“The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.” (Genesis 49:26)
It is amazing to think, given all of the hardships he had to endure, that Jacob considered the blessings he had received as far surpassing that given to his grandfather and father. In turn, because of and in spite of all the hardships Joseph had endured, Jacob designated him as the heir of these blessings to be worn as a crown upon his head. It would be evident to all that, by virtue of blessings that rained upon him from above and the blessings that grew up from below, Joseph was the one to enjoy the benefits of being set apart
This notion that Joseph was crowned by blessing is hinted at further when Jacob mentioned that he was “separate” from his brethren. At first glance it might seem as if he was referring to Joseph being separated from his brothers but that is not what he said. To be precise, Jacob said he was separate from them — there is a difference.
The Hebrew root term translated as “separate” is nazir which is also the word used for a Nazarite –- someone who has taken a vow to be set apart and consecrated to God’s service. The hair of the Nazir is considered to be a visible sign of his consecration and was considered his “crown.” In fact, the word used for the hair of a Nazirite is the same word used to describe the crown of High Priest. The point is is that Joseph was not separated from his brothers but “set apart” from his brother for a special purpose — one that we see clearly in the story of Joseph.
Why is this important to us? The word nazir also used to refer to an “unpruned vine” (Leviticus 25:5), in other words, one that grows wild, it’s “hair” unshorn as it were. This picture alludes to the idea of a “wild branch” that has been set apart for God’s purposes. My point is to demonstrate the connection the Body of Messiah has with Joseph and how we — though regarded as separate from Israel — have a significant role to play in the restoration of Israel. The blessings bestowed upon us because of our relationship with the Messiah will factor heavily in the mission to “provoke to jealousy” those who are of the natural branch. This is the blessing that Jacob bestowed upon those who are “separate from his brothers.” May we be faithful to the responsibility that goes with these blessings and may we remain committed to the purpose our Father has for us today.
Blessings and Shalom,