3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.
3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
3 Reuben, you're my firstborn, my strength, first proof of my manhood, at the top in honor and at the top in power,
3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, My might and the beginning of my strength, The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.
3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength, the child of my vigorous youth. You are first in rank and first in power.
Matthew Henry's Commentary on Genesis 49:3
Commentary on Genesis 49:3-7
(Read Genesis 49:3-7)
Reuben was the first-born; but by gross sin, he forfeited the birthright. The character of Reuben is, that he was unstable as water. Men do not thrive, because they do not fix. Reuben's sin left a lasting infamy upon his family. Let us never do evil, then we need not fear being told of it. Simeon and Levi were passionate and revengeful. The murder of the Shechemites is a proof of this. Jacob protested against that barbarous act. Our soul is our honour; by its powers we are distinguished from, and raised above, the beasts that perish. We ought, from our hearts, to abhor all bloody and mischievous men. Cursed be their anger. Jacob does not curse their persons, but their lusts. I will divide them. The sentence as it respects Levi was turned into a blessing. This tribe performed an acceptable service in their zeal against the worshippers of the golden calf, Exodus 32. Being set apart to God as priests, they were in that character scattered through the nation of Israel.