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Genesis 49

49
Jacob Gives Blessings to His Sons
1Then Jacob sent for his sons. He said, “Gather around me so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2“Sons of Jacob, come together and listen.
Listen to your father Israel.
3“Reuben, you are my oldest son.
You were my first child. You were the first sign of my strength.
You were first in honor. You were first in power.
4But you are as unsteady as water. So you won’t be first anymore.
You had sex with my concubine on my bed.
You lay on my couch and made it ‘unclean.’
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers.
Their swords have killed a lot of people.
6I won’t share in their plans.
I won’t have anything to do with them.
They became angry and killed people.
They cut the legs of oxen just for the fun of it.
7May the Lord put a curse on them
because of their terrible anger.
I will scatter them in Jacob’s land.
I will spread them around in Israel.
8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
Your enemies will be brought under your control.
Your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9Judah, you are like a lion’s cub.
You return from hunting, my son.
Like a lion, you lie down and sleep.
You are like a mother lion. Who dares to wake you up?
10The right to rule will not leave Judah.
The ruler’s scepter will not be taken from between his feet.
It will be his until the king it belongs to will come.
The nations will obey that king.
11He will tie his donkey to a vine.
He will tie his colt to the very best branch.
He will wash his clothes in wine.
He will wash his robes in the red juice of grapes.
12His eyes will be darker than wine.
His teeth will be whiter than milk.
13“Zebulun will live by the seashore.
He will become a safe harbor for ships.
His border will go out toward Sidon.
14“Issachar is like a wild donkey
lying down among the sheep pens.
15He sees how good his resting place is.
He sees that his land is pleasant.
So he will carry a heavy load on his back.
He will obey when he’s forced to work.
16“Dan will do what is fair for his people.
He will do it as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be a snake by the side of the road.
He will be a poisonous snake along the path.
It bites the horse’s heels
so that the rider falls off backward.
18Lord, I look to you to save me.
19“Gad will be attacked by a group of robbers.
But he will attack them as they run away.
20“Asher’s food will be rich and sweet.
He will provide food that even a king would enjoy.
21“Naphtali is a female deer set free
and gives birth to beautiful fawns.
22“Joseph is a vine that grows a lot of fruit.
It grows close by a spring.
Its branches climb over a wall.
23Mean people shot arrows at him.
They shot at him because they were angry.
24But his bow remained steady.
His strong arms moved freely.
The hand of the Mighty God of Jacob was with him.
The Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, stood by him.
25Joseph, your father’s God helps you.
The Mighty God blesses you.
He gives you blessings from the sky above.
He gives you blessings from the deep springs below.
He blesses you with children and with a mother’s milk.
26Your father’s blessings are great.
They are greater than the blessings from the age-old mountains.
They are greater than the gifts from the ancient hills.
Let all those blessings rest on the head of Joseph.
Let them rest on the head of the one who is prince among his brothers.
27“Benjamin is a hungry wolf.
In the morning he eats what he has killed.
In the evening he shares what he has stolen.”
28All these are the 12 tribes of Israel. That’s what their father said to them when he blessed them. He gave each one the blessing that was just right for him.
Jacob Dies
29Then Jacob gave directions to his sons. He said, “I’m about to join the members of my family who have already died. Bury me with them in the cave in the field of Ephron, the Hittite. 30The cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre in Canaan. Abraham had bought it as a place where he could bury his wife’s body. He had bought the cave and the field from Ephron, the Hittite. 31The bodies of Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried there. So were the bodies of Isaac and his wife Rebekah. I also buried Leah’s body there. 32Abraham bought the field and the cave from the Hittites.”
33When Jacob had finished telling his sons what to do, he pulled his feet up into his bed. Then he took his last breath and died. He joined the members of his family who had already died.
49
Jacob [Israel] Blesses His 12 Sons
1Jacob called for his sons and said, “Come here, and let me tell you what will happen to you in the days to come.
2“Gather around and listen, sons of Jacob.
Listen to your father Israel.
3Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my strength, the very first son I had,
first in majesty and first in power.
4You will no longer be first
because you were out of control like a flood
and you climbed into your father’s bed.
Then you dishonored it.
He climbed up on my couch.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers.
Their swords are weapons of violence.
6Do not let me attend their secret meetings.
Do not let me join their assembly.
In their anger they murdered men.
At their whim they crippled cattle.
7May their anger be cursed because it’s so fierce.
May their fury be cursed because it’s so cruel.
I will divide them among ⌞the sons of⌟ Jacob
and scatter them among ⌞the tribes of⌟ Israel.
8Judah, your brothers will praise you.
Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies.
Your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9Judah, you are a lion cub.
You have come back from the kill, my son.
He lies down and rests like a lion.
He is like a lioness. Who dares to disturb him?
10A scepter will never depart from Judah
nor a ruler’s staff from between his feet
until Shiloh comes
and the people obey him.
11He will tie his donkey to a grapevine,
his colt to the best vine.
He will wash his clothes in wine,
his garments in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker than wine.
His teeth are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will live by the coast.
He will have ships by the coast.
His border will go as far as Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong donkey,
lying down between the saddlebags.
15When he sees that his resting place is good
and that the land is pleasant,
he will bend his back to the burden
and will become a slave laborer.
16Dan will hand down decisions  #49:16 There is a play on words here between Hebrew Dan and yadin (he will hand down decisions). for his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be a snake on a road,
a viper on a path,
that bites a horse’s heels
so that its rider falls off backwards.
18“I wait with hope for you to rescue me, O Lord.
19Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders,
but he will strike back at their heels.
20Asher’s food will be rich.
He will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21Naphtali is a doe set free
that has beautiful fawns.
22Joseph is a fruitful tree,
a fruitful tree by a spring,
with branches climbing over a wall.
23Archers provoked him,
shot at him,
and attacked him.
24But his bow stayed steady, and his arms remained limber
because of the help of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25because of the God of your father who helps you,
because of the Almighty who gives you
blessings from the heavens above,
blessings from the deep springs below the ground,
blessings from breasts and womb.
26The blessings of your father are greater than
the blessings of the oldest mountains
and the riches of the ancient hills.
May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph,
on the crown of the prince among his brothers.
27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf.
In the morning he devours his prey.
In the evening he divides the plunder.”
28These are the 12 tribes of Israel and what their father said to them when he gave each of them his special blessing.
29Then he gave them these instructions, “I am about to join my ancestors in death. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30Abraham bought the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, east of Mamre in Canaan, from Ephron the Hittite to use as a tomb. 31Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there. Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried there. I also buried Leah there. 32The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.”
33When Jacob finished giving these instructions to his sons, he pulled his feet into his bed. He took his last breath and joined his ancestors in death.