Jacobs Last Words With Family

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Inheritance

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).

Application

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)

""Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse's heels so that his rider falls backward. I wait for your salvation, O LORD. "Raiders shall raid Gad, but he shall raid at their heels. "Asher's food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies. "Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns. "Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall. The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, 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), 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. 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. "Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey and at evening dividing the spoil."

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