Genesis 49
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Jacob Blesses His Sons

1Then Jacob called for his sons and said, “Gather around so that I can tell you what will happen to you in the days to come:

2Come together and listen, O sons of Jacob;

listen to your father Israel.

3Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might,

and the beginning of my strength,

excelling in honor,

excelling in power.

4Uncontrolled as the waters,

you will no longer excel,

because you went up to your father’s bed,

onto my couch and defiled it.

5Simeon and Levi are brothers;

their swordsa are weapons of violence.

6May I never enter their council;

may I never join their assembly.

For they kill men in their anger,

and hamstring oxen on a whim.

7Cursed be their anger, for it is strong,

and their wrath, for it is cruel!

I will disperse them in Jacob

and scatter them in Israel.

8Judah,b your brothers shall praise you.

Your hand shall be on the necks of your enemies;

your father’s sons shall bow down to you.

9Judah is a young lion—

my son, you return from the prey.

Like a lion he crouches and lies down;

like a lioness, who dares to rouse him?

10The scepter will not depart from Judah,

nor the staff from between his feet,c

until Shilohd comes

and the allegiance of the nations is his.

11He ties his donkey to the vine,

his colt to the choicest branch.

He washes his garments in wine,

his robes in the blood of grapes.

12His eyes are darker than wine,

and his teeth are whiter than milk.

13Zebulun shall dwell by the seashore

and become a harbor for ships;

his border shall extend to Sidon.

14Issachar is a strong donkey,

lying down between the sheepfolds.e

15He saw that his resting place was good

and that his land was pleasant,

so he bent his shoulder to the burden

and submitted to labor as a servant.

16Danf shall provide justice for his people

as one of the tribes of Israel.

17He will be a serpent by the road,

a viper in the path,

that bites the horse’s heels

so that its rider tumbles backward.

18I await Your salvation, O LORD.

19Gadg will be attacked by raiders,

but he will attack their heels.

20Asher’s food will be rich;

he shall provide royal delicacies.

21Naphtali is a doe set free

that bears beautiful fawns.h

22Joseph is a fruitful vine,

a fruitful vine by a spring,

whose branches scale the wall.i

23The archers attacked him with bitterness,

and aimed in hostility.

24Yet he steadied his bow,

and his strong arms were tempered

by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,

in the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

25by the God of your father who helps you,

and by the Almightyj who blesses you,

with blessings of the heavens above,

with blessings of the depths below,

with blessings of the breasts and womb.

26The blessings of your father have surpassed

the blessings of the ancient mountains

and the bounty of the everlasting hills.

May they rest on the head of Joseph,

on the brow of the prince of his brothers.

27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;

in the morning he devours the prey,

in the evening he divides the plunder.”

28These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all, and this was what their father said to them. He blessed them, and he blessed each one with a suitable blessing.

The Death of Jacob

29Then Jacob instructed them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30The cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre, in the land of Canaan. This is the field Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 31There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried, and there I buried Leah. 32The field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites.”

33When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he pulled his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and he was gathered to his people.

Footnotes:

5 a Or dwelling places
8 b Judah sounds like the Hebrew for praise
10 c Or from his descendants
10 d Or to whom tribute belongs
14 e Or saddlebags or hearths
16 f Dan here means he provides justice
19 g Gad sounds like the Hebrew for raid and also for band of raiders
21 h Or gives beautiful words or bears fawns of the fold
22 i Or Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey by a spring, his wild colts beside the wall
25 j Hebrew Shaddai

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