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Genesis 49:4 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Boiling over as water, thou shalt not have the pre-eminence; Because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; Then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou [it]: he went up to my couch.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— “Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled [it]—he went up to my couch.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou [it]; he went up to my couch.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Impetuous as the waters, thou shalt have no pre-eminence; Because thou wentest up to thy father's couch: Then defiledst thou [it]: he went up to my bed.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Boiling over like water, thou mayest not have preeminence, Because thou didst mount the bed of thy father,—Then, wast thou profane—My marriage-bed, he mounted!
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Unstable as water, thou art not abundant; For thou hast gone up thy father's bed; Then thou hast polluted: My couch he went up!
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Thou art poured out as water, grow thou not; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed, and didst defile his couch.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Unstable as water, thou shalt not excell, because thou wentest vp to thy fathers bed: then defiledst thou [it]. He went vp to my couche.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Thou wast insolent like water, burst not forth with violence, for thou wentest up to the bed of thy father; then thou defiledst the couch, whereupon thou wentest up.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou [it]: he went up to my couch.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Unstable 6349
{6349} Prime
פַּחַז
pachaz
{pakh'-az}
From H6348; ebullition, that is, froth (figuratively lust).
as water, 4325
{4325} Prime
מַיִם
mayim
{mah'-yim}
Dual of a primitive noun (but used in a singular sense); water; figuratively juice; by euphemism urine, semen.
thou shalt not x408
(0408) Complement
אַל
'al
{al}
A negative particle (akin to H3808); not (the qualified negation, used as a deprecative); once (Job 24:25) as a noun, nothing.
excel; 3498
{3498} Prime
יָתַר
yathar
{yaw-thar'}
A primitive root; to jut over or exceed; by implication to excel; (intransitively) to remain or be left; causatively to leave, cause to abound, preserve.
z8686
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
because x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
thou wentest up 5927
{5927} Prime
עָלָה
`alah
{aw-law'}
A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively.
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
to thy father's 1
{0001} Prime
אָב
'ab
{awb}
A primitive word; father in a literal and immediate, or figurative and remote application.
bed; 4904
{4904} Prime
מִשְׁכָּב
mishkab
{mish-kawb'}
From H7901; a bed (figuratively a bier); abstractly sleep; by euphemism carnal intercourse.
then x227
(0227) Complement
אָז
'az
{awz}
A demonstrative adverb; at that time or place; also as a conjugation, therefore.
defiledst x2490
(2490) Complement
חָלַל
chalal
{khaw-lal'}
A primitive root (compare H2470); properly to bore, that is, (by implication) to wound, to dissolve; figuratively to profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one's word), to begin (as if by an opening-wedge); denominatively (from H2485) to play (the flute).
thou y2490
[2490] Standard
חָלַל
chalal
{khaw-lal'}
A primitive root (compare H2470); properly to bore, that is, (by implication) to wound, to dissolve; figuratively to profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one's word), to begin (as if by an opening-wedge); denominatively (from H2485) to play (the flute).
z8765
<8765> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 2121
[it]: he went up 5927
{5927} Prime
עָלָה
`alah
{aw-law'}
A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively.
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
to my couch. 3326
{3326} Prime
יָצוּעַ
yatsuwa`
{yaw-tsoo'-ah}
Passive participle of H3331; spread, that is, a bed; (architecturally) an extension, that is, wing or lean to (a single story or collection).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

See commentary on Genesis 49:3-4.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on Genesis 49:1-4.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Genesis 49:4

Thou shalt not excel — A being thou shalt have as a tribe, but not an excellency. No judge, prophet, or prince, are found of that tribe, nor any person of renown only Dathan and Abiram, who were noted for their impious rebellion. That tribe, as not aiming to excel, chose a settlement on the other side Jordan. The character fastened upon Reuben, for which he is laid under this mark of infamy, is, that he was unstable as water. His virtue was unstable, he had not the government of himself, and his own appetites. His honour consequently was unstable, it vanished into smoke, and became as water spilt upon the ground. Jacob charges him particularly with the sin for which he was disgraced, thou wentest up to thy father's bed — It was forty years ago that he had been guilty of this sin, yet now it is remembered against him. Reuben's sin left an indelible mark of infamy upon his family; a wound not to be healed without a scar.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Unstable:

James 1:6-8 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. ... A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.
2 Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
2 Peter 3:16 As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

thou shalt not excel:
Heb. do not thou excel,
Genesis 46:8 And these [are] the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn.
Numbers 32:1-42 Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place [was] a place for cattle; ... And Nobah went and took Kenath, and the villages thereof, and called it Nobah, after his own name.
Deuteronomy 33:6 Let Reuben live, and not die; and let [not] his men be few.

because:

Genesis 35:22 And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard [it]. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:
Deuteronomy 5:21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any [thing] that [is] thy neighbour's.
Deuteronomy 27:20 Cursed [be] he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.
1 Chronicles 5:1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he [was] the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.
1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly [that there is] fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

he went up to my couch:
or, my couch is gone
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Gn 35:22; 46:8. Nu 32:1. Dt 5:21; 27:20; 33:6. 1Ch 5:1. 1Co 5:1. Jm 1:6. 2P 2:14; 3:16.

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