Genesis 49 – Jacob Blesses his Sons
Jacob’s death is really being prolonged.
Jacob calls his sons to him to explain what will come to be and bless them.
Reuben – Firstborn, mighty, dignity, power, but also unstable and will not excel because of his affair with Bilhah.
Simeon/Levi – brothers of cruelty
Judah – his brothers will bow to him and praise him, a lion among prey, king among the people until Shiloh comes. Jacob explains him as the ruler and lawgiver with the scepter and also the details about his clothing being dyed purple. A strange detail about his eyes being red with wine but I think it was less about the color of his eyes and more about being wealthy enough to have lots of wine; something like ‘I’ve drank so much my eyes are swimming’.
Zebulun – will live by the sea bordering Zidon.
Issachar – strong and stubborn. And something I don’t understand in v.15
Dan – the judge
Gad – will be overtaken but will come back
Asher – will be rich with bread and will yield ‘royal dainties’
Naphtali – a smooth talker
Joseph – fruitful, hated by the archers because of his skill and strength, blessed of the air, the sea, the breast, and children.
Benjamin – will share his spoils.
These are described as the twelve tribes of Israel. The sons of Jacob whose descendants would populate the country of Israel. Along with the blessings he gave them he tells them to bury him in the cave with Leah and Isaac/Rebekah and Abraham/Sarah.
These blessings weren’t very good. A blessing should be used to make people better, to increase the good in the world. He just told his sons about the future and some of them weren’t something to look forward to, except for his favorites Jacob and Benjamin of course.
Immediately after having this conversation with his sons he died.