Genesis 49:16-27

Talks for Growing Christians

Jacob’s Blessings on Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin

Genesis 49:16-27

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Lesson Number 108

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Fruitfulness must find its source in God.
  2. Faithfulness must find its source in God.

Practical Application

  1. What animal would best describe your character?


  1. Why is Genesis 49 a difficult chapter to interpret?
  2. What are some of the possible interpretations of the prophesy indicating that Dan shall be a serpent?
  3. Joseph was called a fruitful bough with its branches running over the wall, and the blessings of his father excelled. How was this prophecy fulfilled?
  4. What was the source of Joseph’s fruitfulness and blessing?
  5. What does it mean that Joseph’s bow remained strong by God?
  6. What are the three names of God used in this passage?


  1. Because it is written in Hebrew poetry and it is also prophecy, some of which has been fulfilled and some of which is yet to be fulfilled.
  2. It could be that he would hurt others or that he would allow the serpent (Satan) to bring idolatry into Israel, causing it to fall backward. See Judges 18 and 1 Kings 12.
  3. It is seen in the great tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
  4. God Almighty, El Shaddai (Genesis 49:25).
  5. There were many arrows shot at Joseph - those of betrayal, hate, temptation, false accusation and imprisonment. But God helped Joseph, as if he took Joseph in his arms and put his hands on the bow, giving it His strength and control.
  6. The Mighty God, The Shepherd, and The Stone of Israel (Genesis 49:24).


  1. Fruitfulness must find its source in God. Are you trying to be fruitful in self-generated strength or are you depending on the Lord? Do you feel burned out at times? Why? What can you do about it?
  2. Faithfulness must find its source in God. Apply the picture of the bow, pulling in your strength and then letting God put His hands over yours.
  3. Review the three names of God in Genesis 49:24. How do each of these impact your life?


  1. Just for today, let the Lord be your strength. Notice the difference.
  2. What animal best describes your character? Would your choice be the same as God’s for you?

Key Verses

  • “I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!” Genesis 49:18
  • “Joseph is a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall.” Genesis 49:22
  • “...the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God...” Genesis 49:24

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