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Book Of Genesis – Lesson #27

Lesson 27:  Genesis 47-49 

Read  Genesis 47:1-12

When five of Joseph’s brothers told Pharaoh that they were shepherds, he responded, as expected, by telling them to settle in the lush pasturelands ofGoshen. He also asked Joseph to find some competent men from among his relatives to tend the royal herds.

Joseph arranged for his father, then one hundred and thirty, to be presented to Pharaoh. The fact that Jacob blessed Pharaoh means that this aged, obscure Jew was greater than the potentate of Egypt, because the lesser is blessed by the greater (Heb. 7:7). Jacob said that his days had been few and evil. Actually he had brought most of the evil upon himself! Joseph settled his family in the best part ofEgypt, and provided all they needed. Theirs was truly the more abundant life.

Read Genesis 47:13-26

Now we see a fascinating glimpse into how a country can be changed from a “private property” economy to a “feudal” economy.  When the people ofEgyptandCanaanhad spent all their money for food, Joseph accepted their livestock in payment. Then later he bought all the land, except that belonging to the Egyptian priests, gave the people seed with which to plant crops, and charged them one-fifth of the crop for land rental.  Thus, everyone gave up their privately held property and became “share-croppers” to the “State”.  Pharaoh became the de-facto owner of everything, and the people became serfs; living, working, and even eating at the will of the government.  Sound familiar?

Read Genesis 47:27-31

AsIsraelneared the end of his life, he made Joseph promise to bury him inCanaan. Then he bowed himself on the head of his bed (or “on the top of his staff,” Heb. 11:21). Actually the same Hebrew consonants can be read either “bed” or “staff,” depending on which vowels are supplied.   And thus the ex-supplanter was to end his life in an act of worship. He is the only hero of faith of Hebrews 11 to be commended as a worshiper. He had come a long way by the grace of God, and would soon go out in a blaze of glory.

Read Genesis 48:1-7

When Joseph was told that his father was sick, he hurried to his bedside with Ephraim and Manasseh. The dying patriarch sat up on the bed and adopted his two grandsons as his own. By doing this he arranged that the tribe of Joseph would receive a double portion of thelandofCanaanwhen it would be divided among the tribes years later. Joseph thus received the birthright as far as territory was concerned. Any offspring born to Joseph after them would be Joseph’s, not Jacob’s, and would dwell in the territories allotted to Ephraim or Manasseh. Verse 7 explains why Jacob wanted to adopt Joseph’s sons as his own. They were his grandsons by his beloved wife, Rachel, who he felt had died so prematurely.


Read Genesis 48:8-22

Then Jacob blessed the grandsons, giving the birthright to Ephraim, who was the younger. Joseph tried to correct this in favor of Manasseh, the firstborn, but Jacob said that he had done this intentionally. What memories must have gone through his mind as he, by faith, gave the blessing to the younger. Years earlier his own father had unknowingly blessed him, the younger. But now he was blessing the younger, not through ignorance, but because he was in touch with the God who holds the future.Israelhad faith that his descendants would one day return to the Promised Land. Jacob gave Joseph a mountain slope which he captured from the Amorites. Perhaps this refers to the area containing the well that came to be known as “Jacob’s well” (John 4:5).

Read Genesis 49:1-27

Jacob’s last words were both a prophecy (v. 1) and a blessing (v. 28).

Reuben, as the firstborn son, represented the primacy of his father’s manly strength in procreation, and held the place of power and dignity. The birthright, with its double portion, belonged to him. But he forfeited his preeminence because he boiled over with dark passion and sinned with Bilhah, his father’s concubine (35:22).

Because these brothers had cruelly killed the men of Shechem and hamstrung an ox, Simeon and Levi would be dispersed in Jacob and scattered inIsrael. By the time of the second census (Num. 26), these were the two smallest tribes. This was also fulfilled when the tribe of Simeon was largely absorbed by Judah (Josh. 19:1–9), and the tribe of Levi was assigned to 48 cities throughout the land. Jacob cursed their cruel deception but not the people of these two tribes themselves.

Judah (meaning praise) would be praised and respected by his brothers because of his victories over his enemies. He is likened to a lion that goes forth to capture prey, then returns to well-deserved rest that no one dares disturb. Just as Joseph inherited the birthright with regard to territory, soJudah inherited it with regard to government. Rulership would continue in this tribe tillShiloh (the Messiah) came, and in Him it would remain forever. His people would give Him willing obedience in the day of His power. The meaning of the name “Shiloh” is obscure. Some suggested meanings are: Prince of peace, tranquil, seed (ofJudah), his descendant, whose it is (cf. Ezek. 21:27).

Zebulun would enjoy prosperity from maritime commerce. Since this tribe’s territory in Old Testament  times was landlocked, this prophecy may look forward to the Millennium.

Issachar is likened to a strong donkey, so content to rest in pleasant pastoral surroundings that it had no will to fight for independence and so became subject to the enemy’s yoke.

Dan, true to the tribe’s name, would concern itself with judging the people. Verse 17 is difficult. It may allude to Dan’s introducing the idolatry which caused the nation’s fall (Judg. 18:30, 31). Many think that it is a veiled reference to the Antichrist’s springing from Dan, and that this is why this tribe goes unmentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:3; 8:40 and Revelation 7:3-8. In verse 18, Jacob injects a prayer for the final deliverance of his people from their foes.

Gad, unprotected in its territory east of theJordan, would be subjected to frequent enemy raids. But the tribe would trample the troops of its foes.

Happily for Asher (happy), this tribe would have fertile agricultural land, producing delicacies fit for a king.

Naphtali is likened to a doe that has been released from confinement. It springs forth with tremendous speed to carry good news. All the disciples except the traitor came from theterritory ofNaphtali, and much of the Lord’s ministry was there (Mark 4:13–16).

Compassing the territories of Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph is a fruitful bough, sending out blessing far beyond his own borders. He was the object of bitter hostility but he did not yield, because he was strengthened by the Mighty God of Jacob—the One from whom the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel (that is, the Messiah) comes forth. God blesses Joseph with rain in abundance, wells and gushing springs, and numerous progeny. Jacob humbly felt that he had been blessed more richly than his ancestors. Now he wishes that such blessings might come to Joseph, the one who was separate from his brothers.

Benjamin, a tribe of fighters, would continually conquer and divide the spoil. It has been said that Benjamin proved himself the most spirited and warlike of all the tribes.

Read Genesis 49:28-33

In closing, Jacob instructed his sons to bury him in the cave … of Machpelah, near his home inHebron—the burial place of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Leah. Then he drew himself back into the bed and breathed his last.