Jacobs Last Words With Family

Harvard College was founded in 1638 with a special view to training pastors. Up till 1700 more than half of its graduates went into the ministry. But by 1869, spiritual Harvard lay on its deathbed. Yale, from its 1701 beginning, was more conservative. Its president addressed stud … More


Jacob continues to give his last words to his sons as they gather around his bed. The next in line  is Dan (verses 16-18) who was a son of Bilhah the maid of Rachel. As Jacob gazed at Dan he saw coming out of his tribe the mightiest of all the judges from which Samson was to come. However, it would be Dan that would first introduce idolatry into Israel. The next in line is Gad (v. 19) who was the first son of Leah’s maid. Gad was to choose his  inheritance on the far side of Jordan where they would be under constant attack from warlike, nomadic tribes. However, they would be able to take a beating and still triumph. Asher (v. 20) was another of the bondwomen’s sons. Asher’s inheritance was that fertile strip that ran along the foot of Mount Carmel and up the Mediterranean coast.

Naphtali (v. 21) also a son of the bondwoman had apparently been a wild  and ungovernable young man before he was regenerated with the help of Joseph. His tribe settled as a free mountain people northwest of the Sea of Galilee. Then Jacob’s eye fell on Joseph  (vv. 22-26). Words seemed to fail him in seeking to describe all the blessings he could see in Joseph. Joseph is pictured as “a fruitful bough; by a well; whose  branches run over the wall” (v. 22). Even though there is no refer­ence to a tribe of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh are given a prominent portion in the inheritance. Benjamin whose mother Rachel died when he was born, was simply described as a warrior tribe (v. 27). The warlike nature of this small tribe became well known because of their archers and singers (I Chron. 8:40) and in their brazen defense of their wickedness in Gibeah (Judg. 19-20). Both Saul’s in the Bible were from this tribe; the first king of Israel (I Sam. 9:1, 2) and the Apostle Paul (Phil. 3:5).


As Jacob’s sons stood before him they were in a sense standing before the judgment seat. One day I will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is my desire that my heavenly Father will be able to say concerning my life? “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” and not wasted time?

Genesis 49:16-27 (English Standard Version)

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