Genesis 49:1-28

Jacob Blesses His Sons

1 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2 “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.
3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.
4 Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers— their swords[a] are weapons of violence.
6 Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.
8 “Judah,[b] your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[c]until he to whom it belongs[d] shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.[e]
13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon.
14 “Issachar is a rawboned[f] donkey lying down among the sheep pens.[g]
15 When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor.
16 “Dan[h] will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward.
18 “I look for your deliverance, LORD.
19 “Gad[i] will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them at their heels.
20 “Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21 “Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns.[j]
22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.[k]
23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed[l] limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty,[m] who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than[n] the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among[o] his brothers.
27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.”
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

Genesis 49:1 in Other Translations

KJV
1 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.
ESV
1 Then Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.
NLT
1 Then Jacob called together all his sons and said, “Gather around me, and I will tell you what will happen to each of you in the days to come.
MSG
1 Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather around. I want to tell you what you can expect in the days to come."
CSB
1 Then Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather around, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the days to come.

Genesis 49:1-28 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 49

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.

Genesis 49:1-28 In-Context

1 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2 “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.
3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.
4 Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers— their swords are weapons of violence.
6 Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.
8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.
13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon.
14 “Issachar is a rawboned donkey lying down among the sheep pens.
15 When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor.
16 “Dan will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward.
18 “I look for your deliverance, LORD.
19 “Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them at their heels.
20 “Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21 “Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns.
22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.
23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.”
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.
29 Then he gave them these instructions: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30 the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite.
31 There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah.
32 The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites. ”

Cross References 77

  • 1. Numbers 24:14; Deuteronomy 31:29; Jeremiah 23:20; Daniel 2:28,45
  • 2. Joshua 24:1
  • 3. ver 16,28; Psalms 34:11
  • 4. S Genesis 29:32; S Genesis 41:51
  • 5. Deuteronomy 21:17; Psalms 78:51; Psalms 105:36
  • 6. S Genesis 34:19
  • 7. Isaiah 57:20; Jeremiah 49:23
  • 8. S Genesis 29:29; S Genesis 34:5; Genesis 35:22; Deuteronomy 27:20
  • 9. S Genesis 29:33
  • 10. Genesis 29:34
  • 11. S Genesis 34:25; S Proverbs 4:17
  • 12. Psalms 1:1; Proverbs 1:15; Ephesians 5:11
  • 13. S Genesis 34:26
  • 14. Joshua 11:6,9; 2 Samuel 8:4; 1 Chronicles 18:4
  • 15. Genesis 34:7
  • 16. Genesis 34:25
  • 17. Joshua 19:1,9; Joshua 21:1-42
  • 18. S Genesis 29:35
  • 19. Deuteronomy 28:48
  • 20. S Genesis 9:25; Deuteronomy 33:7; 1 Chronicles 5:2
  • 21. Numbers 24:9; Psalms 7:2; Psalms 10:9; Ezekiel 19:5; Micah 5:8
  • 22. Ezekiel 19:2
  • 23. Revelation 5:5
  • 24. ver 27; Numbers 23:24; Job 38:39; Psalms 17:12; Psalms 22:13; Psalms 104:21
  • 25. Numbers 24:17,19; Judges 1:1-2; Judges 20:18; 1 Chronicles 5:2; 1 Chronicles 28:4; Psalms 60:7; Psalms 108:8
  • 26. Ezekiel 21:27
  • 27. Psalms 2:9; Psalms 72:8-11; Psalms 98:3; Psalms 110:2; Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 26:18; Isaiah 42:1,4; Isaiah 45:22; Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 51:5
  • 28. Judges 5:10; Judges 10:4; Zechariah 9:9
  • 29. Deuteronomy 8:8; 2 Kings 18:32
  • 30. Deuteronomy 32:14; Isaiah 63:2
  • 31. Song of Songs 5:12
  • 32. S Genesis 30:20; Deuteronomy 33:18-19; Joshua 19:10-11
  • 33. S Genesis 10:19
  • 34. S Genesis 30:18
  • 35. Judges 5:16; Psalms 68:13
  • 36. Joshua 19:17-23
  • 37. Ezekiel 29:18
  • 38. 1 Kings 4:6; 1 Kings 5:13; 1 Kings 9:21; Isaiah 14:2; Isaiah 31:8
  • 39. Genesis 30:6; Deuteronomy 33:22; Judges 18:26-27
  • 40. S ver 2
  • 41. Judges 18:27
  • 42. Jeremiah 8:17; Amos 9:3
  • 43. ver 19
  • 44. S Genesis 45:7; Psalms 40:1-3
  • 45. Psalms 119:166,174
  • 46. S Genesis 30:11; Deuteronomy 33:20; 1 Chronicles 5:18
  • 47. ver 17
  • 48. S Genesis 30:13; Deuteronomy 33:24
  • 49. Isaiah 25:6
  • 50. Job 29:6
  • 51. S Genesis 30:8; Deuteronomy 33:23
  • 52. Job 39:1
  • 53. Genesis 30:24; Deuteronomy 33:13-17
  • 54. S Genesis 17:6; Psalms 128:3; Ezekiel 19:10
  • 55. Psalms 80:10
  • 56. 1 Chronicles 10:3
  • 57. S Genesis 27:41; S Genesis 37:24
  • 58. Job 29:20
  • 59. Psalms 18:34; Isaiah 63:12
  • 60. Psalms 132:2,5; Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 10:34; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 49:26; Isaiah 60:16
  • 61. S Genesis 48:15
  • 62. Dt 32:4,15,18,31; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:32; Psalms 18:2,31; Psalms 19:14; Psalms 78:35; Psalms 89:26; Psalms 144:1; Isaiah 17:10; Isaiah 26:4; Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 30:29; Isaiah 44:8; Habakkuk 1:12
  • 63. S Genesis 28:13
  • 64. Exodus 18:4; Psalms 27:9
  • 65. S Genesis 17:1
  • 66. S Genesis 27:28
  • 67. Isaiah 66:11
  • 68. Deuteronomy 7:13; Deuteronomy 28:4; Psalms 107:38; Proverbs 10:22
  • 69. Habakkuk 3:6
  • 70. 1 Chronicles 5:1; Ezekiel 47:13
  • 71. S Genesis 37:8; Deuteronomy 33:15-16
  • 72. Genesis 35:18; Judges 20:12-13
  • 73. Habakkuk 1:8; Zephaniah 3:3
  • 74. S ver 9
  • 75. Numbers 31:11; Deuteronomy 2:35; Joshua 7:21; Joshua 8:2; Joshua 22:8; Jdg Joshua 8:24
  • 76. S ver 2
  • 77. S Genesis 27:4

Footnotes 15

  • [a]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  • [b]. "Judah" sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for "praise."
  • [c]. Or "from his descendants"
  • [d]. Or "to whom tribute belongs" ; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  • [e]. Or "will be dull from wine," / "his teeth white from milk"
  • [f]. Or "strong"
  • [g]. Or "the campfires" ; or "the saddlebags"
  • [h]. "Dan" here means "he provides justice."
  • [i]. "Gad" sounds like the Hebrew for "attack" and also for "band of raiders."
  • [j]. Or "free;" / "he utters beautiful words"
  • [k]. Or "Joseph is a wild colt," / "a wild colt near a spring," / "a wild donkey on a terraced hill"
  • [l]. Or "archers will attack … will shoot … will remain … will stay"
  • [m]. Hebrew "Shaddai"
  • [n]. Or "of my progenitors," / "as great as"
  • [o]. Or "of the one separated from"
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