12 sons of Jacob which he blesses before he dies, Genesis 49:1-28

Jacob blesses his twelve sons just before he dies.

His sons were:

      1 Reuben the name means: see, a son – mother Leah.
      2 Simeon the name means: one who hears – mother Leah.
      3 Levi the name means: attached – mother Leah.
      4 Judah the name means: praise – mother Leah.
      5 Issachar the name means: for reward – mother Leah.
      6 Zebulun the name means: honor – mother Leah.
      7 Gad the name means: a troop is coming – mother Zilpah Leah’s maid.
      8 Asher the name means: happy – mother Zilpah Leah’s maid.
      9 Joseph the name means: may he add – mother Rachel. Joseph’s two sons that Jacob adopted as his were – Manasseh the name means: causing to forget and Ephraim the name means: Double fruitfulness.
      10 Benjamin the name means: son of my right hand – mother Rachel.
      11 Dan the name means: he has vindicated – mother Bilhah Rachel’s maid.
      12 Naphtali the name means: my struggle – mother Bilhah Rachel’s maid.

Background Reading:

Jacob Final Blessings of His 12 Sons

49:1 After this, Jacob called his sons together and told them, “Assemble yourselves around me so I can tell you all what is going to happen to you in the last days.

2 “Gather together and listen,

you children of Jacob.

Listen to your father Israel.”

On the Future of Reuben

3 “Reuben, you’re my firstborn,

my strength,

and the first fruit of my vitality.

You excel in rank

and excel in power.

4 But you’re as undisciplined as a roaring river,

so eventually you won’t succeed,

because you got in your father’s bed,

defiled it, and then approached my couch.”

On the Future of Simeon and Levi

5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers;

their swords are violent weapons.

6 I’ll never join their council;

I’ll never enter their assembly.

In their anger they committed murder

and lamed cattle just for fun.

7 Their anger is cursed,

because it is so fierce,

as is their vehemence,

because it is so cruel.

I will separate them throughout Jacob’s territory

and disperse them throughout Israel.”

On the Future of Judah

8 “Your brothers will praise you, Judah.

Your hand will be at the throat of your enemies,

and your father’s children will bow down to you.

9 Judah is a lion cub.

My son, you have gone up from the prey.

Crouching like a lion,

he lies down,

Like a lioness,

who would dare rouse him?

10 The scepter will never depart from Judah,

nor a ruler’s staff from between his feet,

until the One comes, who owns them both,

and to him will belong the allegiance of nations.

11 Binding his donkey to the vine

and his mare’s foal to its thick tendrils,

he will wash his garments in wine

and his robe in the juice of grapes.

12 His eyes are darker than wine

and his teeth whiter than milk.”

On the Future of Zebulun

13 “Zebulun will settle down near the sea shore

and become a safe haven for shipping,

bordering Sidon.”

On the Future of Issachar

14 “Issachar is a strong donkey,

resting between sheepfolds.

15 He observed that his resting place was excellent,

and that the land was pleasant;

he bent down,

picked up his burdens,

and became a slave at forced labor.”

On the Future of Dan

16 “Dan will judge his people

as one of Israel’s tribes.

17 Dan will be a snake on the path,

a viper on the road

that snaps at the heels of horses,

causing their riders to fall off.

18 “LORD, I’m waiting for your salvation.”

On the Future of Gad

19 “Bandits will raid Gad,

but Gad will raid them back.”

On the Future of Asher

20 “Asher’s food will be delicious;

he will be a provider of delicacies fit for royalty.”

On the Future of Naphtali

21 “Naphtali is a free running deer

who produces eloquent literature.”

On the Future of Joseph

22 “Joseph is descended from a fruitful vine,

a fruitful vine planted near springs of water.

His branches climb over walls.

23 Even though enemies attacked him,

shooting at him

and pursuing him viciously,

24 nevertheless his bow remained steady

and his arms kept in shape

by the strength of Jacob’s Mighty One,

in the name of the Shepherd,

Israel’s Rock,

25 by your father’s God

who helps you,

by the Almighty

who will keep on blessing you

with blessings from heaven above,

with blessings from the deepest ocean,

with blessing from the breasts and the womb.

26 Your father’s blessings will prove to be stronger

than blessings from the eternal mountains

or bounties from the everlasting hills.

May they come to rest on Joseph’s head,

May they be set upon the brow of the one

who was separated from his own brothers.”

On the Future of Benjamin

27 “Benjamin is vicious like a wolf;

what he kills in the morning

he devours in the evening.”

28 That’s how Israel blessed these twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father told them when he pronounced his blessing for them, blessing each one with a blessing suitable for them.
Genesis 49:1-28


Other modules in this unit: