Genesis Chapter 49 Reuben
Gen. 49:3 “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the
beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency
of power: 4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou
wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my
Reuben had the position of the firstborn in the family of
Jacob. As such, he was to be the leader of the family showing forth
strength, excellence of dignity and excellence of power. The firstborn
in a family occupies initially a favored position in the family.
However, the actions of the firstborn can alter his standing in the
family. This was the case with Reuben. He lay with his father’s
concubine. Through his sin he defiled himself and brought reproach to
the family. He lost his right of leadership in the family. Moreover,
his sin had a permanent effect upon his tribe as well. The tribe of
Reuben would never be a leader among the tribes of Israel.
There are lessons we can learn from this:
1. We can alter or lose our position of
leadership both in our family, in the church, or in the world by our
wicked actions, which we are all prone to commit.
2. Our actions can have a negative affect upon
our families, or upon the church of our membership, or upon any
organization we may represent.
Genesis Chapter 49 Simeon and Levi
Gen. 49:5 “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of
cruelty are in their habitations. 6 O my soul, come not thou into their
secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in
their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a
wall. 7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for
it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.”
There is a strong correlation between the actions of Simeon
and Levi and the twin subjects of anger and wrath. Simeon and Levi
became angry when their sister was defiled by Shechem in the city of
Shalem. Shechem desired to marry their sister, Dinah and Shechem’s
father Hamor had arranged a covenant with the children of Israel.
However, at an opportune time, Simeon and Levi united in their wrath,
descended upon the city of Shalem, and slew all the males in the city.
Their anger was fierce and it turned into wrath which was cruel. They
murdered every male in the city!
The scriptures teach us that we are not to let our anger
turn to wrath: Eph. 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go
down upon your wrath:” Anger is an emotion that we fairly frequently
may feel based on the circumstances of life. However, wrath follows
when we allow the anger to turn to cruel action against our adversary.
Even if we think vengeance is called for the Lord has taught us: Rom.
12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto
wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the
Lord.” We are not to let our anger be united with wrath and vengeance.
It is dishonorable for the disciples of Christ to seek wrathful
vengeance upon their adversaries.
Genesis Chapter 49 Zebulun
Gen. 49:13 “Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and
he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.”
Very little is told us about Zebulun in this passage. We
are told that Zebulun’s dwelling place would be at the haven of the
sea. Haven means a sheltered cove or bay. Thus, we are told that
Zebulun’s dwelling place is a sheltered cove or bay by the sea. Zebulun
is somewhat like the Lord’s church. She is sheltered by the protective
watch care of her husband, Jesus Christ.
Moreover, a haven of the sea is a place where the fisherman
would bring their catches. This reminds of what the Lord told Peter and
Andrew: Matt. 4:19 “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make
you fishers of men.” One of the functions of the Lord’s church is to
bring the Lord’s children into the fold of the church.
Zebulun was also to be a haven for ships. The ships could
find a safe harbor from the storms in the cove. Likewise, the Lord’s
church is a safe harbor for God’s children from the ravaging storms of
life. Here they can come and find rest and peace from the storms of
The border of Zebulun was unto Zidon. Zidon was a son of
Canaan. Needless to say, when an inhabitant of Zebulun went into Zidon,
he was no longer in Zebulun. Similarly, the Lord’s church has borders
or boundaries. We are within the church as long as we do not go outside
the boundaries. We are bounded by the teachings and commandments of the
Lord and the holy scriptures.
Chapter 49 The Death of Jacob
Gen. 49:28 “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and
this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every
one according to his blessing he blessed them. 29 And he charged them,
and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my
fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 In
the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in
the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the
Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. 31 There they buried Abraham
and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and
there I buried Leah. 32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that
is therein was from the children of Heth. 33 And when Jacob had made an
end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and
yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.”
Often times God is referred to as the God of Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob. The reason for this is that God made and confirmed a
covenant with these three patriarchs. It was one covenant confirmed
with these three men. These men were all blessed to have God make and
confirm the covenant with them. These men were together in their lives
as having God make an confirm the covenant with them. Moreover, for
some part of their lives these three men lived together: Heb. 11:9 “By
faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country,
dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the
Since part of the promise of God to these individuals was
that the land of Canaan was given to them of God by promise it is
fitting that all three men should be together in the grave in the same
burial site in the land of Canaan. Moreover, they were buried with
their wives. Abraham and Sarah were together. Isaac and Rebekah were
buried together, and Jacob and Leah were buried together.
“And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he
gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was
gathered unto his people.” It is my experience that when visiting a
person who is near death that they struggle to speak a few words in
their weakened condition. However, God gave Jacob strength to speak a
very lengthy prophecy as recorded in this chapter before Jacob yielded
up the ghost.
Upon finishing his commandments to his sons, Jacob yielded
up the ghost and was gathered unto his people. This testifies to us of
the nature of death for a child of God. First, he yields up the ghost,
i.e., the soul and spirit departs from the body. Next, the soul and
spirit are gathered together with the previously departed children of
God in heaven’s glory world. In the next chapter, we have recorded the
burial of Jacob’s body.