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Genesis 49

49
Israel’s Prophecy concerning His Sons
1Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come.
2Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob;
And listen to Israel your father.
3“Reuben, you are my firstborn;
My might and the beginning of my strength,
Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence,
Because you went up to your father’s bed;
Then you defiled it—he went up to my couch.
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers;
Their swords are implements of violence.
6Let my soul not enter into their council;
Let not my glory be united with their assembly;
Because in their anger they slew men,
And in their self-will they lamed oxen.
7Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;
And their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will disperse them in Jacob,
And scatter them in Israel.
8“Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
9Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He couches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
10The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
# Or Until he comes to Shiloh; or Until he comes to whom it belongs Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11He ties his foal to the vine,
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine;
He washes his garments in wine,
And his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are #Or darker thandull from wine,
And his teeth #Or whiter thanwhite from milk.
13“Zebulun will dwell at the seashore;
And he shall be a haven for ships,
And his flank shall be toward Sidon.
14“Issachar is a strong donkey,
Lying down between the sheepfolds.
15When he saw that a resting place was good
And that the land was pleasant,
He bowed his shoulder to bear burdens,
And became a slave at forced labor.
16“Dan shall judge his people,
As one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
A horned snake in the path,
That bites the horse’s heels,
So that his rider falls backward.
18For Your salvation I wait, O Lord.
19“As for Gad, raiders shall raid him,
But he will raid at their heels.
20“As for Asher, his food shall be rich,
And he will yield royal dainties.
21“Naphtali is a doe let loose,
He gives beautiful words.
22“Joseph is a fruitful #Lit sonbough,
A fruitful bough by a spring;
Its #Lit daughtersbranches run over a wall.
23The archers bitterly attacked him,
And shot at him and harassed him;
24But his bow remained firm,
And his arms were agile,
From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25From the God of your father who helps you,
And by the Almighty who blesses you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26The blessings of your father
Have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors
Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills;
May they be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.
27“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
In the morning he devours the prey,
And in the evening he divides the spoil.”
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him. 29Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site. 31There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah— 32the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of Heth.” 33When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.
49
Jacob Blesses His Sons
1Then Jacob called his sons to him. He said, “Come here to me, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the future.
2“Come together and listen, sons of Jacob.
Listen to Israel, your father.”
3“Reuben, my first son, you are my strength.
Your birth showed I could be a father.
You have the highest position among my sons,
and you are the most powerful.
4But you are uncontrolled like water,
so you will no longer lead your brothers.
This is because you got into your father’s bed
and shamed me by having sexual relations with my slave girl.
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers
who used their swords to do violence.
6I will not join their secret talks,
and I will not meet with them to plan evil.
They killed men because they were angry,
and they crippled oxen just for fun.
7May their anger be cursed, because it is too violent.
May their violence be cursed, because it is too cruel.
I will divide them up among the tribes of Jacob
and scatter them through all the tribes of Israel.
8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
You will grab your enemies by the neck,
and your brothers will bow down to you.
9Judah is like a young lion.
You have returned from killing, my son.
Like a lion, he stretches out and lies down to rest,
and no one is brave enough to wake him.
10Kings will come from Judah’s family;
someone from Judah will always be on the throne.
Judah will rule until Shiloh comes,
and the nations will obey him.
11He ties his donkey to a grapevine,
his young donkey to the best branch.
He can afford to use wine to wash his clothes
and the best wine to wash his robes.
12His eyes are dark like the color of wine,
and his teeth are as white as the color of milk.
13“Zebulun will live near the sea.
His shore will be a safe place for ships,
and his land will reach as far as Sidon.
14“Issachar is like a strong donkey
who lies down while carrying his load.
15When he sees his resting place is good
and how pleasant his land is,
he will put his back to the load
and become a slave.
16“Dan will rule his own people
like the other tribes in Israel.
17Dan will be like a snake by the side of the road,
a dangerous snake lying near the path.
That snake bites a horse’s leg,
and the rider is thrown off backward.
18“Lord, I wait for your salvation.
19“Robbers will attack Gad,
but he will defeat them and drive them away.
20“Asher’s land will grow much good food;
he will grow food fit for a king.
21“Naphtali is like a female deer that runs free,
that has beautiful fawns.
22“Joseph is like a grapevine that produces much fruit,
a healthy vine watered by a spring,
whose branches grow over the wall.
23Archers attack him violently
and shoot at him angrily,
24but he aims his bow well.
His arms are made strong.
He gets his power from the Mighty God of Jacob
and his strength from the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
25Your father’s God helps you.
God Almighty blesses you.
He blesses you with rain from above,
with water from springs below,
with many babies born to your wives,
and many young ones born to your animals.
26The blessings of your father are greater
than the blessings of the oldest mountains,
greater than the good things of the long-lasting hills.
May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph,
on the forehead of the one who was separated from his brothers.
27“Benjamin is like a hungry wolf.
In the morning he eats what he has caught,
and in the evening he divides what he has taken.”
28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them. He gave each son the blessing that was right for him. 29Then Israel gave them a command and said, “I am about to die. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30That cave is in the field of Machpelah east of Mamre in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought the field and cave from Ephron the Hittite for a burying place. 31Abraham and Sarah his wife are buried there. Isaac and Rebekah his wife are buried there, and I buried my wife Leah there. 32The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittite people.” 33After Jacob finished talking to his sons, he lay down. He put his feet back on the bed, took his last breath, and died.