Joseph, when HE returns HE will be the Conquering King, the Messiah Ben David.



What is in it for us? 


  • After the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, HE will return to take possession of what has always belonged to HIM, i.e. all the kingdoms of the earth.
  • Yeshua’s return will not be a pretty picture for those who remained behind.
    • It’s not a popcorn movie,
    • It’s not pie in the sky when you die
    • It does not fit into the “Baby Jesus, Happy Christmas, Jingle bells” culture of our day.
  • The scepter will not pass from HIM. Not ever.


  • Those who attended the wedding, will return to rule with HIM during the Millennium, here on earth. (See Revelation 5:10 & Revelation 20:4 & 6)
    • Sorry, not timeless/eternal idleness to aimlessly float on clouds
    • But great Festivals to attend in Jerusalem every year.
    • After 1,000 years and a short rebellion, HIS Kingdom will be eternal.



The conclusion of Jacob’s blessing of Judah: 

  • Jacob’s blessing of Judah is deeply Messianic in meaning.
  • The blessing is end-time focussed.


Chazak, Chazak, v”Nitchazek

Be strong, be strong.  Let us strengthen ourselves and others as well.