Genesis – Chapter 49: Jacob Blesses His Sons

The story of Jacob and Joseph continues.  We learned in Genesis 47 that Jacob died at the age of 147.  Genesis 48 focused on events before Jacob’s death and Genesis 49, based on the title, does the same thing.

“Then Jacob called for his sons and said: ‘Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.’” – Genesis 49:1

Something tells me that what is to come is not simply peace and love.  I’m guessing what is to come will involve a lot of evil, destruction, anger, and sadness.  Maybe I’ll be proved wrong, but I doubt it.

“Reuben…you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.” – Genesis 49:3-4

Sucks to be Reuben.  Of course, the ramblings of an old man should have no bearing on the future.  Reuben is free to be his own man and live his own life.  The Bible, naturally, would rather you not believe that.  The Bible wants you to live in fear of God.  Living your own life is somehow an evil thing to do.

“Simeon and Levi…I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.” – Genesis 49:5-7

Jacob doesn’t have the power to do this, but God does.  Simeon and Levi will be scattered across Israel because of God’s actions.  Not Jacob’s.  The all-loving God will do this.

Jacob has several good things to say about Judah.  Judah was the brother who was least willing to allow Joseph to be sold into slavery.  Judah, however, did not stop the slavery and as a result is still guilty.  Yet Judah gets praised.  We’ve seen this before in Genesis where someone who does evil gets praised by God.

“Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon.” – Genesis 49:13

This doesn’t sound bad.  From the Bible, Zebulun was just as involved in the slavery of Joseph as Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, yet Zebulun isn’t punished.  I won’t go on to all of the other brothers, but I will say that several were met with harm.  Remember that Jacob can’t do this harm himself.  Any harm that comes to the brothers is God turning Jacob’s wishes into reality.

Jacob dies and requests to be buried in the same place as Abraham and Isaac.

That does it for Genesis 49.  It’s one thing for Jacob to denounce his sons for what they did to Joseph.  If Jacob had a will, it would be perfectly acceptable from him to leave his sons out of the will.  Heck, Jacob can even wish ill upon his sons.  But Jacob can’t cause any of this to actually occur.  Only God can.  That’s the God of the Bible.  A God who favors some over others.  An all-loving God that has favorites.  Wow!

Coming Soon:  Genesis – Chapter 50:  The Aftermath of Jacob’s Death

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