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Genesis 49

49
Jacob Blesses His Sons
1Then Jacob called his sons to him. He said, “Come here to me. I will tell you what will happen to you in the future.
2“Come together and listen, sons of Jacob.
Listen to Israel, your father.
3“Reuben, my first son, you are my strength.
Your birth showed I could be a father.
You have the highest position among my sons.
You are the most powerful.
4But you are uncontrolled like water.
So you will no longer lead your brothers.
This is because you got into your father’s bed.
You shamed me by having physical relations with my slave girl.
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers.
They used their swords to do violence.
6I will not join their secret talks.
I will not meet with them to plan evil.
They killed men because they were angry.
And they crippled oxen just for fun.
7May their anger be cursed, because it is too violent.
May their violence be cursed, because it is too cruel.
I will divide them up among the tribes of Jacob.
I will scatter them through all the tribes of Israel.
8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
You will grab your enemies by the neck.
Your brothers will bow down to you.
9Judah is like a young lion.
You have returned from killing, my son.
Like a lion, he stretches out and lies down to rest.
No one is brave enough to wake him.
10Men from Judah’s family will be kings.
Someone from Judah will always be on the throne.
Judah will rule until the real king comes.
And the nations will obey him.
11He ties his donkey to a grapevine.
He ties his young donkey to the best branch.
He can afford to use wine to wash his clothes.
He even uses grape juice to wash his robes.
12His eyes are bright from drinking wine.
His teeth are white from drinking milk.
13“Zebulun will live near the sea.
His shore will be a safe place for ships.
His land will reach as far as Sidon.
14“Issachar is like a strong donkey.
He lies down while carrying his load.
15He will see his resting place is good.
He will see how pleasant his land is.
Then he will put his back to the load.
He will become a slave.
16“Dan will rule his own people
like the other tribes in Israel.
17Dan will be like a snake by the side of the road.
He will be like a dangerous snake lying near the path.
That snake bites a horse’s leg.
And the rider is thrown off backward.
18“Lord, I wait for your salvation.
19“Robbers will attack Gad.
But he will defeat them and drive them away.
20“Asher’s land will grow much good food.
He will grow food fit for a king.
21“Naphtali is like a female deer that runs free.
She has beautiful fawns.
22“Joseph is like a grapevine that produces much fruit.
He is like a healthy vine watered by a spring.
He is like a vine whose branches grow over the wall.
23Men attack him violently with arrows.
They shoot at him angrily.
24But he aims his bow well.
His arms are made strong.
He gets his power from the Mighty God of Jacob.
He gets his strength from the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
25Your father’s God helps you.
God All-Powerful blesses you.
He blesses you with rain from above.
He blesses you with water from springs below.
He blesses you with many babies born to your wives.
He blesses you with many young ones born to your animals.
26The blessings of your father are greater
than the blessings of the oldest mountains.
They are greater than the good things of the long-lasting hills.
May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph.
May they rest on the forehead of the one who was separated from his brothers.
27“Benjamin is like a hungry wolf.
In the morning he eats what he has caught.
In the evening he divides what he has taken.”
28These are the 12 tribes of Israel. And this is what their father said to them. He gave each son the blessing that was right for him. 29Then Israel gave them a command. He said, “I am about to die. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30That cave is in the field of Machpelah east of Mamre. It is in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought that field from Ephron the Hittite for a burying place. 31Abraham and Sarah his wife are buried there. Isaac and Rebekah his wife are buried there. I buried my wife Leah there. 32The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittite people.” 33After Jacob finished talking to his sons, he lay down. He put his feet back on the bed, took his last breath and died.
49
Jacob blesses his sons
1Then Jacob called for his sons and said: ‘Gather round so that I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2‘Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;
listen to your father Israel.
3‘Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, the first sign of my strength,
excelling in honour, excelling in power.
4Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
for you went up onto your father’s bed,
onto my couch and defiled it.
5‘Simeon and Levi are brothers –
their swords#49:5 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain. are weapons of violence.
6Let me not enter their council,
let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
7Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
and disperse them in Israel.
8‘Judah,#49:8 Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise. your brothers will praise you;
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness – who dares to rouse him?
10The sceptre will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,#49:10 Or from his descendants
until he to whom it belongs#49:10 Or to whom tribute belongs; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain. shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
11He will tether his donkey to a vine,
his colt to the choicest branch;
he will wash his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk.#49:12 Or will be dull from wine, / his teeth white from milk
13‘Zebulun will live by the seashore
and become a haven for ships;
his border will extend towards Sidon.
14‘Issachar is a scrawny#49:14 Or strong donkey
lying down among the sheepfolds.#49:14 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
15When he sees how good is his resting-place
and how pleasant is his land,
he will bend his shoulder to the burden
and submit to forced labour.
16‘Dan#49:16 Dan here means he provides justice. will provide justice for his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be a snake by the roadside,
a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that its rider tumbles backwards.
18‘I look for your deliverance, Lord.
19‘Gad#49:19 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for attack and also for band of raiders. will be attacked by a band of raiders,
but he will attack them at their heels.
20‘Asher’s food will be rich;
he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21‘Naphtali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.#49:21 Or free; / he utters beautiful words
22‘Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches climb over a wall.#49:22 Or Joseph is a wild colt, / a wild colt near a spring, / a wild donkey on a terraced hill
23With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
24But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed#49:23,24 Or archers will attack… will shoot… will remain… will stay supple,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25because of your father’s God, who helps you,
because of the Almighty,#49:25 Hebrew Shaddai who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
blessings of the deep springs below,
blessings of the breast and womb.
26Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than#49:26 Or of my progenitors, / as great as the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince among#49:26 Or of the one separated from his brothers.
27‘Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
in the morning he devours the prey,
in the evening he divides the plunder.’
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.
The death of Jacob
29Then he gave them these instructions: ‘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 in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 31There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah. 32The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.#49:32 Or the descendants of Heth
33When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.