וְאֶעֶשְׂךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וַאֲבָרֶכְךָ וַאֲגַדְּלָה שְׁמֶךָ וֶהְיֵה בְּרָכָה 12:2
Gene. 12:2 and I will make you into a great nation and bless you and magnify your name, and it shall be a blessing,
וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרְכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה 12:3
Gene. 12:3 and I will bless whoever blesses you. But I will curse whoever curses you; yet all the families of the earth shall be blessed because of you.”
In these two verses, v. 12:2 and v. 12:3, God is saying that Abram’s name will be a blessing (to the world). The vav prefixes before the three imperfect verbs, ^f.[,a,w>, ^k.r,b'a]w:, hl'D>g:a]w:, in v. 12:2 and the one, hk'r]b'a]w:, in v. 12:3, are non-inverting, the first instances of such vavs. If you recall (mainly from the About Hebrew page), it is my claim that almost all of the vavs prefixing first person imperfect verbs are non-inverting, and there is only one other kind of non-inverting vavs in the bible (except for the verses written in Aramaic and some verses in Deuteronomy). They are the vavs prefixing verbs that are consequences of previous verbs. [Return to Gene. 26:3]
I find the prophecy contained here to be cryptic. Can all the families of the earth be blessed because of Abram, while those who curse him are cursed? At first glance a straightforward explanation appears difficult to come by. However, I suspect the prophecy relating to blessing and cursing Abram relates to him only, while the blessing coming through him to all the families of the earth is for his subsequent generations. In other words, Abram is protected by the Lord for his lifetime, but his seed (through him) will provide blessing to all the families of the earth.
Another interpretation stems from my belief that Abram is prototypical of the first major era of Judaism. The Jews have certainly become a blessing to all nations in introducing one God and ethics to humanity. And history indicates that every nation that has cursed the Jews (even up to the Nazis) has experienced its own destruction. As for the blessing of those who bless the Jews, we can only surmise that the blessing relates to individuals and nations who treat the Jews well.
Now Christians believe that the blessing refers to Jesus. However, I have to doubt this belief, since it doesn’t include those of eastern religions, and God says “… all the families of the earth….” The Christian answer, of course, is wait till the “second coming.” To this I say where in the Jewish bible is a second coming mentioned? According to the Jewish prophecies about the Messiah, no second coming is necessary.