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Genesis 49 English Standard Version (ESV)

Jacob Blesses His Sons

Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.

“Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel your father.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence,
because you went up to your father’s bed;
then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.

22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough,
a fruitful bough by a spring;
his branches run over the wall.
23 The archers bitterly attacked him,
shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24 yet his bow remained unmoved;
his arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25 by the God of your father who will help you,
by the Almighty who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents,
up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.
May they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey
and at evening dividing the spoil.”

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him.



Read this passage slowly.  If possible, read the whole chapter once.

Jacob, enabled by God, looks ahead and in his blessing makes oft-obscure predictions about the future of each family group, based in part on the character each of his sons (v28).

What is more important to us, however, is a phrase found in the blessing given Joseph. The phrase is, “by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you, … The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, …” (vv25-26).

The deep faith in God that Joseph displayed blessed his sons, and remained a vital influence even on distant generations. If we want to be a blessing to our children’s children, there is no surer way than for us to live as close to God as Joseph did. When we are faithful and obedient, our “blessings are greater”.

What blessings have you received from your parents?  What has that impacted you?

How is the interaction you have with your children or someone very close to you?  Does that show that you are passing blessing or curse to them?

Ask God to help you be a blessing transmitter.  Is there anyone you can bless?  How could you bless him/her today?