It is vital that we spend time in God’s Word.
But it’s not always easy.
We read a chapter and we don’t know what to get out of it or even how to start to understand it.
I thought I could try to help you get a little something out of what you are reading by providing you with some questions to ask as you look at the text. Good questions are a good start to understanding. Sometimes there will be more questions, sometimes less.
You can do this!
So, get a notebook, a pen, your Bible, and if you would like some help, take some time to answer the questions, and you may be surprised by all God teaches you.
1. What does Jacob say he wants to talk to his sons about in verse 1? (Look at Numbers 24:14; Deuteronomy 4:30 and Deuteronomy 31:29. Do you see anything similar there?)
2. Jacob is gathering his sons to bless them. Reuben is the first born. What do you think are some of the things running through his mind as he gets ready to be blessed by his father?
3. What does Jacob tell Reuben he will not have and why?
4. Why did this happen? Read Genesis 35:22. Did Jacob confront Reuben about this at the time? But here he reveals what Reuben did. It’s been about 20 years and Reuben probably thought he got away with it. But be sure your sin will find you out!
5. Next, Jacob talks to Simeon and Levi. He describes them as what in verse 5? What is funny about calling them that in this context? So why do you think he points that out specifically about these two?
6. Jacob highlights what about these brothers? And what story is this connected to in Genesis? What is the consequence of their failure to control their anger here?
7. They will not have their own land, in other words. You can read the fulfillment of this prophecy in Joshua 19:1-9 and Joshua 21.
8. This prophecy ended up being a curse for Simeon and a blessing for Levi. What was the difference? You can see how the tribe of Levi used their zeal in the proper direction in Exodus 32:25-29 which changed the direction of their entire tribe.
9. Judah gets a very long blessing from his father. What four prophecies does he make about Judah?
10. It may say in your version that the scepter shall not depart until tribute comes to him. That word is literally Shiloh. See if you can find any other interpretations of this verse.
11. How does this prophecy about Judah help you better understand God’s redemptive plan?
12. Next come Zebulun and Issachar. What does he say about the future of their tribes? How are these prophecies fulfilled?
13. He then prophecies about Dan, saying that he shall judge his people. What famous judge came from the tribe of Dan?
14. He then describes Dan as a serpent, a viper. What do we know about serpents from Genesis? What do you think this is saying about the future of the tribe of Dan?
As Jacob talks about Dan’s idolatry, what does he pray?
15. What blessing does he give to Gad, Asher and Naphtali. What do you think these could mean?
16. How does Jacob describe Joseph? Why was Joseph a success? What does Jacob say will happen to Joseph’s descendants in the future?
17. He finishes with Benjamin. What does he say about Benjamin? What do you think this means? Can you think of any famous Benjamites who demonstrate that this prophecy did in fact come true?
18. Where does Jacob asked to be buried? And in spite of all his sin, what is he demonstrating that he does in fact have with this request?