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When Jacob "blessed" his sons in Genesis 49, why does he seem to curse some of them? What kind of blessing is it to say "you will no longer excel"? Granted, the curses were meted out according to deeds, but the Bible does, ironically, state that "this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him" (italics added). I'm curious about the original meaning of "blessing" and "blessed" -- perhaps the original word was not as restrictive?

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    "bless" is often used in Hebrew as a euphemism for "curse," particularly if there is a passage saying that some high profile Jew was "cursed" it will almost certainly use the Hebrew word for "bless." – david brainerd Sep 17 '14 at 3:47
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This is the footnote to Gn 49:1 (RSVCE).

a. 49.1-27 In their present form these “Oracles of Jacob,” blessings pronounced upon his sons as epitomizing the twelve tribes, date from the period of the early monarchy.

Therefore seen as oracles, they are prophetic pronouncements of what is to become of the tribes with the sons themselves having played a part in their fate.

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