What does Genesis 49:26 mean?
ESV: The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, up to the bounties of the everlasting hills. May they be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
NIV: Your father's blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
NASB: The blessings of your father Have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors Up to the furthest boundary of the everlasting hills; May they be on the head of Joseph, And on the top of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.
CSB: The blessings of your father excel the blessings of my ancestors and the bounty of the ancient hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince of his brothers.
NLT: May my fatherly blessings on you surpass the blessings of my ancestors, reaching to the heights of the eternal hills. May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph, who is a prince among his brothers.
KJV: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
NKJV: The blessings of your father Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.
Verse Commentary:
Jacob is dying (Genesis 48:1). He has called his twelve sons to his bedside and delivered, in poetic verse, an oracle prophesying what will become of each of their future tribes (Genesis 49:1–2). Jacob's oracle about Joseph concludes in this verse. In some ways, this strongly resembles the official, formal family blessing handed down from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and now to Joseph.

God's blessings on Jacob are depicted in grand terms. Depending on the translation, his blessings have been greater than the blessings of his parents or greater than the blessings of his ancestors or perhaps greater than the blessings of "the ancient mountains" themselves. God had certainly blessed Jacob with more children than either of the two previous generations of his fathers. Jacob goes on, saying the blessings of his life have been greater even than the bounty or the riches to be found in the "everlasting hills." The hills of Canaan would have been rich with precious minerals, perhaps, as well as being blessed by God with vegetation in the summer.

With some of his last words, Jacob offers Joseph evidence of God's faithfulness and power: his own life story. Then Jacob declares these blessings will be on the head of Joseph. Jacob is placing the family blessing, which is the very blessing of God, on Joseph's head as a crown. Some translators see Jacob concluding by calling Joseph the "prince among his brothers" (NIV). Others read the Hebrew to describe Joseph as the one who was "set apart from his brothers" (ESV), referring to his years apart from the family in Egypt.

In either case, the possible use of "prince" did not mean that Joseph's descendants would become royalty over Israel themselves. That was the destiny of Judah's people (Genesis 49:10). Instead, it would have been abundantly clear to all gathered around Jacob that he was passing the official blessing to his beloved Joseph.
Verse Context:
Genesis 49:22–27 includes Jacob's final prophetic remarks about his sons. The last two mentioned are his youngest, the only naturally born children of his favorite wife, Rachel. Joseph's sons were already inserted into the family blessing (Genesis 48:5–6). This is the most overtly positive of Jacob's predictions. Benjamin, however, is predicted to become a notably violent tribe.
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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