One gets the distinct impression that Yaakov's final seventeen years - spent in Goshen, Egypt - were his golden years. Reunited with his beloved Yosef, surrounded by his children and grandchildren, it was for all intents and purposes the epitome of Sabbas and Savtas call Yiddishe nachas.
Moreover, the third patriarch's ruchniut churned most prolifically. Specifically, divine communications that he earlier received in Canaan came into magnificent focus. Based on Yaakov's newly gained circumstances whereby he became acquainted with Yosef's two sons Menashe and Efraim, more pieces of that divine communique puzzle came together quite exquisitely. For example, he comprehended how Menashe and Efraim gained parity with Reuven and Shimon; how Efraim would surpass Menashe. More than that.
When he replayed Rahel's tragic death while giving birth to Binyamin and the subsequently seeming helter-skelter burial in Efrata, another previous blank line got inked in.
Finally, as sefer Bereshit neared conclusion, we read that Yaakov convened his sons. In this context of Yaakov's prophetic acumen waxing most prolific, how do readers make sense of his final sentiments to his twelve sons? After all, we struggle to find a common theme among those words that at once chided certain sons, complimented others, and yet with others Yaakov projected future events.
What do all of Yaakov's apparent time travelling and/or divinely inspired stream of consciousness signify?
The following is a possible straightforward approach. Yaakov foresaw a tremendous population growth explosion taking place among his descendants. Myriads, in fact. As the consummate patriarch considered his family's future, one question loomed, perhaps, larger than all others: How would this vast sea of people govern themselves? Clearly, Yaakov pondered how his seed, likened to stars above and sands below, could best thrive through effective political administration.
With that in mind, Yaakov sized up each and every son vis-a-vis their potential to rule over the rest. Which tribe had the right stuff? Assuming a monarchal or presidential model, Yaakov scoured his sons’ traits and character in order to determine which one would assume the mantle of ultimate leadership.
In the interest of brevity, a fuller discussion on this explanation is not feasible. Suffice it to say, that Yaakov's nod to Yehuda took into account those noble traits which his fourth son personified: bravery, integrity, and perhaps just as crucially, an uncanny knack for fostering unity and cooperation among his coreligionists.