What does Genesis 49:7 mean?
ESV: Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.
NIV: Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.
NASB: Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel. I will scatter them in Jacob, And disperse them among Israel.
CSB: Their anger is cursed, for it is strong, and their fury, for it is cruel! I will disperse them throughout Jacob and scatter them throughout Israel.
NLT: A curse on their anger, for it is fierce; a curse on their wrath, for it is cruel. I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob; I will disperse them throughout Israel.
KJV: Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
NKJV: Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob And scatter them in Israel.
Verse Commentary:
For the first time, Jacob's deathbed oracle about the future of his sons and their offspring (Genesis 49:1–2) uses the word "cursed." Jacob is leveling condemnation at his second- and third-born sons Simeon and Levi. He seems to be holding them accountable for a general tendency toward fierce, cruel, and violent anger. Of particular interest is their massacre of every man in Shechem after a local prince raped their sister Dinah (Genesis 34:13–15, 24–29).

Jacob's prophetic curse comes with the weight of God's own judgment. The tribes of Simeon and Levi will be divided and scattered within Israel. Though they are apparently close, as brothers, they will be divided from each other. Though Levi's people will serve an honorable purpose as the priests of Israel, their inheritance will come in the form of cities scattered throughout the nation (Joshua 21). They will have no land of their own.

The tribe of Simeon will eventually be given an inheritance of land within the much larger and stronger tribe of Judah (Joshua 19:1, 9) before apparently becoming weak and perhaps being dispersed into smaller groups with different tribes in Israel. Simeon's population seems to change drastically between Numbers 1:23 and Numbers 26:14. Only sub-groups of the tribe are seen later, as in 1 Chronicles 4:38–43; 2 Chronicles 15:9; and 2 Chronicles 34:6. Simeon is also not mentioned in Moses' final blessing of the tribes in Deuteronomy 33.
Verse Context:
Genesis 49:1–7 begins Jacob's prophetic remarks about his sons, beginning with Reuben, Simeon, and Levi. These are in the context of a family "blessing," though not all the predictions are positive. The main blessing has already been bestowed on the two oldest sons of Joseph (Genesis 48:5–6). Here, the three oldest sons of Jacob are punished for their prior sins. Reuben loses his firstborn rights. Jacob predicts that Levi and Simeon will be largely absorbed into the other tribes.
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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