Coachlight Bible Study – Genesis Lesson 48

The Work of the Lord – Genesis Chapters 48-49


How do we know what the work of the Lord is?  Does God have a work for us to perform?  If so, how do we know what work the Lord is directing us to perform? When is the time for individuals to work for the Lord?  What work is a person to do? 

These are all questions that may seem to have no answer here on earth, but their answers may well be of the most important to the lives of God’s people.  The Lord seldom reveals the entire scope of His working “under the sun” as is stated in Ecclesiastes.  God’s Word teaches us that God has given us a job to do, and the desire to fulfill our occupation and to live eternally with Him:


Ecclesiastes 3:10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.


There are three words which need to be explored in these two verses.  The word “travail” in verse 10 is inyan in Hebrew and actually means, “job” or “occupation”.  The word, “world” in verse 11 is the Hebrew word olam, which means “eternity” and the Hebrew word, leb, meaning “mind” has been translated metaphorically as “heart”.


So the Bible teaches us that God has given all of us while we are yet “under the sun” a job to perform, and the eternal desire in our minds needed to perform the task.  But sometimes, or should I say, most of the time we tend to let the cares of this world and the obstacles in our path lead us to improper confessions.  As we have seen in previous lessons, these improper confessions have a tendency to cause depressions and times when we can  not hear from the Word of God.


We can see Jacob in just this kind of situation.  This improper confession and resulting depression continued from chapter 37 of Genesis as Jacob learns of what he thought was Joseph’s fate, until everything seems wrong and Joseph seeks the Lord’s Word in chapter 46 – over twenty years.  God spoke to Jacob at Beersheba where God had spoken earlier to Abraham and to Isaac.  Let’s look again at Jacob’s improper confession:


Genesis 37:35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.


Can we see that although God had spoken to Jacob many times at critical times in his life giving him direction, Jacob had decided to allow his affections to center on a part of God’s plan instead of God’s Word itself? Although Joseph was a critical part of God’s plan, Jacob decided to petty himself and blame others instead of acknowledging God’s Sovereignty.  If Jacob had the proper mindset, then it would be apparent to Jacob that Joseph’s apparent demise could not thwart God’s Word. In that state of depression, Jacob was of no use to his family of which God had made him the leader.  God had made known that the foundation of the great nation that God was building centered on Jacob’s twelve sons, but they obviously needed the time in Egypt to bring them to a proper confession.

Now Jacobwas in a quandary.  God seemed to be leading his family to Egypt, but God had promised Canaan to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as their seed as an inheritance. After all Abraham had had a bad experience in Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20), and Isaac had been specifically told to stay away from Egypt. (Genesis 26:2).  What was Jacob to think?  What was Jacob to do?  Did God still have a job for Jacob to perform?  Should Jacob just give up as his confession sounded like as he heard Benjamin was needed to travel to Egypt?


Genesis 42:38 And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.


When we turn to the book of Hebrews, it is interesting what is is included in the hall of faith concerning Jacob.  After all the times God had spoken to Jacob and all that he had been through, the only occupation listed is:


Hebrews 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.


After all the works that Jacob had performed, the only job listed in the hall of faith he was still to perform.  God had a work for Jacob, but Jacob had to get out of his improper confession and the resulting depression.  How was he to do this?  The answer is to acknowledge the Lord in everything we do:


Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


Jacob set his mind to acknowledge God and went with everything he had to Beersheba where God had spoken to Abraham and Isaac:


Genesis 46:1 And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.


Genesis 46:2 And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.

Genesis 46:3 And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:

Genesis 46:4 I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.


When Joseph heard that his father’s health was failing, he evidently dropped everything he was doing and went immediately to his father’s bedside.  He also called for his two sons and brought them with him into his father’s room.  He undoubtedly sent for his eleven brothers also.


When Jacob heard that Joseph was coming, he mustered up what strength he had and sat up on the bed.  When Joseph arrived, Jacob told again the message God had given Jacob at Bethel, thereby setting the basis for the blessing.  Isn’t it interesting that the Word of God is the basis for the blessing?


I. Jacob Adopts Joseph’s Two Sons – Double Portion To Joseph


Genesis 48:1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

Genesis 48:2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.

Genesis 48:3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,

Genesis 48:4 And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.

Genesis 48:5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.

Genesis 48:6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.

Genesis 48:7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem.


A. It Is Customary That The Oldest Son Receive A Double Portion.

B. The Father Could If Situation Warranted Change This Situation

C. Jacob Is Actually Changing The Birthright From Reuben To Joseph


I Chronicles 5:1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.


1. The birthright was given to Joseph’s two sons by adopting them

2. They then would be equal in rank to Reuben and Simeon

3. Their descendants known as the tribe of Ephraim and tribe of Manasseh

4. These two tribes would be equal to the other eleven tribes




II. Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons


Genesis 48:8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?

Genesis 48:9 And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.

Genesis 48:10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.

Genesis 48:11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.

Genesis 48:12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.

Genesis 48:13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.

Genesis 48:14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.


A. Jacob Can Only See Shadows – His Eyesight Is Failing

B. Joseph Leads His First Born, Manasseh To Jacob’s Right Hand

C. Jacob Crosses His Hands To Place His Right Hand On The Second Born

D. Joseph Is Displeased With The Switch Of Hands

E. Jacob Prays To The Triune God:


Genesis 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God<0430>, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God  which fed<07462> me all my life long unto this day,

Genesis 48:16 The Angel which redeemed<01350> me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.


0430 Myhla 'elohiym el-o-heem' - plural of 0433; n m p;

God 2346, god 244, judge 5, GOD 1, goddess 2, great 2, mighty 2, angels 1, exceeding 1, God-ward + 04136 1, godly 1; 2606

07462 her ra`ah raw-aw' - a primitive root; v;

feed 75, shepherd 63, pastor 8, herdmen 7, keep 3, companion 2, broken 1, company 1, devour 1, eat 1, entreateth 1, misc 10; 173

01350 lag ga'al gaw-al' - a primitive root; v;

redeem 50, redeemer 18, kinsman 13, revenger 7, avenger 6, ransom 2, at all 2, deliver 1, kinsfolks 1, kinsman's part 1, purchase 1, stain 1, wise 1; 104


1. Father - God<0430>, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk

2. Holy Spirit -  God  which fed<07462> me all my life long

3. Christ - The Angel which redeemed<01350> me from all evil


F. Interesting Irony – Blessing The Second Born First – Under God’s Inspiration


Genesis 48:17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head.

Genesis 48:18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

Genesis 48:19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

Genesis 48:20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

Genesis 48:21 And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.

Genesis 48:22 Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.


III. Jacob Prophecies Over The Twelve Tribes


A. Reuben First


Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

Genesis 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

Genesis 49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

Genesis 49:4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.


1. Reuben wanted his father’s favor, but he had forfeited it. (Genesis 35:22)

2. Reuben was weak, unstable and lustful

3. Reuben would never excel

a. The tribe of Reuben never furnished a ruler for Israel

b. Numbers 22 –Reuben first to want a place not waiting to cross the Jordon

c. Joshua 22:10 – 34 – Participated in an unauthorized place of worship

d. Judges 5:15-16 – Failure to answer to call to arms

e. Truly Reuben has never excelled at anything


B. Simeon And Levi


Genesis 49:5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.

Genesis 49:6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

Genesis 49:7 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.


1. Reuben had shown weakness and lust -  these showed anger and cruelty

2. Simeon

a. Was given an inheritance (Joshua 19:1)

b. But some were captured and dwelt in the land of the Edomites and Amalekites – (I Chronicles 4:39-43)

c. II Chronicles 15:9 – Many Simeonites left Israel to join Judah

d. They were scattered and  not heard from much after king Asa


3. Levi

a. Never had an inheritance in the land, but cities scattered amoung other tribes – Joshua 21:1-3

b. They did redeem themselves by a stand against idolatry – (Exodus 32:26)

c. They did exercise vengeance like their father – (Exodus 32:27-28)

d. Moses was a Levite – They were chosen to be the priests


Genesis 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.

Genesis 49:9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Genesis 49:11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

Genesis 49:12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.


C. Judah – His name meat “praise”

1. As Joseph received the double portion of the firstborn – So Judah received the dominion and responsibility of the firstborn

2. Judah became the leader of the tribes

3. Like the lion of the jungle, Judah protected the other tribes

4. Judah’s land was productive and fruitful

a. Vines would grow strong – tether a donkey to them

b. His wine would be so full that the vine tenders would appear to be bathed in juice

5. The scepter - shebet would never depart from Juda until Shiloh come

6. While other tribes furnished leaders, such as:

a. Moses from Levi

b. Joshua from Ephraim

c. Gideon from Manasseh

d. Samsun from Dan

e. Samuel from Ephraim

f. Saul from Benjamen

g. It wasn’t until King David that Judah furnished a leader – over 640 years later – How did Jacob know?

7. The scepter was finily taken from Judah in Ad 70 – Shiloh came before

8. Lion of the tribe of Judah – Revelation 5:5


Genesis 49:13 Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.

Genesis 49:14 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:

Genesis 49:15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.


D. Leah’s Two Other Sons

1. Zebulon had contact with sea merchants

a. Joshua 19:10-16 shows their boundries never reached the sea

b. But There was a great caravan route through Zebulon

(Deuteronomy 33:18-19)

2. Issachar

a. Wasn’t very political – Agricultural

b. Often attacked for their produce and table land of Jezreel

(Judges 5:14-15, 18)


Genesis 49:16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.

Genesis 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

Genesis 49:18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.

Genesis 49:19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

Genesis 49:20 Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.

Genesis 49:21 Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.


E. Four Sons Of The Two Handmaids

1. Dan – Had smallest area but had a dangerous attack

a. Deuteronomy 33:7 – Dan judged the entire nation

b. Fulfilled when Sampson judged for twenty years (Judges 16:31

c. The tribe of Dan was unable to conquer its territory

1. Judges 18:17 – 600 Danite families encourage idolatry in Laish

2. Tribe of Dan lacks moral and spiritual stability

3. Revelation 7:4-8 – Dan is not found among the tribes

2. Gad – name means “troop”

a. Was vulnerable to attach because east of Jordan

b. Great warriors able to fight (I Chronicles 5:18;12:8)

3. Asher – Enjoys rich food and royal delicacies

a. Received the fertile land near Carmel (Joshua 19:24-31)

b. Deuteronomy 33:25 – Given strength to secure the north border

c. Never could beat Phoenicians later became insignificant

4. Naphtali – A hind let loose

a. A Free mountain people

b. Barak was from Naphtali – Judges 4:6

c. Barak and Zebulon recognized as heros in battle with Canaanite Sisera (Judges 5:18)

d. Goodly words fulfilled in Victory Song of Deborah and Barak

(Judges 5:1-31)


Genesis 49:22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:

Genesis 49:23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:

Genesis 49:24 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 49:25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:

Genesis 49:26 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.


F. Joseph – Most Eloquent Blessing Of Them All – More than Judah’s

1. Joseph, actually the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh will prevail because of the strong God of Jacob

2. God is pictured as the Shepherd and the Rock of Israel

3. Joshua, Deborah, and Samuel came from Ephraim

4. Gideon and Japhthah from Manassah


Genesis 49:27 Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

Genesis 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.


G. Benjamin

1. Benjamin compared to a wolf because of his warlike character

2. They would be successful and cruel – (Judges 20-21)

3. They were distinguished as archers and slingers – (Judges 20:16; I Chronicles 8:40; 12:2; II Chronicles 14:8; 17:17)

4. Judge Ehud, King Saul, and Jonathon were of this tribe – as well as the Apostle Paul




The Word of the Lord is truly precious.  By temporarily forgetting the Word of God,  Jacob stayed in a state of depression for 20 years while God was busy setting up the circumstances that would save his family.  Why did Jacob stay in a state of depression?

When we go back to chapter 37 as Jacob received the news about Joseph and saw the bloody coat of many colors, he withdrew inside himself, and refused to be comforted. Most importantly he did not acknowledge God in his thoughts.

He might have thought he was too old for God to still use him, but we read in the book of Hebrews that the act of faith in blessing Joseph’s children was still to be performed by Jacob.  Jacob was of no use while he was in his depressed state, but Joseph was used mightily to make his brothers give a proper confession.

When Jacob finally acknowledged God, not only did his depression cease, but immediately God gave him direction and used him to give a most important prophecy.


Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.