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Genesis 49

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.
49
1(iv) Then Ya‘akov called for his sons and said,
“Gather yourselves together, and I will tell you
what will happen to you in the acharit-hayamim.
2Assemble yourselves and listen, sons of Ya‘akov;
pay attention to Isra’el your father.
3“Re’uven, you are my firstborn,
my strength, the firstfruits of my manhood.
4Though superior in vigor and power
you are unstable as water, so your superiority will end,
because you climbed into your father’s bed
and defiled it — he climbed onto my concubine’s couch!
5“Shim‘on and Levi are brothers,
related by weapons of violence.
6Let me not enter their council,
let my honor not be connected with their people;
for in their anger they killed men,
and at their whim they maimed cattle.
7Cursed be their anger, for it has been fierce;
their fury, for it has been cruel.
I will divide them in Ya‘akov
and scatter them in Isra’el.
8“Y’hudah, your brothers will acknowledge you,
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies,
your father’s sons will bow down before you.
9Y’hudah is a lion’s cub;
my son, you stand over the prey.
He crouches down and stretches like a lion;
like a lioness, who dares to provoke him?
10The scepter will not pass from Y’hudah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his legs,
until he comes to whom [obedience] belongs;
and it is he whom the peoples will obey.
11Tying his donkey to the vine,
his donkey’s colt to the choice grapevine,
he washes his clothes in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk.
13“Z’vulun will live at the seashore,
with ships anchoring along his coast
and his border at Tzidon.
14“Yissakhar is a strong donkey
lying down in the sheep sheds.
15On seeing how good is settled life
and how pleasant the country,
he will bend his back to the burden,
and submit to forced labor.
16“Dan will judge his people
as one of the tribes of Isra’el.
17Dan will be a viper on the road,
a horned snake in the path
that bites the horse’s heels
so its rider falls off backward.
18I wait for your deliverance, Adonai.
(v) 19“Gad [troop]— a troop will troop on him,
but he will troop on their heel.
20“Asher’s food is rich —
he will provide food fit for a king.
21“Naftali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.
22“Yosef is a fruitful plant,
a fruitful plant by a spring,
with branches climbing over the wall.
23The archers attacked him fiercely,
shooting at him and pressing him hard;
24but his bow remained taut;
and his arms were made nimble
by the hands of the Mighty One of Ya‘akov,
from there, from the Shepherd, the Stone of Isra’el,
25by the God of your father, who will help you,
by El Shaddai, who will bless you
with blessings from heaven above,
blessings from the deep, lying below,
blessings from the breasts and the womb.
26The blessings of your father are more powerful
than the blessings of my parents,
extending to the farthest of the everlasting hills;
they will be on the head of Yosef,
on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
(vi) 27“Binyamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey,
in the evening still dividing the spoil.”
28All these are the twelve tribes of Isra’el, and this is how their father spoke to them and blessed them, giving each his own individual blessing.
29Then he charged them as follows: “I am to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave that is in the field of ‘Efron the Hitti, 30the cave in the field of Makhpelah, by Mamre, in the land of Kena‘an, which Avraham bought together with the field from ‘Efron the Hitti as a burial-place belonging to him — 31there they buried Avraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Yitz’chak and his wife Rivkah, and there I buried Le’ah — 32the field and the cave in it, which was purchased from the sons of Het.”
33When Ya‘akov had finished charging his sons, he drew his legs up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.