The First Book of Moses, Called Genesis

Chapter 49

Jacob calls his sons to bless them, 1, 2. Their blessing in particular, 3-28. He charges them about his burial, 29-32. He dies, 33.

1 And Jacob called to his sons and said, "Assemble yourselves so that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

"Assemble yourselves and hear, sons of Jacob,/
and listen to Israel your father.

"Reuben, you are my first-born,/
my might, and the beginning of my strength,/
the excellence of dignity, and the excellence of power.

Unstable as water, you shall not excel,/
because you went up to your father's bed./
Then you defiled it—he went up to my couch.

"Simeon and Levi are brothers./
Instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.

O my soul, do not come into their secret./
To their assembly, my honor, do not be united,/
for in their anger they slew a man/
and in their self-will they dug down a wall.

Cursed is their anger, for it was fierce,/
and their wrath, for it was cruel./
I will divide them in Jacob/
and scatter them in Israel.

"Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise./
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies./
Your father's children shall bow down before you.

Judah is a lion's whelp./
From the prey, my son, you have gone up./
He stooped down, he couched as a lion,/
and as an old lion. Who shall rouse him up?

10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,/
nor a lawgiver from between his feet/
until Shiloh comes./
And to him shall be the gathering of the people.

11 Binding his foal to the vine/
and his donkey's colt to the choice vine,/
he washed his garments in wine/
and his clothes in the blood of grapes.

12 His eyes shall be red with wine/
and his teeth white with milk.

13 "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea,/
and he shall be for a haven of ships./
And his border shall be to Zidon.

14 "Issachar is a strong donkey,/
couching down between two burdens.

15 And he saw that rest was good,/
and the land that it was pleasant,/
and bowed his shoulder to bear/
and became a servant to tribute.

16 "Dan shall judge his people,/
as one of the tribes of Israel.

17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way,/
an adder in the path,/
that bites the horse-heels/
so that his rider shall fall backward.

18 I have waited for your salvation, O LORD.

19 "Gad, a troop shall overcome him,/
but he shall overcome at the last.

20 "Out of Asher his bread shall be fat,/
and he shall yield royal dainties.

21 "Naphtali is a doe let loose,/
who gives delightful words.

22 "Joseph is a fruitful bough,/
even a fruitful bough by a well,/
whose branches run over the wall.

23 The archers have sorely grieved him,/
and shot at him and hated him,

24 But his bow remained in strength,/
and the arms of his hands were made strong/
by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob/
(from there is the shepherd, the stone of Israel),

25 Even by the God of your father who shall help you,/
and by the Almighty who shall bless you/
with blessings of heaven above,/
blessings of the deep that lies beneath,/
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

26 The blessings of your father/
have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors/
to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills./
They shall be on the head of Joseph,/
and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.

27 "Benjamin is a ravenous wolf./
In the morning he shall devour the prey/
and at night he shall divide the plunder."

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. And this is that which their father spoke to them and blessed them. Each according to his blessing he blessed them. 29 And he charged them and said to them, "I am to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burying-place. 31 (There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah.) 32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that is in it was from the children of Heth." 33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and expired, and was gathered to his people.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Genesis, Chapter 49[➚]


[v.10a] - This is a prophecy of the Messiah. Initially, this is a reference to David, as the scepter is a symbol of kingship and David is of the house of Judah. In 1st Samuel 16:1 God tells Samuel that He will choose a king from among the sons of Jesse—which son would be David (1st Samuel 16:12-13). God ordained that the throne of David would be established forever through David's lineage (2nd Samuel 7:12-16). Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the eternal King (Revelation 5:5).

[v.10b] - LXX: "A ruler shall not fail from Juda, nor a prince from his loins, until there come the things stored up for him; and he is the expectation of nations."