What does Genesis 49:27 mean?
ESV: "Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey and at evening dividing the spoil."
NIV: "Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder."
NASB: 'Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he devours the prey, And in the evening he divides the spoils.'
CSB: Benjamin is a wolf; he tears his prey. In the morning he devours the prey, and in the evening he divides the plunder."
NLT: 'Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, devouring his enemies in the morning and dividing his plunder in the evening.'
KJV: Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
NKJV: “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he shall devour the prey, And at night he shall divide the spoil.”
Verse Commentary:
Rachel was the beloved wife of Jacob. Despite his great love, Rachel was only able to conceive two natural children with Jacob. The first was Joseph (Genesis 30:22–24). The second, Benjamin, came through a fatal delivery (Genesis 35:16–19). As he offers a deathbed prophecy (Genesis 49:1–2), Jacob has saved his comments on those two sons for last. Joseph's prediction was extensive and overwhelmingly positive (Genesis 49:22–26). In contrast, the prediction for Benjamin feels almost like an afterthought, or an anticlimax.

The imagery Jacob uses depicts a wolf who hunts, tears, and devours from morning until evening. This accurately describes the tribe of Benjamin after Israel takes control of the Promised Land. The tribe of Benjamin is associated with Ehud, the judge who graphically assassinated a Moabite king (Judges 3:15, 20–21). Later in the book of Judges, a Benjaminite city is the site of a heinous atrocity (Judges 19:25–27). The aftermath of this event caused a surprisingly evenly matched civil war between Israel and the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 20).

The most prominent example of this prophecy is Israel's first king, Saul (1 Samuel 9:1–2; 10:1). Faced with a rival, Saul exhibited predatory cruelty (1 Samuel 19:10; 22:17–19), before David became king (1 Samuel 15:24–28).
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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