Genesis 49: 1-2, “Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.”
First Jacob addressed Leah’s first four sons and his first four sons that he had with Leah, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.
Next he spoke to Leah’s sixth son, Zebulun, who was Jacob’s tenth son. Zebulun’s people are merchant marines that provide haven to ships and “his border shall be unto Zidon.” (Genesis 49:13)
Then he spoke to Leah’s fifth son, Issachar, who was Jacob’s ninth son. Issachar’s people are laid back and even though quite strong, they gave up their might and strength to their neighbors on both sides of the border. (Genesis 49:14)
Bilhah’s (Rachel’s handmaid) first born son, Dan, and Jacob’s fifth son was next. (Genesis 49:16) “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that bitteth the heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, Oh Lord.” Dan may be the people that use terrorism to accomplish their goals. These people will never win their salvation by instilling fear in others. Jacob prayed for their salvation because they also are lost children of the house of Israel.
Then came Gad, Zilpah’s (Leah’s handmaid) first born son and Jacob’s seventh son. (Genesis 49:19) “Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.”
Asher was next, being the second son of Zilpah (Leah’s handmaid) and Jacob’s eighth son. “Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.” His people use yeast to make the bread rise and are great bakers of culinary confections.
Next was Naphtali (Rachel’s handmaid) who was Bilhah’s (Rachel’s handmaid) second son and Jacob’s sixth son. “Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.” (Genesis 49:21) Evidently Naphtali’s people are great talkers, but do not do very much.
These are Jacob’s tens sons. Tomorrow I will write about Joseph and Benjamin, Rachel’s two sons, and Jacob’s eleventh and twelfth sons.