Bible study 49 – Genesis 49

Jacob gives a speech before he dies, where he mentions each of his twelve sons.

Reuben is scolded for sleeping with Jacob’s concubine (chapter 35).

Simeon and Levi and scolded for slaughtering an entire city (chapter 34).

Judah is told that he will become a king and leader.

Joseph is strongly praised, and assured that he has his father’s blessing.

The rest of the brothers get various strange descriptions, such as “Issachar is a strong donkey”, “Gad shall be raided by raiders”, and “Asher’s food shall be rich”.

You may have noticed that Judah has been this kind of sub-hero throughout this story. Joseph is the obvious heir to Jacob; the story focuses on him, and he gets his father’s blessing in the end. But Judah got his own chapter (chapter 38), he took a leader role among the brothers several times, and now he is told by his father that he will be king. According to the notes in my book, this focus on Judah is likely a later addition to the story, in order to make sense of the fact that the Tribe of Judah is going to rule Israel in the future. I guess we’ll come back to that later.

Jacob dies at 147 years of age.

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One Comment on “Bible study 49 – Genesis 49”

  1. […] right before he dies, where he oddly refers to himself in the third person. It is very similar to Jacob’s poem on his own deathbed at the end of Genesis, in that it describes each of Jacob’s children (each of […]


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