Genesis 49:2

ESV “Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob, listen to Israel your father.
NIV Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.
NASB Gather together and listen, sons of Jacob; Yes, listen to Israel your father.
CSB Come together and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel:
NLT 'Come and listen, you sons of Jacob; listen to Israel, your father.
KJV Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

What does Genesis 49:2 mean?

Genesis 49 is described as Jacob's deathbed oracle. Often, it is labelled as his "blessing" on his sons. However, it mostly contains prophetic details: defining characteristics of the peoples that will descend from each of his twelve sons. Not everything Jacob predicts is positive, and the main family blessing has already been bestowed (Genesis 48:5–6).

The oracle formally begins with verse 2 and uses poetic language. The sons of Jacob are called to assemble and hear the words of their father. In this lyrical form, Jacob's prophecies could be preserved and read to the succeeding generations. This would be especially valuable to Israel in the coming centuries, as they will endure harsh slavery under Egypt (Exodus 1:8–14). Jacob's prophecy would imply a future beyond Israel's captivity in Egypt. For generations far in the future, it would serve as evidence that God's plan for His people was set from the very beginning. These words would also warn about the long-lasting consequences of momentary choices.
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