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Bereshis 49

49
1And Ya'akov called unto his banim, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the acharit hayamim (last days). 2Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye Bnei Ya'akov; and pay heed unto Yisroel Avichem. 3Reuven, thou art my bechor, my koach, and the reshit of my strength, the excellency of honor, and excellency of oz (power): 4Unstable as mayim, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to mishkevei avicha (thy father's bed, i.e. incest); then defiledst thou it; he went up to my couch. 5Shimon and Levi are achim; kelei chamas (instruments of violence) are in their swords. 6O my nefesh, enter not thou into their sod (secret, council); unto their kehal, mine kavod, be not thou united; for in their anger they slaughtered ish, and in their ratzon (self-will) they lamed shor (ox). 7Arur (cursed) be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel; I will dispense them in Ya'akov, and scatter them in Yisroel. 8Yehudah, thou art he whom thy achim yoducha (they will praise you); thy yad shall be in the oref (neck) of thine enemies; Bnei Avicha shall bow down before thee. 9Yehudah is the cub of an aryeh (lion); from the prey, beni (my son), thou hast gone up; he stooped down, he couched like an aryeh, and like a lioness; who shall rouse him? 10The shevet (sceptre) shall not depart from Yehudah, nor a Mekhokek (Lawgiver) from between his raglayim, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall be the obedience of the amim (peoples, nations). 11He ties his foal unto the gefen (vine), and his donkey's colt unto the choice vine; he will wash his levush (garments) in yayin, and his robe in the dahm anavim (blood of grapes); 12His eyes shall be darker with yayin, and his shinayim (teeth) whiter than cholov (milk). 13Zevulun shall dwell at the seashore; and he shall be a haven for oniyyot (ships); and his border shall be unto Tzidon. 14Yissakhar is a strong chamor (donkey) lying down between two saddlebags; 15And he saw that a menuchah (resting place) was tov, and haaretz that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became oved (submitting, enslaved) at forced labor. 16Dan yadin (shall judge) his people, as one of the Shivtei Yisroel. 17Dan shall be a nachash beside the derech, a viper along the orach (path) that biteth the ikkvei sus (the horse heels), so that its rider shall fall backward. 18I have waited for Thy Yeshuah (Salvation), Hashem. 19Gad, gedud (raider) shall raid him; but he shall raid akev ([at] the heel). 20Out of Asher his lechem shall be rich, and he shall yield royal dainties. 21Naphtali is a doe let loose; he giveth goodly sayings. 22Yosef is a ben of a fruittree, even ben of a fruit-tree near an ayin (spring, well); its daughters (i.e., branches) run over the wall; 23The ba'alei khitzim (archers) provoke him, and shoot at him, and hate him; 24But his keshet (bow) remained steady, and the arms of his hands remain strong, from the hands of the Avir Ya'akov, from there, from the Ro'eh, Even Yisroel; 25And from El Avicha, who shall help thee; and Shaddai, who shall make berakhah over thee with Birkat Shomayim above, Birkat Tehom that lieth beneath, Birkat Shadayim and of Rekhem. 26Birkat Avicha surpass the Birkat of my progenitors unto the utmost border of the giveot olam (everlasting hills); they shall come on the rosh Yosef, and on the brow of the Prince among his achim. 27Binyamin--a ze'ev (wolf) which tears in pieces; in the boker he shall devour the prey, and at erev he shall divide the plunder. 28All these are the Shivtei Yisroel; and this is it that Avichem spoke unto them, and made a berakhah on them; every one according to his berakhah he blessed them. 29And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people; bury me with Avotai in the me'arah (cave) that is in the sadeh of Ephron the Chitti, 30In the me'arah that is in the sadeh of Machpelah, which is near Mamre, in Eretz Kena'an, which Avraham bought with the sadeh of Ephron the Chitti for an achuzzat kever (burial estate). 31There they buried Avraham and Sarah his isha; there they buried Yitzchak and Rivkah his isha; and there I buried Leah. 32The purchase of the sadeh and of the me'arah (cave) that is therein was from the Bnei Chet (Heth). 33And when Ya'akov had made an end of commanding his banim, he gathered up his raglayim into the mittah, and expired, and was gathered unto his people.
49
Israel’s Prophecy concerning His Sons
1Then Jacob called for his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves [around me] that I may tell you what will happen to you and your descendants #See Deut 33, where Moses blesses the same tribes in a similar prophetic way.in the days to come.
2Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob;
And listen to Israel (Jacob) your father.
3“Reuben, you are my #Reuben was the eldest of Jacob’s twelve sons and therefore entitled to the birthright, which would make him successor to his father as head of the family or tribe, and inheritor of a double portion of his father’s estate. But Reuben forfeited all this by his conduct with Bilhah, his father’s concubine (35:22). By adopting Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and giving each of them a portion of the inheritance, Jacob virtually gave Joseph the extra portion of the land that would have gone to Reuben. Judah became the tribal leader in Reuben’s place (49:8-10).firstborn;
My might, the beginning of my strength and vigor,
Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power [that should have been your birthright].
4But unstable and reckless and boiling over like water [in sinful lust], you shall #The fertile land once occupied by the tribe of Reuben was deserted by its settled inhabitants and given over to the tribal nomads of the desert. Because of his behavior, Reuben had forfeited his rights as the firstborn even before Jacob’s prophecy.not excel or have the preeminence [of the firstborn],
Because you went up to your father’s bed [with Bilhah];
You defiled it—he went up to my couch.
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers [equally headstrong, deceitful, vindictive, and cruel];
Their swords are weapons of violence and revenge.
6O my soul, do not come into their secret council;
Let not my glory (honor) be united with their assembly [for I knew nothing of their plot];
Because in their anger they killed men [an honored man, Shechem, and the Shechemites],
And in their self-will they lamed oxen.
7Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce;
And their wrath, for it was cruel.
I will divide and disperse them in Jacob,
And #This prophecy was fulfilled when the tribe of Levi received no inheritance except forty-eight towns scattered throughout different parts of Canaan. The tribe of Simeon was originally given only a few towns and villages in the midst of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah (Josh 19:1).scatter them in [the midst of the land of] Israel.
8“Judah, you are the one whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
9Judah, a lion’s cub;
With the prey, my son, you have gone high up [the mountain].
He stooped down, he crouched like a lion,
And like a lion—who dares rouse him?
10The scepter [of royalty] shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh [the Messiah, the Peaceful One] comes,
And to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11Tying #I.e. the tribe of Judah.his foal to the [strong] vine
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
He washes his clothing in wine [because the grapevine produces abundantly],
And his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker and sparkle more than wine,
And his teeth whiter than milk.
13“Zebulun shall dwell at the seashore;
And he shall be a haven (landing place) for ships,
And his flank shall be toward Sidon.
14“Issachar is [like] a strong-boned donkey,
Crouching down between the sheepfolds.
15When he saw that the resting place was good
And that the land was pleasant,
He bowed his shoulder to bear [burdens],
And became a servant at forced labor.
16“Dan shall judge his people,
As one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a [venomous] serpent in the way,
A fanged snake in the path,
That bites the horse’s heels,
So that his rider falls backward.
18I wait for Your salvation, O Lord.
19“As for #The Hebrew word from which the name “Gad” is derived has two meanings. In this verse the Hebrew meaning is associated with a “raiding troop” but in 30:11 it is associated with “good fortune.”Gad—a raiding troop shall raid him,
But he shall raid at their heels and assault them [victoriously].
20“Asher’s food [supply] shall be rich and bountiful,
And he shall yield and deliver royal delights.
21“Naphtali is a doe let loose, [a swift warrior,]
Which yields branched antlers (eloquent words).
22“Joseph is a fruitful bough (a main branch of the vine),
A fruitful bough by a spring (a well, a fountain);
Its branches run over the wall [influencing others].
23The [skilled] archers have bitterly attacked and provoked him;
They have shot [at him] and harassed him.
24But his bow remained firm and steady [in the Strength that does not fail],
For his arms were made strong and agile
By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
(By the name of the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25By the God of your father who will help you,
And by the #Heb Shaddai.Almighty who blesses you
With blessings of the heavens above,
Blessings lying in the deep that couches beneath,
Blessings of the [nursing] breasts and of the [fertile] womb.
26The blessings of your father
Are greater than the blessings of my ancestors [Abraham and Isaac]
Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills;
They shall be on the head of Joseph,
Even on the crown of the head of him who was the distinguished one and the one who is prince among (separate from) his brothers.
27“Benjamin is a #The tribe of Benjamin invariably displayed courage and ferocity, particularly in their war with the other tribes. The tribe of Benjamin was absorbed by the tribe of Judah and is not mentioned after the return from the Babylonian captivity, except in connection with its former land or as the source of some individual person. Ehud, Saul, Jonathan, and the apostle Paul were Benjamites.ravenous wolf;
In the morning he devours the prey,
And at night he divides the spoil.”
28All these are the [beginnings of the] twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each one according to the blessing appropriate to him. 29He charged 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 in the field at Machpelah, east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, that Abraham bought, along with the field from Ephron the Hittite, to possess 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 field and the cave that is in it was purchased from the sons of Heth.” 33When Jacob (Israel) had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was #See note 25:8.gathered to his people [who had preceded him in death].