Character Studies

Lesson 9

THE SONS OF JACOB

"And Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days: "Gather together and hear, you sons of Jacob, And listen to Israel your father." (Genesis 49:1-2)

Text: Genesis 29:31-30:24; 35:16-26;
46:1-27; 48:1-49:18
Place: Padan-Aram, Canaan, Egypt
Occupation: Shepherds (Gen. 47:3)
References: Deut. 33; Rom. 9:3-7; 2:25-29

THE TWELVE SONS OF JACOB
Genesis 29:31-30:24; 35:16-26
Sons of Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun
Sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin
Sons of Bilhah (Rachel's handmaid): Dan and Naphtali
Sons of Zilpah (Leah's handmaid): Gad and Asher

CONFLICT & TROUBLE IN JACOB'S FAMILY
Genesis 29:15-30:24; 37:1-11
Between his wives (Leah and Rachel)
Between his sons (Gen. 37)
The incident involving his daughter Dinah (Gen. 34)

CHARACTER, CONDUCT & BLESSINGS
REUBEN: Forfeited privileges (Gen. 49:3-4; 35:22; 37:21-30; 42:21-22, 36-38; 1 Chron. 5:1; Deut. 33:6)
SIMEON: Self-willed (Gen. 49:5-7; 34:25-31)
LEVI: Partner in vengeance (Gen. 49:5-7; 34:25-31; Deut. 33:8-11)
JUDAH: Praise and preeminence (Gen. 49:8-12; 44:18-34; 38:1-30; Deut. 33:7)
ZEBULUN: Sea-dweller (Gen. 49:13; 30:20; Deut. 33:18-19)
ISSACHAR: Wages from God (Gen. 49:14-15; 30:14-18)
DAN: Judge among his people (Gen. 49:16-18; 30:1-6; Deut. 33:22)
GAD: A strong troop (Gen. 49:19; 30:10-11; Deut. 33:20-21)
ASHER: Bountiful favor (Gen. 49:20; 30:13; Deut. 33:24-25)
NAPHTALI: Liberty (Gen. 49:21; 30:8; Deut. 33:23)
JOSEPH: A fruitful bough (Gen. 49:22-26; 30:22-24; 37-50; Deut. 33:13-17)
BENJAMIN: Beloved of God (Gen. 49:27; 35:16-18; Deut. 33:12)

LESSONS FOR US
Character can develop early or later in life (cf. Joseph and Reuben).
Sin brings hardships and no final blessing (cf. Simeon and Levi).
Goodness is seen and blessed by God (cf. Joseph).
Conflict within a family will impact its children.

QUESTIONS
1. Memorize Jacob's wives and sons.

2. Who was Jacob's firstborn? Why didn't he receive the blessing of the firstborn?

3. What did the sons of Jacob do at Shechem, and why? (Gen. 34)

4. Which son's mother died giving birth to him? (Gen. 35:16-18)

5. Why did Joseph's brothers hate and envy him? Did he repay them with hatred? (Gen. 37:1-11; 50:15-21)

6. Who was Tamar? What did she do? (Gen. 38)

7. Describe Joseph's appearance and character. (Gen. 39:6-23)

8. What dreams did Joseph tell his brothers about? How did they come true? (Gen. 37:5-11; 42:6, 9; 43:26; 44:14)

9. Name the sons of Joseph. What blessings did they receive? (Gen. 41:51-52; 48)

10. In death, how did Joseph show his faith in God? (Gen. 50:24-26; Heb. 11:22)