Saturday, April 30, 2011

Genesis 49: Jacob's Blessing: Overview

After speaking with Joseph and adopting Joseph's two sons as his own, it is time for Jacob to summon the rest of his sons so that he may give them his final blessing and instructions.  The entire chapter is taken up with these two aspects.  I have been looking forward to getting to this point, because it is fascinating to me to study in greater detail the message Jacob gives to each of his sons.

First of all, Jacob is given a prophetic message for his sons, and for the tribes which would come from them in the future.  This is part of the fascination that this chapter holds for me -- that God would reveal to Jacob things which he could not possibly know on his own.  In itself, this is another evidence of the reliability of the Bible/Torah.

Secondly, it is good to see that Jacob has a word for each of his sons.  Although Joseph and Benjamin have been favorites of his because of the fact that their mother was his favorite wife, Rachel, Jacob here takes the time to speak individually with each of his sons:

"Then Jacob called for his sons and said, 'Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.  Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.' "  (Genesis 49:1-2 NIV)

It may be noted that the blessing (v.2-27) is the longest poem in the book of Genesis, according to the NIV Study Bible.

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