Genesis 49:2-27

2 "Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob, listen to Israel your father.
3 "Reuben, you are 1my firstborn, my might, and the 2firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you 3went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it--he went up to my couch!
5 4"Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons 5of violence are their swords.
6 Let my soul come not into their council; 6O my glory, 7be not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they 8hamstrung oxen.
7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will 9divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.
8 "Judah, 10your brothers shall praise you; 11your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; 12your father's sons shall bow down before you.
9 Judah is 13a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. 14He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10 The 15scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff 16from between his feet, until tribute comes to him;[a] and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His 17eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.
13 18"Zebulun shall dwell at the 19shore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon.
14 20"Issachar is a strong donkey, crouching between the sheepfolds.[b]
15 He saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant, so he bowed his shoulder to bear, and 21became a servant at forced labor.
16 22"Dan shall 23judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan 24shall be a serpent in the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse's heels so that his rider falls backward.
18 I 25wait for your salvation, O LORD.
19 26"Raiders shall raid 27Gad,[c] but he shall raid at their heels.
20 28"Asher's food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies.
21 29"Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns.[d]
22 "Joseph is 30a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall.[e]
23 The archers 31bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24 yet 32his bow remained unmoved; his arms[f] were made agile by the hands of the 33Mighty One of Jacob (from there is 34the Shepherd,[g]35the Stone of Israel),
25 36by the God of your father who will help you, by 37the Almighty[h]38who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, up to the bounties 39of the everlasting hills.[i] May they be 40on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
27 41"Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey and at evening 42dividing the spoil."

Genesis 49:2-27 Meaning and Commentary


This chapter contains a prophecy of future things, relating to the twelve sons of Jacob, and to the twelve tribes, as descending from them, and which he delivered to his sons on his death bed, having called them together for that purpose, Ge 49:1,2, he begins with Reuben his firstborn, whose incest he takes notice of, on which account he should not excel, Ge 49:3,4, next Simeon and Levi have a curse denounced on them for their cruelty at Shechem, Ge 49:5,6, but Judah is praised, and good things prophesied of him; and particularly that Shiloh, or the Messiah, should spring from him, the time of whose coming is pointed at, Ge 49:7-12, the predictions concerning Zebulun, Issachar, and Dan, follow, at the close of which Jacob expresses his longing expectation of God's salvation, Ge 49:13-18 and after foretelling what should befall Gad, Asher, and Naphtali, Ge 49:19-21, a large account is given of Joseph, his troubles, his trials, and his blessings, Ge 49:22-26, and Benjamin the youngest son is taken notice of last of all, all the tribes being blessed in their order according to the nature of their blessing, Ge 49:27,28, and the chapter is closed with a charge of Jacob's to his sons to bury him in Canaan, which having delivered, he died, Ge 49:29-33.

Cross References 42

  • 1. Genesis 29:32
  • 2. Deuteronomy 21:17
  • 3. Genesis 35:22; 1 Chronicles 5:1
  • 4. Genesis 29:33, 34
  • 5. Genesis 34:25, 26
  • 6. [Psalms 16:9; Psalms 57:8]
  • 7. [Psalms 26:9]
  • 8. Joshua 11:6, 9; 2 Samuel 8:4
  • 9. See Numbers 3:5-13; Joshua 19:1-9; 1 Chronicles 4:24-39
  • 10. Genesis 29:35; [Genesis 27:29]
  • 11. [Job 16:12]
  • 12. 1 Chronicles 5:2
  • 13. Revelation 5:5; [Deuteronomy 33:22; Hosea 5:14]
  • 14. [Numbers 23:24; Numbers 24:9]
  • 15. Numbers 24:17; Zechariah 10:11
  • 16. Deuteronomy 28:57
  • 17. Proverbs 23:29
  • 18. [Deuteronomy 33:18, 19]; Joshua 19:10, 11
  • 19. [Deuteronomy 1:7; Joshua 9:1; Judges 5:17]
  • 20. Judges 5:16; [1 Chronicles 12:32]
  • 21. Joshua 16:10
  • 22. [Deuteronomy 33:22]
  • 23. Genesis 30:6
  • 24. Judges 18:27
  • 25. Psalms 25:5; Psalms 119:166, 174; Isaiah 25:9; Micah 7:7; [Luke 2:25]
  • 26. [Deuteronomy 33:20]
  • 27. See 1 Chronicles 5:18-22
  • 28. [Deuteronomy 33:24]
  • 29. [Deuteronomy 33:23]
  • 30. Genesis 41:52; Joshua 17:14, 18
  • 31. [Genesis 37:24, 28; Genesis 39:20]
  • 32. Job 29:20
  • 33. Psalms 132:2, 5; Isaiah 1:24
  • 34. Psalms 23:1; Psalms 80:1
  • 35. Isaiah 28:16; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:4; [Deuteronomy 32:4]
  • 36. Genesis 35:3; Genesis 50:17
  • 37. Genesis 17:1; Genesis 35:11
  • 38. Deuteronomy 33:13
  • 39. Deuteronomy 33:15; Habakkuk 3:6
  • 40. Deuteronomy 33:16
  • 41. [Judges 20:21, 25; Ezekiel 22:27]
  • 42. Zechariah 14:1; [Ezekiel 39:10]

Footnotes 9

  • [a]. By a slight revocalization; a slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Targum) until he comes to whom it belongs; Hebrew until Shiloh comes, or until he comes to Shiloh
  • [b]. Or between its saddlebags
  • [c]. Gad sounds like the Hebrew for raiders and raid
  • [d]. Or he gives beautiful words, or that bears fawns of the fold
  • [e]. Or Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey beside a spring, his wild colts beside the wall
  • [f]. Hebrew the arms of his hands
  • [g]. Or by the name of the Shepherd
  • [h]. Hebrew Shaddai
  • [i]. A slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint) the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.