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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.

Genesis 49

49
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 swords #49:5 Or dwelling places 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,#49:8 Judah sounds like the Hebrew for praise. 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,#49:10 Or from his descendants
until Shiloh #49:10 Or until the one to whom tribute belongs 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.#49:14 Or saddlebags or hearths
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.
16Dan shall provide justice for his people #49:16 Or Dan shall judge his people; Dan means He has judged or He has vindicated.
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17He will be a snake 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.
19Gad #49:19 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for raid and also for band of raiders. 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.#49:21 Or gives beautiful words or bears fawns of the fold
22Joseph is a fruitful vine—
a fruitful vine by a spring,
whose branches scale the wall.#49:22 Or Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey by a spring, with his wild colts beside the wall
23The archers attacked him with bitterness;
they aimed at him 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 Almighty #49:25 Hebrew Shaddai 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 #49:26 Or of my ancestors
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.