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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
1Jacob called to his sons, and said: “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which will happen to you in the days to come.
2Assemble yourselves, and hear, you sons of Jacob.
Listen to Israel, your father.
3“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength,
excelling in dignity, and excelling in power.
4Boiling over like water, you shall not excel,
because you went up to your father’s bed,
then defiled it. He went up to my couch.
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers.
Their swords are weapons of violence.
6My soul, don’t come into their council.
My glory, don’t be united to their assembly;
for in their anger they killed men.
In their self-will they hamstrung cattle.
7Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce;
and their wrath, for it was cruel.
I will divide them in Jacob,
and scatter them in Israel.
8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies.
Your father’s sons will bow down before you.
9Judah is a lion’s cub.
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down, he crouched as a lion,
as a lioness.
Who will rouse him up?
10The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs.
The obedience of the peoples will be to him.
11Binding his foal to the vine,
his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes will be red with wine,
his teeth white with milk.
13“Zebulun will dwell at the haven of the sea.
He will be for a haven of ships.
His border will be on Sidon.
14“Issachar is a strong donkey,
lying down between the saddlebags.
15He saw a resting place, that it was good,
the land, that it was pleasant.
He bows his shoulder to the burden,
and becomes a servant doing forced labor.
16“Dan will judge his people,
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be a serpent on the trail,
an adder in the path,
that bites the horse’s heels,
so that his rider falls backward.
18I have waited for your salvation, Lord.
19“A troop will press on Gad,
but he will press on their heel.
20“Asher’s food will be rich.
He will produce royal dainties.
21“Naphtali is a doe set free,
who bears beautiful fawns.
22“Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine by a spring.
His branches run over the wall.
23The archers have severely grieved him,
shot at him, and persecuted him:
24But his bow remained strong.
The arms of his hands were made strong,
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
(from there is the shepherd, the stone of Israel),
25even by the God of your father, who will help you,
by the Almighty, who will bless you,
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lies below,
blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.
26The blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of my ancestors,
above the boundaries of the ancient hills.
They will be on the head of Joseph,
on the crown of the head of him who is separated from his brothers.
27“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf.
In the morning he will devour the prey.
At evening he will divide the plunder.”
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them, and blessed them. He blessed everyone according to his own blessing. 29He instructed them, and said to them, “I am 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 with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place. 31There they buried Abraham and Sarah, his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah, his wife, and there I buried Leah: 32the field and the cave that is therein, which was purchased from the children of Heth.” 33When Jacob finished charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, breathed his last breath, and was gathered to his people.