Explore the Bible Series
May 25, 2008
Background Passage: Genesis 48:1-50:26
Lesson Passage: Genesis 48:3-6; 49:8-10; 50:15-21
Six months ago we began a survey of the majestic, panoramic Book of Genesis. In the ensuing weeks our study has taken us from the primordial mysteries of creation, to the genesis of the human race, the fall of man, the great flood of Noahís generation, and the divine redemptive plan as traced through the family of Abraham. Among all the books of† the Scriptures, no portion has a more grand scope than Genesis.† Above all, God reveals himself here, in clear and unmistakable ways.† We have observed:
I. Jacobís Blessings on his Sons (48:1-49:27)
A. Ephraim and Manasseh (48:1-22)
1. Jacobís rehearsal of Godís covenant (48:1-4 and 7): Jacob intended to tie future generations to their divine inheritance, the Abrahamic Covenant; thus, he recounted Godís kind dealings with him.
2. Jacobís ďadoptionĒ of Josephís sons (48:6): Reuben was Jacobís eldest son, but he had sacrificed his favored position by defiling his fatherís bed (See 35:22). Simeon, of course, drew his fatherís disfavor by his cruel revenge against Shechem.† Ephraim and Manasseh, in a sense, took the positions of honor normally reserved for older sons.
3. the pronouncement of the blessing (48: 8-22): In a tender scene, Joseph brought his sons to the knees of the aged, infirmed Jacob.† The old man crossed his hand and placed the hand of blessing (the right hand) on Josephís younger son, Ephraim. Joseph tried to correct his father, but Jacob insisted on giving the superior honor to Ephraim.
B. Reuben (49:1-4): This ďblessingĒ begins with such great promise.† Reuben possessed great dignity and strength; yet, his disgraceful mistreatment of his father brought tragic consequences.
and Levi (49:5-7): Partners in cruel revenge, Jacob lumped these Simeon and
Levi together. In effect Jacob disinherited these sons, and their descendents,
as a result, would not share fully in the bounty of
(49:13): Jacob anticipated that this son would dwell along the western shores
(49:14-15): Jacob predicted that this tribe would trade its spiritual liberty
for the material security as the servants of the pagan citizens of
G. Dan (49:16-18): Dan, small but powerful, shall prove treacherous.† Like a serpent, this tribe will camouflage its insidious nature and strike at its enemyís heels.
(49:19): Gad would, once the tribe entered Canaan, suffer constant raids from
its neighbors, Ammon and
I. Asher (49:20): Asher would inhabit a fertile region.
(49:21): This tribe later settled in a mountainous region of
K. Joseph (49:22-26): Jacob reserved his richest blessing for faithful Joseph.† The old man recalled the severe trials Joseph had endured and described his beloved son as a fruitful tree, spreading its bountiful limbs in every direction.†
L. Benjamin (49:27): Jacob used the image of a ravenous wolf to describe his youngest son. In years to come, Benjamin earned a reputation as a fierce, aggressive tribe.
II. The Deaths of Jacob and Joseph (49:28-50:26)
A. Jacobís death and burial (49:28-50:14):
anticipation of his death (49:28-33): The old patriarch asked his sons to bury
him in the family tomb, in Machpelah, in the
preparation of Jacobís body (50:1-3): Jews did not embalm bodies, but Joseph
apparently allowed this procedure so he could keep his word about Jacobís
burial.† The Egyptians, of course, were
masters of corpse preservation, and Pharaoh, after an appropriate period of
mourning, permitted Joseph to return to
reassurance of his brothers (50:15-21): After Josephís return from
death (50:22-26): Joseph lived 110 years, and, as death approached, he promised
that God would one day return the children of