The Running of the Bull

"Joseph has the majesty of a young bull; he has the horns of a wild ox.  He will gore distant nations, even to the ends of the earth. This is my blessing for the multitudes of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh.” Deuteronomy 33:17

Lately I've been pondering and wondering why God created bulls.  They're quite stubborn and strong, easily goring someone to death, and barely even noticing when they do it.  

In the Old Testament, it seems bulls were used for sacrificing an awful lot.  This is understandable considering the whole stubborn/goring thing, but that's probably not the reason they were sacrificed.  They represent power, strength, virility and prosperity.  It is fitting that God would want the firstfruits of these things. 

But, it puzzled me that Moses would bless the tribes of Joseph, comparing them to a young bull in the passage above.  He says that they will gore distant nations, even to the ends of the earth!  That's a pretty expansive victory.  When we read Deuteronomy 33:17 in the Interlinear Bible, we find this:

"His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh."

The Hebrew seems to refer to Joseph's son, Ephraim, the younger brother of Manasseh, being raised to firstborn status by his grandfather, Jacob.  This blessing proved true and was accomplished in the life of Joshua, a direct descendant of Ephraim, who conquered many nations to take the land of Canaan for the Jewish people.

I can be a bull sometimes.  That is intimidating and threatening to some people, but this passage of Scripture reminds me that bulls have their place, and that with God's guidance, the bull's horns can be used to accomplish great things for Him.  We should never apologize for this.

As we continue to run life's race, may we always remember that others' acceptance or rejection of us is no indication of God's--for it is in His image we are fearfully and wonderfully made, bull horns and all.

Goodnight, Runners.


Anonymous said…
Great article.