(Gen 49:1 NASB) Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what shall befall you in the days to come.
Gen 49:1: The term “days to come” is also translated “the last days” and is an interesting one. It refers to a time in the future when Elohim’s announced purposes for a particular group, a particular nation, or the world, were about to be consummated. The writer of Hebrews says that the last days were also the time of the arrival of the Messiah Yeshua (Heb. 1:1-2).
Most often, it refers to Israel’s final rebellion against Elohim (Deut. 31:29) accompanied by a time of great trouble (Deut. 4:30, Ezek. 38:16), followed by the return of Yeshua (Hosea 3:5).
(Gen 49:2 NASB) “Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob; And listen to Israel your father.
(Gen 49:3 NASB) “Reuben, you are my first-born; My might and the beginning of my strength, Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
(Gen 49:4 NASB) “Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it– he went up to my couch.
Gen 49:4: Jacob has taken away the birthright of Reuben and given it to the sons of Joseph. Does he have that right (Deut. 21:15-17)? If, as we have postulated up to this time, that Torah was already given to Elohim’s people, then could Israel have done this? It would appear so because the very next passages say that a rebellious son is to be stoned (Deut. 21:18-21).
Reuben should consider himself lucky because his rebellion was greater than being a drunk and a glutton (Gen. 35:22). Israel did not bring this shameful act to the governing authorities for action. He dealt with it by taking away Reuben’s birthright and blessing.
(Gen 49:5 NASB) “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Their swords are implements of violence.
(Gen 49:6 NASB) “Let my soul not enter into their council; Let not my glory be united with their assembly; Because in their anger they slew men, And in their self-will they lamed oxen.
(Gen 49:7 NASB) “Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob, And scatter them in Israel.
Gen 49:7: Simeon and Levi were the culprits behind the attack of the city of Shechem as described in Gen. 34 (Gen. 34:25-26). They are described by Jacob as “instruments of cruelty.” Simeon never received any prominence as a tribe. In the first census, they were numbered at 59,300. In the census just before entering into the promised land, they were reduced to 22,200. Neither in the Blessing of Moses in Deut. 33, nor in the Song of Deborah (Judges 5), is the tribe even mentioned. This is why the list of the tribes are different in different places of Scripture.
Levi was still cursed and they were scattered throughout Israel as the priests of the people. They were given the blessing of priests because of their faithfulness in the wilderness (Ex. 32:26-28).
(Gen 49:8 NASB) “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
Gen 49:8: The blessing was not given to the three eldest of the sons because of the reasons given. So the blessing is going to fall upon the fourth in line, Judah.
Jacob says that his brothers shall praise him (Psalm 76:1). His hand shall be on the neck of his enemies (Psalm 78:68-71, Isaiah 9:7, Heb. 10:12-13). And your father’s children shall bow down before you (2 Sam. 5:3, Phil. 2:9-11).
(Gen 49:9 NASB) “Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
Gen 49:9: Judah is called a lion. He will have a Son that rises to take possession of the whole earth (Rev. 5:5).
(Gen 49:10 NASB) “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Gen 49:10: The scepter shall not depart from Judah. When David was made king, no man from any other tribe was to be king. Some translations says that Judah will be “a lawgiver,” instead “ruler’s staff.” Judah will be the lawgiver (Psalm 60:7).
This passage describes Judah as the king, the lawgiver, and the judge (Isa. 33:22).
“Until Shiloh comes…” This is an unmistakable reference to Messiah (Isa. 9:6, 11:1-5, Jer. 23:5-6, Matt. 21:9). Why was the term the “Son of David” so important? Because that is the designation for the Messiah (2 Sam. 7:11-14).
(Gen 49:11 NASB) “He ties his foal to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; He washes his garments in wine, And his robes in the blood of grapes.
Gen 49:11: What does it mean that Judah’s Descendant will wash His clothes in the blood of grapes? He is coming in judgment (Isa. 63:1-3, Rev. 14:18-20).
(Gen 49:12 NASB) “His eyes are dull from wine, And his teeth white from milk.
Gen 49:12: His eyes being dull from wine speaks of His sorrow in His judgment (Prov. 23:29). His teeth being white seems to speak of His judgment.
(Gen 49:13 NASB) “Zebulun shall dwell at the seashore; And he shall be a haven for ships, And his flank shall be toward Sidon.
Gen 49:13: Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea, but his borders were inland (Deut. 33:18-19).
(Gen 49:14 NASB) “Issachar is a strong donkey, Lying down between the sheepfolds.
(Gen 49:15 NASB) “When he saw that a resting place was good And that the land was pleasant, He bowed his shoulder to bear burdens, And became a slave at forced labor.
Gen 49:15: Issachar is chided here. If one studies the time of Joshua and Judges, it appears that Israel has a tough time dislodging many of the Canaanites. Issachar may have had a part in this by having a passive attitude toward their hostile neighbors and would rather work with them as a servant rather than overtake them as commanded. This tribe is not even mentioned in the inventory of tribes in Judges 1.
(Gen 49:16 NASB) “Dan shall judge his people, As one of the tribes of Israel.
(Gen 49:17 NASB) “Dan shall be a serpent in the way, A horned snake in the path, That bites the horse’s heels, So that his rider falls backward.
(Gen 49:18 NASB) “For Thy salvation I wait, O LORD.
Gen 49:18: Dan shall judge his people. Probably the most famous of the Judges was Sampson, a Danite.
(Gen 49:19 NASB) “As for Gad, raiders shall raid him, But he shall raid at their heels.
Gen 49:19: There is not any particular historic event that can be penned here. However, this is a good description of the demon possessed man of the Gadarenes who was possessed by a legion of demons in Mark 5. After Yeshua drove his demons out, he wanted to travel with Him. But Yeshua told him to go back to his people and tell them what He had done for him. He was obedient and told others and many people marveled.
(Gen 49:20 NASB) “As for Asher, his food shall be rich, And he shall yield royal dainties.
Gen 49:20: The territory of Asher was famous for its olives and olive oil (Deut. 33:24-25).
(Gen 49:21 NASB) “Naphtali is a doe let loose, He gives beautiful words.
Gen 49:21: This was probably fulfilled when Yeshua started His ministry (Matt. 4:13-16).
(Gen 49:22 NASB) “Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall.
(Gen 49:23 NASB) “The archers bitterly attacked him, And shot at him and harassed him;
(Gen 49:24 NASB) But his bow remained firm, And his arms were agile, From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
Gen 49:24: The term “Joseph” is a reference to the sons of Joseph which are Manassah and Ephraim. Jacob compares him to a fruitful bough by a well with his branches running over the wall.
It is difficult to ascertain exactly what is meant by archers who have shot at him and hated him. It is likely a reference either to his brothers and their treatment of him in the past or it could be a prophetic statement concerning the Muslims.
Jacob says that Joseph remained strong. This does fit well with the life of Joseph. But if this is prophetic, it still could be referring to Israel today.
The reference to the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel is obviously pointing to Elohim Himself.
(Gen 49:25 NASB) From the God of your father who helps you, And by the Almighty who blesses you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
(Gen 49:26 NASB) “The blessings of your father Have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; May they be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.
Gen 49:26: Jacob blesses Joseph with blessings of the deep and of the offspring. Jacob says that he was blessed even greater than his fathers. He extends those blessings onto the head of Joseph.
He tells Joseph that he is distinguished above his brothers.
(Gen 49:27 NASB) “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he devours the prey, And in the evening he divides the spoil.”
Gen 49:27: This seems to be a contrast to the meek and mild son that Jacob did not want out of his sight earlier in his life.
There are several instances in the books of Judges, Samuel, and Chronicles where Benjaminites were fierce warriors. Two of David’s mighty men were from the tribe of Benjamin. These things seem to be targeted here by Israel.
(Gen 49:28 NASB) All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him.
Gen 49:28: Jacob ended his life with the blessing of his children. It was a unifying gesture and one that showed the power of Elohim in his life.
(Gen 49:29 NASB) Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
(Gen 49:30 NASB) in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site.
Gen 49:30: Jacob told his sons to bury him in the place that his fathers are buried. But when he told Joseph this when they were alone, he made Joseph promise to follow through (Gen. 47:29-31). But he did not urge his other sons to make this promise. The reason being is the only Joseph had the power and authority to fulfill that promise. Plus he was the one that Israel trusted.
(Gen 49:31 NASB) “There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah–
(Gen 49:32 NASB) the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of Heth.”
(Gen 49:33 NASB) When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.
Gen 49:33: Jacob was apparently sitting on the side of his bed. He drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last.
I find the term “and was gathered to his people” to be an interesting one. It is not pointing toward his soul going up to heaven so he can now be with Abraham and Isaac. Rather, it is a reference of the fulfillment of his last wish which was to be buried in the land given to him by Elohim and where is buried Abraham and Isaac. If this verse is read in context with the other verses, it is clear that it is a reference to his burial. We are given greater detail in the next and last chapter of Genesis.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2015 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas