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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 Blesses His Twelve Sons
1Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together so that I can tell you what will happen with you in days to come.#Literally “the latter days”
2Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob!
Listen to Israel your father!
3Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my strength, and the firstfruit of my vigor,
excelling in rank and excelling in power.
4Unstable#Or “reckless” as water, you shall not excel any longer,
for you went up upon the bed of your father,
then defiled it. You went up upon my couch!
5Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
Let me#Or “my soul” not come into their council.
6Let not my person#Or “my glory” be joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
and at their pleasure they hamstrung cattle.
7Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will divide them in Jacob,
and I will scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, as for you, your brothers shall praise you.
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies.
The sons of your father shall bow down to you.
9Judah is a lion’s cub.
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bowed down; he crouched like a lion and as a lioness.
Who shall rouse him?
10The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff between his feet,
until Shiloh comes.
And to him shall be the obedience of nations.
11Binding his donkey to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his clothing in the wine
and his garment in the blood of grapes.
12The eyes are darker than wine,
and the teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun shall settle by the shore of the sea.
He shall become a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong donkey,
crouching between the sheepfolds.
15He saw a resting place that was good,
and land that was pleasant.
So he bowed his shoulder to the burden
and became a servant of forced labor.
16Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a serpent on the way,
a viper on the road
that bites the heels of a horse,
so that its rider falls backward.
18I wait for your salvation, O Yahweh.
19Bandits shall attack Gad,
but he shall attack their heels.
20Asher’s food is delicious,
and he shall provide from the king’s delicacies.
21Naphtali is a doe running free
that puts forth beautiful words.
22Joseph is the bough#Or “son” of a fruitful vine,
a fruitful bough#Or “son” by a spring.
His branches climb over the wall.
23The archers#Literally “the masters of the bow” fiercely attacked him.
They shot arrows at him and were hostile to him.
24But his bow remained in a steady position;
his arms#Literally “the arms of his hands” were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.
From there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
25Because of the God of your father he will help you
and by Shaddai#Or “the Almighty” he will bless you
with the blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and the womb.
26The blessings of your father
are superior to the blessings of my ancestors,
to the bounty of the everlasting hills.
May they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the forehead of the prince of his brothers.
27Benjamin is a devouring wolf,
devouring the prey in the morning,
and dividing the plunder in the evening.
The Death and Burial of Jacob
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, each according to their blessing. 29Then he instructed them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me among my ancestors#Or “fathers” in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah that is before#Or “east of” Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 31There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife. And there I buried Leah—32the purchase of the field and the cave which was in it from the Hittites.” 33When Jacob finished instructing his sons he drew his feet up to the bed. Then he took his last breath and was gathered to his people.