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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’s Last Words to His Sons
1Then Jacob called together all his sons and said, “Gather around me, and I will tell you what will happen to each of you in the days to come.
2“Come and listen, you sons of Jacob;
listen to Israel, your father.
3“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength,
the child of my vigorous youth.
You are first in rank and first in power.
4But you are as unruly as a flood,
and you will be first no longer.
For you went to bed with my wife;
you defiled my marriage couch.
5“Simeon and Levi are two of a kind;
their weapons are instruments of violence.
6May I never join in their meetings;
may I never be a party to their plans.
For in their anger they murdered men,
and they crippled oxen just for sport.
7A curse on their anger, for it is fierce;
a curse on their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob;
I will disperse them throughout Israel.
8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
You will grasp your enemies by the neck.
All your relatives will bow before you.
9Judah, my son, is a young lion
that has finished eating its 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 ruler’s staff from his descendants,#49:10a Hebrew from between his feet.
until the coming of the one to whom it belongs,#49:10b Or until tribute is brought to him and the peoples obey; traditionally rendered until Shiloh comes.
the one whom all nations will honor.
11He ties his foal to a grapevine,
the colt of his donkey to a choice vine.
He washes his clothes in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth are whiter than milk.
13“Zebulun will settle by the seashore
and will be a harbor for ships;
his borders will extend to Sidon.
14“Issachar is a sturdy donkey,
resting between two saddlepacks.#49:14 Or sheepfolds, or hearths.
15When he sees how good the countryside is
and how pleasant the land,
he will bend his shoulder to the load
and submit himself to hard labor.
16“Dan will govern his people,
like any other tribe in Israel.
17Dan will be a snake beside the road,
a poisonous viper along the path
that bites the horse’s hooves
so its rider is thrown off.
18I trust in you for salvation, O Lord!
19“Gad will be attacked by marauding bands,
but he will attack them when they retreat.
20“Asher will dine on rich foods
and produce food fit for kings.
21“Naphtali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.
22“Joseph is the foal of a wild donkey,
the foal of a wild donkey at a spring—
one of the wild donkeys on the ridge.#49:22 Or Joseph is a fruitful tree, / a fruitful tree beside a spring. / His branches reach over the wall. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
23Archers attacked him savagely;
they shot at him and harassed him.
24But his bow remained taut,
and his arms were strengthened
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
25May the God of your father help you;
may the Almighty bless you
with the blessings of the heavens above,
and blessings of the watery depths below,
and blessings of the breasts and womb.
26May my fatherly blessings on you
surpass the blessings of my ancestors,#49:26 Or of the ancient mountains.
reaching to the heights of the eternal hills.
May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph,
who is a prince among his brothers.
27“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
devouring his enemies in the morning
and dividing his plunder in the evening.”
28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said as he told his sons good-bye. He blessed each one with an appropriate message.
Jacob’s Death and Burial
29Then Jacob instructed them, “Soon I will die and join my ancestors. Bury me with my father and grandfather in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30This is the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a permanent burial site. 31There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried. There Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, are buried. And there I buried Leah. 32It is the plot of land and the cave that my grandfather Abraham bought from the Hittites.”
33When Jacob had finished this charge to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and joined his ancestors in death.