Jacob’s Last Will & Testament
20 February 2022 PM – Genesis 48:1-49:33 – Gen2022 – Scott Childs
Introduction: As we come to the end of Jacob’s 147 years on this earth, we find him worn out, but still in his right mind. On the last day of his life, he made out his Last Will & Testament. Though it worked for him, that is not the timing we ought to follow. Many people die suddenly and unexpectedly. Others lose their clear thinking as they near their end on earth. Therefore, it is wise for every adult, especially if married, to write a Last Will & Testament early in life.
Transition: Genesis 48-49 contain Jacob’s Last Will & Testament. God gave us this record to help us prepare for our own deaths.
1. Jacob Adopted Joseph’s boys (Ge 48:1-22)
When Joseph heard that his father was sick and would probably soon die, he went to visit him (48:1-2).
a. Jacob adopted Joseph’s sons (48:2-12)
1) Jacob began telling Joseph his history. At Luz, God had promised to bless him and to give him Canaan as an everlasting possession (48:3-4).
2) Jacob adopted Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, as his own sons (48:5-6).
3) He reviewed the death of Joseph’s mother, Rachel (48:7).
4) Joseph presented his boys to their grandfather (48:8-12). By this time, the boys were between 22-25 years old.
b. Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons (48:13-20).
1) Joseph arranged his sons before Jacob, the older on his right and the younger on his left (48:13).
2) Though Jacob was nearly blind, but being guided by God, he placed his right hand [the greatest blessing] on the younger (Ephraim) and his left hand on the older (Manasseh) (48:14).
3) Joseph tried to change his father’s hands, but Jacob refused (48:17-20).
c. Jacob then blessed Joseph (48:21-22)
1) It appears Jacob was giving Joseph the double blessing of the firstborn son instead of Reuben.
2) He gave him a double portion of an unknown plot of land.
There is a sense in which Jacob was writing his will. He was making sure that there were no loose ends when he died. If you are an adult, whether you are young or old, you ought to have a will that you have prayerfully written.
2. Jacob Spoke to His Sons (Ge 49:1-28)
a. Jacob called all his sons together
He called them together so he could tell them what would happen to them in the future (49:1-2).
b. Jacob spoke a word of prophesy about each son
Evidently, Jacob was a prophet, at least on this occasion.
1) Reuben: (49:3-4) He was unstable and would not excel.
2) Simeon & Levi: (49:5-7) These brothers killed the men of Shechem. He cursed their anger and said they would be scattered.
3) Judah: (49:8-12) He will be praised. He will be a victor. The children of Israel would bow down to him. He will be like a lion. The sceptre shall not depart from him. He will be the leader of the family until Shiloh come. It seems likely that “Shiloh” has reference to the Messiah. He will be prosperous. We know that latter from Judah’s family came the royal line of David.
4) Zebulun: (49:13) He would eventually live near the sea (Galilee).
5) Issachar: (49:14-15) He would be physically strong and a fruitful farmer in the pleasant land.
6) Dan: (49:16-18) He will be a judge. The family of Dan is mentioned several times in the book of Judges. The judge Samson was from the tribe of Dan.
7) Gad: (49:19) He would be effective in battle.
8) Asher: (49:20) He would enjoy very fruitful soil, namely, the lowlands of the Carmel (lit. vineyard) range north along the Mediterranean coast. This area contained some of the most fertile land in Canaan. Constable
9) Naphtali: (49:21) Like the hind or gazelle he would be free and lively and have good speakers.
10) Joseph: (49:22-26) He would be a fruitful bough by a well (very fruitful). The mighty hand of God will strengthen him. God will help him. The Almighty will bless him in many ways. “Judah received the leadership of the tribes, but Joseph obtained the double portion of the birthright (cf. 1 Chron. 5:2).” Constable (1Chr 5:2) “For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:)“
11) Benjamin: (49:27) He would be like a hungry wild wolf.
Why did God direct Jacob to give Joseph this special double blessing? I believe one reason was his walk with God. All through the Bible, God blesses those who walk with Him. We find one example of this in Psalm 1:1-3. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and nig And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.“
Jesus gave us His requirements for walking close to Him. (Luke 9:23) “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” If you want God to bless your life, you must spend time with Him every day in the Bible and prayer, deny your own desires, and seek to please him in the way you live.