Genesis 49

It is a great blessing to attend upon Godly parents in their last hours that we might learn how to die as well as live,
and profit by their reproofs, counsels, and comforts.
Though they cannot prophecy, they can tell us from God’s Word what will befall us in the last day if we do not do the will of the Father.

And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

¶ Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

¶ Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.

O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

¶ Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

13 ¶ Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.

14 ¶ Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:

15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.

16 ¶ Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.

17 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.

18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.

19 ¶ Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

20 ¶ Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.

21 ¶ Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.

22 ¶ Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:

23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:

24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:

26 The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

27 ¶ Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

28 ¶ All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.

29 And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,

30 In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.

31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.

32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.

33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

Genesis 49:1-13 – Jacob Foretells the Future of His Sons

Once more Joseph visited his father’s dying-bed. This was the third time and the last. He stood as one of twelve strong bearded men, gathered around the aged form, whose face was shadowed by death, but aglow with the light of prophecy. How intense their silent awe as they heard their names called one by one, by the old man’s trembling voice, speaking with difficulty! The character of each was delineated with unerring insight: the outstanding incidents of their past history enumerated and their future forecasted. The scene was an anticipation of the final judgment, where men shall hear their lives reviewed and the sentence passed. Shiloh means Peace-Giver. What a fragrant name for our Lord! What wonder that He shall gather the nations to His cross and throne! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Genesis 49:10 – Until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.

   Old experience is said to attain to something of prophetic strain; but there is more than old experience here. From these aged lips the Holy Ghost is speaking.
   The mission and work of Jesus are designated.—He is Shiloh—the Maker, Giver, and Bringer of Peace. The troubled conscience, smitten with conviction, finds peace when He reveals his all-sufficient sacrifice and atonement. The discordant elements within us settle into a great calm when He enters to reign, bringing every thought into captivity to his rule. Nor is his work for individuals only; it is for man, for the world, the universe. Peace was made at his cross; it is proclaimed by his Spirit; and it will be consummated when God is All in all.
   The time of his advent predicted.—Not till the Romans came and annexed Palestine as one of the provinces of the empire, did the semblance of the Hebrew monarchy expire. And it was then that the Shiloh came. Surely these words must often have been quoted by the pious Jews, with whom Simeon and Anna consorted, as pointing to the near advent of the Messiah. Let us be wise to discern the symptoms of his second advent.
   The inevitableness of his dominion.—Ah, Savior, it is predicted that all peoples shall obey Thee; and we know well that it is only through obedience that men can enter into thy peace. Teach us to obey, to do all thy commands, to bear all thy burdens, to wait before Thee. That thus we may know the peace that passeth all understanding.
   Ponder this well, O my soul; the Peace-giver must be obeyed. Only so can He give thee peace that floweth as a river. —Our Daily Homily

Genesis 49:13-27 – Joseph Specially Blessed

The position of Zebulun and the following tribes in the land of promise is accurately foretold. Compare the allotments of Joshua 18. Notice the exclamation of the dying man in Genesis 49:18. Such a spirit of waiting cannot be disappointed. See Isaiah 26:8, 9. Joseph’s blessing is pre-eminently beautiful: Fruitful! This is mentioned twice, reminding us of John 15:8. But fruitfulness is only possible where there is the wall for separation, and the well for communion. When these are present, the branches droop over the wall with clusters of blessings to a thirsty world. Let us seek divine strength and ask that the mighty hands of the God of Jacob may be placed under our own poor weak hands! See Psalm 141:1. The separated life is the crowned life. To the heart of the dying man came the memory of his native land and its mountains. What mountains are to a country, God is to His people! —Through the Bible Day by Day

The old legend tells us that Ulysses, returning home after long years, proved his identity by bending a bow which had defied the efforts of the stoutest heroes who had tried it in his absence. There are a good many of these defiant bows lying all around us. Tasks that deride our puny efforts; empty churches that will not fill; wicked neighborhoods that will not yield; hardened soils that will not admit the plough-share to cut into their crust. The one thing of which we need to assure ourselves is – whether it be God’s will for us to take them in hand: if not, it is useless to attempt the task; we may as well husband and reserve our strength. But if it is made clear to us that we are to take up armor, methods, instrumentalities, once wielded by giant hands, but now as unbefitting these poorer times as the armor of the age of chivalry mocks at the smaller make of modern warriors – let us not hesitate for a single moment, let us assume the armor of defence and the weapons of attack; and, as we do so, we shall become aware of a strength being infused into us – not ours, but His: “the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” (F.B. Meyer)

Genesis 49:28 – 50:3 – Jacob’s Last Directions and Death

Jacob gave a final charge as to his burial in Machpelah—that his dust at least should be there to welcome his children and children’s children, when they came thither in due course, as God had promised. Then the weary pilgrim gathered up those tired feet, which had paced out their last mile, into the bed, and gave up his spirit to God. When we are told that he was gathered to his people it must mean more than that his dust mingled with their dust in the place of burial. There are great gatherings of loving friends awaiting us on the other side. See Hebrews 11:40. At the ladder-scene in Bethel, God had told him that He would not leave him till He had done what He promised, and surely not one good thing had failed. Life may be hard and sad, but God will end it rightly. Be of good cheer and trust! —Through the Bible Day by Day