Jacob blesses his Twelve sons before he dies

Israel Prepares to die after living 17 years in Egypt (from age 130 to age 147), and meets sons 13 and 14.


The blessings/prophecies:
  1. Reuben, Genesis 49:4 - Turbulent (unstable) as waters: (undependable: sometimes it runs, sometimes it's like a dry wadi in Summer). "You will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father's bed, onto my couch and defiled it."
  2. Simeon, Genesis 49:5 - Simeon and Levi are tied together in this pronouncement where Jacob skips over them because they had slaughtered the men of Shechem while they were defenseless. (Also, early Hebrew tradition holds Simeon responsible as the ringleader for selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites). Later, when Joshua handed out the land, the tribe of Simeon didn't get their own parcel in Canaan. And as Moses is blessing the tribes before they go into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 33), Simeon is not even mentioned.
  3. Levi. Moses and his brother Aaron, three years older than Moses (Exodus 7:7), were from the tribe of Levi. Aaron was chosen by God in Exodus 28:1 to be the priest, along with sons Eleazar and Ithamar. In the Priestly line that followed:
  4. Judah, Genesis 49:8-12 - Inherited the ultimate leadership of the family, (but not the rights of the firstborn). David, Solomon, and Jesus were in Judah's lineage. Under the kings in Judan's line, Israel blossomed. Some kings were not from the line of Judah. Under those reigns, things messed up.
  5. Zebulun, Genesis 49:13 - (actually the tenth son of Jacob) means "going forth". Eleven of Jesus' twelve disciples came from the Tribe of Zebulun. (The only one who didn't was Judas). Matthew 4:12 fulfills Isaiah 9:1,2: "In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan -- The people walking in darkness have seen a great light ..." This is where Jesus began His ministry.
  6. Issachar, Genesis 49:14-15 - (actually the ninth-born) means "donkey". A donkey is a good thing, but this one is lazy, not carrying the load. And his laziness would lead to servitude.
  7. Dan, Genesis 49:16,17 - (actually the fifth-born) is described here as a serpent by the roadside, striking the heel. This harks back again to Genesis 3, where Satan is told he will "strike the heel" of the woman's seed. Dan introduced idolatry into the nation Israel, Judges 18. In subsequent listing of the tribes, in 1 Chronicles 1, Numbers 26, and Revelation 7, Dan doesn't even exist. In Numbers 10:25, Joshua 19 and 1 Chronicles 27, Dan is mentioned last. But in Ezekiel's prophecy in Ezekiel 48, Dan survives the Tribulation and is listed first! Dan's land contains current Tel Aviv.
  8. Gad, Genesis 49:19 - (actually the seventh-born) means "troop cometh"; "...attacked by a band of raiders..." in verse 19. Gad was in the first wave that went into captivity, 1 Chronicles 5?26; and Gad will be captured in the end times, according to Jeremiah 49:1.
  9. Asher, Genesis 49:20 - (actually son number eight) means "happy". "Asher's food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king."
  10. Naphtali, Genesis 49:21 - (actually son number six) "Fight, struggle" was the territory west of the Sea of Galilee, north to Mount Hermon. Naphtali is mentioned along with Zebulun in the Matthew 4 passage as fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy of Messiah's coming.
  11. Joseph, Genesis 40:22-26 - Jacob's favorite son, and Jacob has a lot to say. (Notice that Jacob's present-tense statements are in reference to Joseph, while his future-tense statements refer to his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.)
  12. Benjamin, Genesis 49:27 - Jacob's remaining son -- his favorite while Jacob thought Joseph was dead. "Ravenous wolf", an agressive fighter, followed true in his descendants King Saul who pursued David relentlessly, and in another Saul, the Saul of the New Testament who relentlessly pursued Christians to the death, until Jesus met him on the road to Damascus and changed his name to Paul, commissioning him the Apostle to the Gentiles, a calling he pursued with equal zeal.
Jacob's deathbed wishes:
So what about the hidden messages in the names of Jacob's sons?
For the original listing, top, what do you think of this rendering?

I have heard your affliction joined with praise. My Troop is coming and judgment will prevail. You will dwell in happy service with the Son of my Right Hand.

Now, as Jacob blesses his sons, he names them in a different order, possibly with a different message. Could it be:

The unstable will hear and will unite in praise, dwelling in the service of the Son of my Right Hand when He comes with His mighty hosts to judge in joyous victory.