“The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob.” (Genesis 49:23-24)
The Hebrew word translated as “archers” is literally translated as “Masters of piercing” thus hinting at arrows. The archers are those who attempt to pierce a person in an effort to inflict pain and even death. So in speaking of what would befall Joseph in the last days, Jacob also made mention of things that had already happened to him. The archers he referred to most likely alluded to what his brothers had done to him. They had hated him and flung bitter words toward him and had, indeed, pierced his heart with acts of betrayal. It might be that he was also alluding to the false accusations and harsh words hurled against him by Potiphar’s wife. Consider what David had to say about actions such as these.
“Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation; preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, who sharpen their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows—bitter words, that they may shoot in secret at the blameless; suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.” (Psalm 64:1-4)
Notice that David likened “bitter words” to arrows and those who speak such things against others as those proficient with the bow, in other words, archers. Thus we are to understand that one of the things the righteous will have to endure is the “bitter words” spoken against us by our adversaries. There will be threats and baseless accusations borne out of their contempt for what God is doing in our lives. We should not expect anything less considering that the Messiah had to endure this kind of suffering, and more, on our behalf. In fact, He was most literally pierced.
Most assuredly, the Body of Messiah will the target for attacks and the arrows of the enemy. Nevertheless, when we take the shield of faith, we can quench the fiery darts of the enemy (Ephesians 6:16). Like Joseph, we who are committed to serve the Almighty can emerge from these attacks stronger because the “Mighty One of Jacob” is with us. So take heart and do not despair when the enemy comes against us; our God will preserve us and will vindicate us in the sight of our enemies.
Blessings and Shalom,