Genesis 49:24 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 49:24, NIV: But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

Genesis 49:24, ESV: yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),

Genesis 49:24, KJV: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

Genesis 49:24, NASB: But his bow remained firm, And his arms were agile, From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),

Genesis 49:24, NLT: But his bow remained taut, and his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.

Genesis 49:24, CSB: Yet his bow remained steady, and his strong arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

What does Genesis 49:24 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob's deathbed oracle (Genesis 49:1–2) about his beloved Joseph (Genesis 49:22–23) is more involved than his words about tribes arising from his other sons. He has described Joseph's future offspring as prosperous (Genesis 49:22). Here, he completes a thought begun in the previous verse (Genesis 49:23). Though Joseph has been bitterly attacked in his life—and his descendants will be attacked in the future—Joseph would not be defeated. More specifically, God would protect and deliver Joseph's people.

The metaphor used in both verses evokes a shootout between archers. Jacob describes a severe and bitter attack of arrows shot at Joseph. Instead of being hit, or running and hiding, Jacob describes Joseph's bow as remaining steady and strong. He returns fire with skill. The agility ascribed to Joseph's arms, however, does not come from his own strength. Jacob's oracle reads that Joseph's arms are empowered by the hands of God. In other words, Joseph's strength comes from the Lord.

This reference to skill in battle is proven by Joseph's future descendants. Famous warriors of the Old Testament, including Joshua, Gideon, and Deborah, are members of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. These tribes come from the sons of Joseph adopted by Jacob as his own (Genesis 48:5–6).

In quick succession, this passage uses several names for God. This God who gives Joseph strength is called the "Mighty One of Jacob." a name demonstrating Jacob understood his own strength to come from the Lord, as well. Next Jacob calls God "the Shepherd," as he did in Genesis 48:15: "the God who has been my shepherd all my life long." Then Jacob says this Shepherd is "the Stone of Israel," perhaps referring to God as Israel's unmovable rock, as a foundation. Or, perhaps Jacob was thinking of the God to whom he set up large stones as pillars in worship (Genesis 28:22).