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Reformation Study Bible – Gen 49:1–28
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Gen 49:1–28

49:1–28 The blessings of the inspired patriarch prophesied the fate of the twelve tribes descended from his sons, mostly by means of wordplays on their names or comparisons to animals. The names and actions (good or bad) of the twelve sons portended the destiny of the tribe. These prophetic blessings at the end of the patriarchal era are arranged according to the mothers—Leah’s six sons (vv. 3–15), the handmaids’ four (vv. 16–21); and Rachel’s two (vv. 22–27)—and exhibit God’s sovereignty over the nation. They will be expanded in the parallel “Moses’ final blessing” (Deut. 33), given on the threshold of Israel’s conquest of the land.