Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:…
I. IN HIS UNION WITH CHRIST, THE CHRISTIAN IS AS A "BOUGH."
1. Union with Christ.
2. Dependence upon Christ.
3. Sustentation from Christ.
II. IN THE RESULTS OF HIS UNION WITH CHRIST, THE CHRISTIAN IS AS A "FRUITFUL BOUGH."
1. Some united, but dead.
2. Some living, but fruitless.
III. IN THE SOURCE OF HIS FERTILITY, THE CHRISTIAN IS AS A "FRUITFUL BOUGH BY A WELL." As the bough drinks of the spring through the tree, so the Christian drinks of spiritual blessings through Christ.
IV. IN THE HIGHER ATTAINMENTS OF SPIRITUAL LIFE, THE CHRISTIAN IS AS A "FRUITFUL BOUGH BY A WELL WHOSE BRANCHES RUN OVER THE WALL."
1. Over the wall of sectarian prejudices.
2. Over the wall of unbelieving doubt.
3. Over the wall that separates the world from the Church, and blesses the dying, with fruit.
4. Over the wall that separates earth from heaven, and looks "within the veil."
(W. H. Burton.)
The blessing of Joseph — "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well." In these words we are reminded of our Lord's own statement (John 15:5), "I am the vine, ye are the branches." The Christian is only a bough of the Tree of Life. But he is to be a fruitful bough. "Herein is My Father glorified," said our blessed Lord, "that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples." And how is this fruitfulness produced? The passage shows us: "a fruitful bough by a well." The believer is to live near to Christ, the well of living waters, and to be drawing forth all his nourishment from Christ by the Holy Spirit. The roots of the tree draw forth the waters from the well, and send them up into all its branches. Thus the "bough" becomes beautiful and fruitful. And the well is hidden. The process goes on in secret, but, notwithstanding, it is an unceasing process. Mark, also, that the branches of this fruitful bough are said to "run over the wall." The believer's fruit must be seen — seen by all who pass by. Alas! only the foliage is too often seen l But the world looks beneath all. But now observe how the patriarch passes rapidly from the figure of a fruitful branch to that of a military warrior: "But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob." True faithfulness is ever linked with the cross, and also with warfare. "Fight the good fight of faith"; "put on the whole armour of God"; "quit you like men; be strong" — such are the expressions used to show us our true position in this world. There is an inseparable connection between life and faithfulness, between the cross and the warfare. But the "bow abiding in strength" points also to Christ. It tells us of the strong, unyielding position in which He would carry on His government (see Revelation 6:1, 2). And we see the "arms of the hands" of the true Joseph "made strong" — in the power of His exalted position at the right hand of the Father — "by the mighty God of Jacob." In beautiful keeping with this we see the "white horse" — always the emblem of victory — victory in holiness, purity, and truth. Let us now return to the rest of the passage: "from thence" — i.e., the mighty God — "is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel." We must read the passage correctly: " The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob, even from the Shepherd and Stone of Israel." Thus we find here that Joseph's hands were made strong for his work by the mighty God of Jacob, the Shepherd and Stone of Israel. He who is the mighty God is the great Shepherd of His sheep, and the great Foundation Stone of Israel. And now the blessings promised and to be prayed for are described: "blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under." They begin with heaven, and they take in the earth. This is ever God's order. The patriarch continues: "blessings of the breast and the womb." Jacob prays that his son may be blessed from heaven with rain and dew, and with fountains and brooks which spring from the great deep or abyss of the earth, so that everything that had womb and breast in the natural world should become pregnant, bring forth, and suckle. He then continues: "The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors, unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills." The blessings which Jacob implored for his son Joseph were to surpass the blessings which his parents had transmitted to him, as far as the great mountains towered above the earth. These blessings were to descend upon "the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the separated one from among his brethren." As we read these promises and prayers for blessing on Joseph, our thoughts are carried forward to the Lord Jesus Christ. Language seems to fail the old patriarch in his longings for blessings on his son; but as we see Jesus, "the separated One," we behold these desires fulfilled.
(F. Whitfield, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: