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Genesis 49:16-17

Context

49:16 Dan 1  will judge 2  his people

as one of the tribes of Israel.

49:17 May Dan be a snake beside the road,

a viper by the path,

that bites the heels of the horse

so that its rider falls backward. 3 

1 sn The name Dan (דָּן, dan) means “judge” and forms a wordplay with the following verb.

2 tn Or “govern.”

3 sn The comparison of the tribe of Dan to a venomous serpent is meant to say that Dan, though small, would be potent, gaining victory through its skill and shrewdness. Jewish commentators have linked the image in part with Samson. That link at least illustrates the point: Though a minority tribe, Dan would gain the upper hand over others.



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