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Genesis 49

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].
49
Jacob's Last Words to His Sons
1Then Jacob called his sons, and said: “Gather around, that I may tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob;
listen to Israel your father.
3Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might and the first fruits of my vigor,
excelling in rank and excelling in power.
4Unstable as water, you shall no longer excel
because you went up onto your father's bed;
then you defiled it—you#49.4 Gk Syr Tg: Heb he went up onto my couch!
5Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
6May I never come into their council;
may I not be joined to their company—
for in their anger they killed men,
and at their whim they hamstrung oxen.
7Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob,
and scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father's sons shall bow down before you.
9Judah is a lion's whelp;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion,
like a lioness—who dares rouse him up?
10The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;#49.10 Or until Shiloh comes or until he comes to Shiloh or (with Syr) until he comes to whom it belongs
and the obedience of the peoples is his.
11Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey's colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine
and his robe in the blood of grapes;
12his eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun shall settle at the shore of the sea;
he shall be a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong donkey,
lying down between the sheepfolds;
15he saw that a resting place was good,
and that the land was pleasant;
so he bowed his shoulder to the burden,
and became a slave at forced labor.
16Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a snake by the roadside,
a viper along the path,
that bites the horse's heels
so that its rider falls backward.
18I wait for your salvation, O Lord.
19Gad shall be raided by raiders,
but he shall raid at their heels.
20Asher's#49.20 Gk Vg Syr: Heb From Asher food shall be rich,
and he shall provide royal delicacies.
21Naphtali is a doe let loose
that bears lovely fawns.#49.21 Or that gives beautiful words
22Joseph is a fruitful bough,
a fruitful bough by a spring;
his branches run over the wall.#49.22 Meaning of Heb uncertain
23The archers fiercely attacked him;
they shot at him and pressed him hard.
24Yet his bow remained taut,
and his arms#49.24 Heb the arms of his hands were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25by the God of your father, who will help you,
by the Almighty#49.25 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26The blessings of your father
are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains,
the bounties#49.26 Cn Compare Gk: Heb of my progenitors to the boundaries of the everlasting hills;
may they be on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey,
and at evening dividing the spoil.”
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, blessing each one of them with a suitable blessing.
Jacob's Death and Burial
29Then he charged them, saying to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors—in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 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 that is in it were purchased from the Hittites.” 33When Jacob ended his charge to his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.