What does Genesis 49:18 mean?
ESV: I wait for your salvation, O LORD.
NIV: I look for your deliverance, LORD.
NASB: For Your salvation I wait, Lord.
CSB: I wait for your salvation, Lord.
NLT: I trust in you for salvation, O Lord!
KJV: I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.
NKJV: I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!
Verse Commentary:
Jacob has been proclaiming an oracle about the future descendants of each of his twelve sons, one after another (Genesis 49:1–2). He has just described the future of his son Dan's people (Genesis 49:16–17), and now utters this unexpected prayer that breaks the pattern of the passage. This does come at an unusual point in Jacob's speech, after seven of his twelve sons have been mentioned. However, it does not seem to divide between two distinct groups, or a change in his style.

Perhaps this is a continuation of the oracle about Dan, the tribe that would judge and vindicate the people. It's possible to interpret those remarks as a negative comment about Dan's fall into idolatry (Judges 18:27–31). Jacob may be praying for deliverance from the Lord in those times.

More likely, Jacob's sudden exclamation of waiting for the Lord's salvation is a reminder to his sons. This is probably a passionate request from the Lord to intervene in the troubled future Jacob has been describing. Salvation will only come from the Lord, not from the might of Israel's tribes. Israel (Genesis 35:10–11) will wait for the Messiah to bring ultimate deliverance through the redemption of His people (Luke 2:38).
Verse Context:
Genesis 49:13–21 records Jacob's deathbed predictions, this time regarding six of his sons: Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, and Naphtali. These are relatively brief, and not entirely positive. While Jacob addresses the first four (Genesis 49:3–12) and last two (Genesis 49:22–27) of his sons in birth order, there is no obvious ranking in his comments here. As compared to other tribes, these would play lesser roles in Israel's future.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 49 contains Jacob's dying prophetic remarks. In the form of poetry, Jacob pronounces positive and negative "blessings" about each of his 12 sons and the people who will come from them. Reuben, Simeon, and Levi are each held to account for their past sins. Judah is described as a lion; the kingly line will come from his people. Joseph and his descendants are lavished with blessings. Once the oracle is completed, Jacob commands his sons to bury him with his fathers in Canaan. Then, the man God named "Israel" (Genesis 35:10–11) dies.
Chapter Context:
After a life of struggle and controversy, Jacob's family has securely settled in Egypt. Genesis 48 told of Jacob's blessing on Joseph's two oldest sons: Ephraim and Manasseh. In Genesis 49, Jacob gives both positive and negative predictions to each of his sons, in turn. Jacob then commands his sons to bury him in Canaan, then dies. The final chapter of Genesis describes the family's mourning and Joseph's death. The opening verses of Exodus race forward some 400 years, as the nation of Israel falls into harsh slavery under new Egyptian rulers (Exodus 1:8–14).
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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