Genesis 49 details the blessings and predictions that Jacob gives each of his sons. He tells them that they will become a great nation and that they will become the 12 tribes of Israel. His prophesies to his sons were not his own, but were shown to him by the Lord.
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Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, lost his inheritance because of his sin wherein he lay with his father’s mistress. Israel decreed that his tribe would be as unstable as water and would not be successful.
Both Levi and Simeon were hateful and unforgiving. Jacob sentenced them to be separated from each other in the promise land, for, together in their anger, they had killed a man.
To Judah, Jacob promised praise and dominion over the tribes of Israel. He compared him to a lion and foretold that the scepter would reside in his tribe until the time of Shiloh.
To Zebulun, Jacob gave the sea and all of its trade. He proclaimed that it would be a great port, with its border stretching as far as Zidon.
Jacob then prophesied that Issachar would be like a strong donkey crouched between two burdens and that he would become a servant to the other tribes of Israel.
Dan, Jacob foretold, would be a judge to the other tribes. He compared him to a snake on the path that would attack riders as they passed.
Jacob promised that the tribe of Gad would become warriors. He declared that, while they would be overtaken for a time, they would eventually overcome.
Jacob proclaimed that Asher would be rewarded with the best grain in all the land and become rich as a result of it. He promised that royalty would come of his lineage.
Naphtali, Jacob predicted, would be like a deer, using beautiful words.
To his oldest son by Rachel, Jacob promised a fruitful lineage. He promised that, while others would hate and try to destroy him, the tribe of Joseph would be made strong by the will of God.
Jacob compared his youngest son to a ravenous wolf, saying that he would devour his prey in the morning and then split the reward amongst the other tribes in the evening.
After giving each of his sons their blessings, Jacob tasked them with transporting his body to the burial place of his ancestors after his death. He told them that this place was in Canaan, in the field of Machpelah, on an area of land purchased from Ephron the Hittite. Following his instructions, Jacob laid down on his bed and died.
Genesis Chapter 49 (King James Version)
1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.
3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto 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 an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.
14 Issachar is a strong ass 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 unto 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 biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.
18 I have waited for thy 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 hind let loose: he giveth goodly 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 abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
26 The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
27 Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.
29 And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto 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 for a possession of a buryingplace.
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 therein was from the children of Heth.
33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.