Chapter 49 looks a little different in your Bible; it is the first sustained poem in the Scriptures. Jacob is on his deathbed and will pronounce words of blessing on each of the twelve sons. More than blessings (and anti-blessings) Jacob is speaking prophetically, telling of what will come to pass in the generations to come. He reveals how sin has real and lasting consequences that reach well into the future of the tribes. Son after son is given personal attention by their father Jacob. Joseph is exceptionally blessed as we might expect due to his character and faithfulness. Yet it is Judah who receives a surprise word from his father. Judah has been chosen by God as the royal tribe. Not that Judah himself would be a king, but that kings would come from his line. The King would come and reign righteously forever.
Our hope is the same as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s. We look forward in faith to the return of the King. “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered…” (Revelation 5:5a)