Jacob’s Final Blessings on His Family

Genesis Chapters 48-49:28
I. Observation • Who are the main characters? What do we know about them? • Jacob/Israel: • • Joseph:


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When do the events of this passage take place? • The events of this passage occur at the very end of Jacob’s life (Gen. 49:33). We know from Gen. 47:28 that Jacob lived 147 years and Gen. 47:9 tells us that Jacob was 130 years old when he appeared before Pharaoh after arriving in Egypt. Thus, the events of this passage occur roughly 17 years after Jacob and his people moved to Egypt. Where do the events of this passage take place? • These events take place in Egypt. What is happening? (Summary of Events) • Joseph receives word that his father, Jacob is ill, so he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim and went to him. (Gen. 48:1-2) • After recounting the promise God made to him in Luz, Jacob declares his adoption of Joseph’s sons as his own and begins to bless them and Joseph. (Gen. 48:3-12) • As Jacob blesses Joseph, he crosses his arms and blesses his sons in reverse birth order, Ephraim, the younger, over Manasseh, the older. (Gen. 48:13-14) • As he is being blessed, Joseph notices what his father was doing and tries to correct him, thinking it was a mistake, but Jacob refuses and predicts that Ephraim, the younger brother would indeed be greater than his brother Manasseh. (Gen. 48:15-20) • Jacob calls for all his sons and blesses each in their own appropriate ways (Gen. 49:1-27) o Reuben: although the firstborn, he was stripped of his birthright because of his sin in sleeping with his father’s wife, Bilhah, in Gen. 35:22. (Gen: 49:3-4) o Simeon & Levi: their slaughtering of Shechem (Gen. 34:30) was repaid in the scattering of their descendants and no inheritance of their own. (Gen: 49:5-7) o Judah: the most elaborate blessing next to Joseph’s, Judah’s future would hold conquest and respect. It is from this line that Christ’s human ancestry is traced, as well as King David’s. (v. 8-12) o Zebulun: would live by the sea, near Sidon (v. 13) o Issachar: his future would include forced labor but pleasant land (v. 14-15) o Dan: his blessing focuses on justice; Samson, a judge, is a Danite (Ryrie) (v. 16-18) o Gad: his future appears to hold conflict (v. 19) o Asher: a rich, wealthy was promised to Asher (v. 20) o Naphtali: the allusions to a doe may mean grace and fruitful offspring (v. 21) o Joseph: the most eloquent of the blessing, Jacob begins by recounting Joseph’s past, his perseverance in trials, and ultimate rise to power. Jacob promises the great blessings he has had in life would pass to Joseph, prince of his brothers (v. 22-26) o Benjamin: his blessing indicates that he would be like a ravenous wolf, devouring and plundering his prey. King Saul was of this line (v. 27)

II. Interpretation • What principles are illustrated in this passage? What is the main theme?

How is God involved in this passage? When/How is God mentioned and by whom?

How to Jacob’s blessings of Judah and Joseph point to Christ and how are they different?

III. Application • This passage of scripture is about blessings, which were taken very seriously by their recipients. It meant the difference between prosperity and lack, success and want, greatness and loss. In the same way, we ought to take our blessing of adoption through Christ as seriously and realize that it brings with it the greatest inheritance of all: eternal life. Who will you share this blessing with?

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