Genesis 49: 16-18: ‘Deliver us from evil.’

‘Dan will provide justice for his people
    as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside,
    a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
    so that its rider tumbles backwards.

18 ‘I look for your deliverance, Lord. NIV


Jacob’s face was ‘shadowed by death but aglow with the light of prophecy. How intense their silent awe as they heard their names called one by one by the old man’s trembling voice, speaking with difficulty! The character of each was delineated with unerring insight, the outstanding incidents of their past history enumerated, and their future forecasted. The scene was an anticipation of the final judgment, where men shall hear their lives reviewed and the sentence passed.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.33. (See also verse 28).

In the case of Dan, we move from the sons of Leah, to the sons of Billah, Rachel’s servant girl. ‘’Dan’’ means ‘to judge’, and Israel’s most famous judge, Samson, was going to descend from Dan. But there would also be a serpent-like craftiness in at least some of the people of this tribe.

God knows each of us through and through; knows what we are and what we will be. How we need the prayers of others for our deliverance (18). May we be everything God wants us to be, and not what we could be if the serpent has his way with us.

I’m not wanting to say that Jacob was praying for Dan in verse 18. It may have been for himself. Possibly it was a prayer for strength to continue with his prophesying. But the thought just his me now, as I write, that we very much need the prayers of others for our deliverance, just as we also need to pray for them.

So may this be the story of our lives – that we pray for and are prayed for.