February 28, 2021 – Genesis 48 – 50

Lesson Date: February 28, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Genesis 48:1-5, 14, 21-22; 49:1-2, 9-11, 29-32; 50:15-21, 24-25

AIM: To lead students to discover God’s plans for the future of Israel that were revealed through the last words of Jacob and Joseph, and to thank God for the good plans He has for those who belong to Him.


Before class: Read the notes on Genesis 48 – 50 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the following words and phrases on the marker board or chalkboard: “Creation,” “Fall,” “Flood,” “Tower of Babel,” “God’s Promises to Abraham,” “Isaac,” “Jacob,” “Joseph,” and “Egypt.”


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the class that we began our study of the book of Genesis 6 months ago. Today we have reached the end of that study.

Direct the students’ attention to the words and phrases written on the board. Use those words and phrases to briefly review the book of Genesis. Stress the fact that God promised Abraham that his descendants would become a great nation and live in the land of Canaan (locate on the Map of the Ancient World). God repeated those promises to Isaac and to Jacob. Ask: “As of the end of last week’s lesson, were the descendants of Abraham a great nation living in Canaan?” (no; they numbered about 70 and they were living in Egypt – locate on the Map of the Ancient World).

Tell the class that through 47 chapters and over 2,000 years of human history, God has not yet made Israel into a great nation or settled them in Canaan. Ask: “Do you think God forgot His promises?” (no). In today’s lesson we will discover God’s plans for the future of Israel.



  1. Review.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (God’s providence, provision, and promises).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Gen. 45:8).
  2. God’s Plan for the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
    • Read Genesis 48:1-4.
    • Joseph learned that his father Jacob (Israel) was sick and nearing death. He took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and went to see his dying father.
    • Ask: “What did Jacob say to Joseph and his sons?” (he reminded them that God appeared to him at Luz [Bethel – locate on the Map of Canaan] and made promises to him).
    • Ask: “What were those promises?” (He promised to make Jacob fruitful, to make his descendants into a large nation, and to give them the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession).
    • Stress the fact that these three promises were so important to Jacob that they were the first words out of his mouth when his beloved son came to visit him on his deathbed. Next Jacob did something unusual.
    • Read Genesis 48:5.
    • Ask: “What did Jacob say about Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim?” (he claimed them as his sons, equal to and joint heirs with his natural-born sons).
    • Explain the following:
      • Jacob wanted to bless Joseph’s sons.
      • Patriarchal blessings were very important in those days.
      • Since Jacob was blind, Joseph positioned his sons so Jacob could easily place his right hand on Manasseh’s head and give him the blessing belonging to the firstborn.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 48:14.
    • Ask: “What did Israel (Jacob) do?” (gave the blessing of the firstborn to Ephraim, the younger of the two sons).
    • Tell the class that Joseph tried to correct his father and reposition his hands, but Jacob insisted that Ephraim would take the place of the firstborn.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 48:21-22.
    • Tell the students that Jacob believed God’s promise to bring them out of Egypt one day and return them to the land of their fathers (Canaan).
    • Explain the following:
      • By elevating Joseph’s son’s to be heirs alongside his brothers, Jacob gave Joseph one portion of inheritance above the rest of his brothers.
      • In this incident God revealed (through Jacob) His plan for the makeup of the twelve tribes of Israel.
      • When the Israelites left Egypt and settled in Canaan there was no tribe of Joseph; instead there were two tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh.
      • Levi was not given an inheritance because his descendants served as priests and Temple workers.
    • Summarize: Shortly before he died, Jacob revealed God’s plan for the makeup of the twelve tribes of Israel.
  3. God’s Plan for the Coming Messiah.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 49:1-2.
    • Explain the following:
      • The twelve sons of Jacob (Israel) gathered around his deathbed.
      • He spoke to each one by name and either told something about their character or made a prophecy concerning their future.
      • Jacob rebuked Reuben for his sexual immorality (Gen. 35:22) and Simeon and Levi for their cruelty and anger (Gen. 34:25-30).
      • Next, he addressed Judah.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 49:9-11.
    • Note that in verse 9 Jacob compared Judah to a lion.
    • Ask: “Have you ever heard the name ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’? To whom does that name refer?” (Jesus Christ; see Rev. 5:5).
    • Ask: “What did Jacob promise in verse 10?” (descendants of Judah would reign as the kings of Israel).
    • Tell the students that Shiloh is a reference to the Messiah.
    • Explain that verse 11 makes three more references to the Messiah:
      • The vine – Jesus said He is the vine in John 15:5.
      • A donkey’s colt – upon which Jesus rode into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:5).
      • It also says the Messiah would wash His garments in blood.
    • Summarize: Jacob revealed God’s plan concerning Jesus Christ: the Lion of the tribe of Judah will rule forever over God’s people after cleansing them through His own blood.
  4. God’s Plan for Israel to Remain Connected to the Land of Canaan.
    • Tell the class that after making prophecies concerning the rest of his sons (v. 13-27), Jacob addressed all of them.
    • Read Genesis 49:29-32.
    • Ask: “Where did Jacob want to be buried?” (in the same cave in Mamre where his father and grandfather were buried – locate Mamre on the Map of Canaan).
    • Direct the class’ attention to the Map of the Ancient World.
    • Explain that even though Jacob and his family now lived in Goshen in Egypt (locate on the map), he insisted that they carry his body 250 miles to Canaan (locate on the map) to bury him in his ancestral tomb.
    • Summarize: Jacob’s command to bury him in the cave at Mamre revealed God’s plan to keep Israel tied to the land of Canaan, in spite of the fact they were living in Egypt.
  5. God’s Plan to Return Israel to Canaan.
    • Explain the following:
      • Jacob died.
      • Joseph had his body embalmed and the Egyptian people mourned for him for 70 days.
      • After that, Joseph, his brothers, and a large group of Egyptian officials took Jacob’s body to Canaan and buried it in the cave near Mamre.
      • They then returned to Egypt.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 50:15.
    • Ask: “What did Joseph’s brothers fear?” (that Joseph would take revenge upon them for selling him into slavery).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 50:16-17.
    • Tell the class that Joseph’s brothers sent him a message, saying that their father wanted him to forgive them.
    • Ask: “Why do you think Joseph wept?” (he felt sorry for his brothers who still felt such guilt years after Joseph forgave them).
    • Explain the following:
      • The year was about 1858 BC.
      • Joseph had ruled Egypt for 26 years.
      • He was 56 years old, so his ten older brothers were in their late fifties and early sixties.
      • It had been 39 years since Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery.
      • In spite of the fact that Joseph had forgiven them (Gen. 45:5-15) and the many years that had passed, these men lived lives of guilt and fear!
    • Read Genesis 50:18-21.
    • Tell the class that Joseph’s brothers once again bowed down before him, in fulfillment of the dreams God gave him as a teenager.
    • Ask: “What did Joseph say about their evil deed of selling him into slavery?” (he said God used it to bring about a good result: the saving of their entire family).
    • Ask: “What did Joseph promise in verse 21?” (to provide for his brothers and their children).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 50:24-25.
    • Tell the class that 54 years later Joseph, now 110 years old, was nearing death.
    • Ask: “What did Joseph promise his brothers?” (that God would someday bring their family out of Egypt and return them to Canaan).
    • Ask: “What did he ask them to promise?” (that they would carry his bones with them out of Egypt for permanent burial in Canaan).
    • Summarize: Joseph had faith that God would keep his promise to return them to Canaan. He wanted to be buried in the Promised Land where he lived the first 17 years of his life.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students in the closing chapters of Genesis God revealed His plans to the children of Israel (Jacob). Those plans may be summarized as follows:

  • God planned that there would be twelve tribes of Israel, including the two sons of Joseph: Ephraim and Manasseh.
  • God planned to bring forth His promised Messiah from the tribe of Judah. He also planned for Judah to produce Israel’s kings and revealed some facts about the Messiah.
  • Even though they lived in Egypt, God planned to keep Israel connected with Canaan.
  • God planned to return Israel to the Promised Land of Canaan.

Tell the students that God had plans for Israel’s future, and He has plans for our future, too. If we know Jesus Christ as Savior those plans will ultimately bring good our way (Rom. 8:28). God will go with us through life’s struggles and turmoil, and then He will take us to the ultimate Promised Land – heaven.

Tell them that God has no good plans, however, for those who have not trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Those who reject Jesus Christ will spend eternity in the torment of hell. Urge any who have never trusted Christ for salvation to turn away from their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ right now. Then they can thank Him for the good plans He has for their future.

Ask everyone to thank God for the good plans He has for those who belong to Him. Voice a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Genesis 50:20. Encourage them to thank God for His plans.

Be sure everyone present has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly. Tell them next week we begin a study of the book of Exodus. We’ll see how God kept His promise to bring Israel out of Egypt. We’ll also discover some Images of Redemption in Exodus.   The Daily Bible Reading Guide for Exodus begins tomorrow.

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