Life-Study of Genesis, by Witness Lee

More excerpts from this title...


Let us now see the constituent, or the constitution, of a Hiram. We need to know the constitution of those who are builders, not of the building generally, but of the pillars specifically. Firstly, Hiram’s mother was "a woman of the daughters of Dan" (2 Chron. 2:14). No one can tell whether Dan here refers to the tribe of Dan or to the city of Dan. Nonetheless, it is certain that it refers to people from Dan, for the city of Dan was also of the people of the tribe of Dan. Hiram’s father was a Tyrian, a man of Tyre, a pagan country. Hence, Hiram’s mother was from the holy land and his father from a pagan country. As strange as it seems, the Bible further says that Hiram himself was of the tribe of Naphtali (1 Kings 7:14, Heb.). Therefore, his mother was of Dan, his father was of Tyre, and he himself was of Naphtali. How could he be of the tribe of Naphtali, since his mother was of Dan and his father of Tyre? The Bible does not tell us. It is a secret. In the light of the New Testament we may apprehend the significance of this secret. The New Testament unveils to us that we were born a sinful and worldly man. But we have been regenerated and transformed to be a man in resurrection. To be a man in resurrection by being regenerated and transformed is to be transferred into the tribe of "Naphtali" and to no longer be of "Dan" or of "Tyre."

Let us take the example of an elder who has been transformed. An elder should not be a gentleman, but a transformed man. Although a certain elder is the son of a woman from "Dan" and of a man from "Tyre," he must be transferred into a person from the tribe of "Naphtali." In the church life the tribe of "Naphtali" is the tribe of transformation. Once we are in the tribe of "Naphtali," we are no longer the same as our "Danite" mother and our "Tyrian" father. You may think it is too much to say that Naphtali may be interpreted as the tribe of transformation. But read on, and surely you will be convinced that this is so. Among the twelve tribes, only one tribe, the tribe of Naphtali, is the tribe of transformation. Judah is the tribe of kingship, Levi of priesthood, and Joseph of the double portion. Naphtali is the tribe of resurrection. To be in resurrection means to be in transformation.

The tribe of Dan is the tribe of idolatry that caused God’s people to stumble and fall from God’s way. Genesis 49:17 says, "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." According to Judges 18, this is exactly what the Danites did. They took Micah’s images which he had in his house and the priest whom Micah had hired to serve in his house. Judges 18:31 says, "They set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made." This was the greatest stumbling to the children of Israel; it was the biting of the adder that caused the rider to fall backward. Furthermore, Jeroboam, the king of the northern tribes, set up golden calves in Bethel and in Dan to cause the children of God to stumble (1 Kings 12:28-30). Due to this, in 1 Chronicles 2 through 9, where all the other tribes of Israel are mentioned in detail, there is no mention of Dan. In these chapters Dan is cut off from the record of God’s people. Moreover, in Revelation 7, where we have the sealing of the children of Israel, there is no mention of the tribe of Dan.

Let us consider further some details relating to the tribe of Dan. Genesis 49:17 says that Dan was "a serpent by the way, an adder in the path." Dan was an adder, a poisonous snake, biting the horse’s heels, "so that his rider shall fall backward." In the race of God’s economy, this adder bites the horse and causes the rider to fall backward. This word in 49:17 was not spoken by a slanderer; it was uttered by Jacob as part of his blessing of his sons. When it was time to bestow his blessing upon Dan, Jacob had to be faithful to God’s inspiration. Immediately after speaking the words recorded in 49:17, Jacob said, "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord." This means, "Lord, save me from this serpent, this adder." In 49:16 Jacob said, "Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel." Here, Jacob was praying that Dan might continue as a tribe. This indicated that he was in danger of being omitted. Hence, his father’s prayer was also a prediction. God heard this prayer. In the book of Ezekiel we see that in the coming millennium the tribe of Dan will be recovered (Ezek. 48:1).

These details concerning Dan indicate that to be a mother who is "a woman of the daughters of Dan" is to be a mother in sin. All our mothers are mothers in sin. In Psalm 51:5 David said, "In sin did my mother conceive me." The fact that Hiram’s mother was of Dan indicates that his origin, like ours, was of sin. Even the Apostle Paul said that he was the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). Spiritually speaking, in God’s eyes Paul’s mother was also a "daughter of Dan." We all must confess that our mothers are also those of "Dan." If you would become a builder of pillars, you must firstly admit that you are a person born in sin. We may seem to be nice, humble, kind, gentle, and pure; but because our mother is of "the daughters of Dan," our origin by birth is the origin of the serpent. In Matthew 23:33 the Lord Jesus addressed the religious ones as "serpents" and a "brood of vipers." If you were to say to me, "Brother Lee, you are no good; you are a generation of vipers," I would nod my head in agreement. In us, that is, in our flesh, nothing good dwells (Rom. 7:18). We all must recognize what our origin is. Our origin is that of a woman from the tribe of "Dan," the tribe of an adder biting the horse’s heels and causing the rider to fall backward from God’s economy.

(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 85, by Witness Lee)