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Genesis 49

49
1Jacob called his sons together, and said, “Gather round so I can tell you what's going to happen to you in the future. 2Come here, sons of Jacob, and listen to Israel your father.
3Reuben. You are my firstborn, conceived when I was strong, born when I was vigorous! You were above all others in position, above all others in power. 4But you boil over like water, so you won't be above anyone anymore, because you went and slept with my concubine;#49:4. See 35:22. you violated my marriage bed.
5Simeon and Levi are two of the same kind—they use their weapons for destructive violence.#49:5. See 34:25. 6I refuse to be part of their decisions; I refuse to participate in what they do. For they killed men in their anger; they crippled cattle just for fun. 7I curse their anger because it is too harsh; I curse their fury because it is too cruel! I will separate their descendants throughout Jacob; I will scatter them throughout Israel.
8Judah, your brothers will praise you. You will defeat your enemies. Your father's sons shall bow down to you in respect. 9My son Judah is a young lion coming back from eating its prey. He crouches and lies down like a lion. Like a lion, who would dare to disturb him? 10Judah will always hold the scepter, and the staff of authority will always be at his feet until Shiloh#49:10. “Shiloh”: there is considerable disagreement among commentators over this word. Many see this as a prophecy relating to the Messiah. comes; the nations will obey him. 11He ties his donkey to the vine, his donkey's colt to the best vine. He washes his clothes in wine, his robes in the red juice of grapes.#49:11. The intent of this verse is that the descendants of Judah would have such prosperity that they could afford to tie donkeys to their vines and have so much wine they could wash their clothes with it. 12His eyes sparkle more than wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will live on the seashore and provide a harbor for ships; his territory will extend towards Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between two saddle bags.#49:14. “Saddle bags”: or, “sheepfolds.” 15He sees that the place where he's resting is good, and the land is lovely, so he's willing to lower his back to accept the burden and to work as a slave.
16Dan will judge#49:16. Dan means judge, see 30:6. his people as one of the tribes of Israel. 17Dan will be as dangerous as a snake beside the road, a viper by the path that bites the horse's heel, throwing its rider off backwards.
18I trust in you to save me, Lord.
19Raiders will attack Gad, but he will attack their heels.
20Asher will have delicious food—he'll produce fancy food for royalty.
21Naphtali is a deer that's free to run; it gives birth to beautiful fawns.#49:21. “Gives birth to beautiful fawns”: or “gives beautiful words.”
22Joseph is a fruitful tree, a fruitful tree beside a spring, whose branches climb over the wall. 23The archers viciously attacked him; they shot their arrows at him with hate. 24But he held his bow steady, and his arms and hands moved quickly in the strength of the Mighty One of Jacob, who is called the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. 25The God of your father will help you and the Almighty will bless you with blessings from the heavens above, with blessings from the depths below, with blessings for many children.#49:25. “Many children”: literally “breasts and womb.” 26The blessings your father received were greater than the blessings of his forefathers, more than the blessings of the eternal mountains.#49:26. The Hebrew of this verse is unclear. May they be upon the head of Joseph, on the forehead of the one set apart as a leader from his brothers.
27Benjamin is a vicious wolf. In the morning he destroys his enemies,#49:27. “Destroys his enemies”: literally “eats the prey.” in the evening he divides the loot.”
28These are all of the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father told them as he blessed them, each according to their respective blessings.
29Then he gave them the following instructions: “I'm going to die soon. Bury me with my forefathers 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 together with the field from Ephron the Hittite to own as a burial site. 31Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried there, Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried there, and I buried Leah there. 32The field and the cave were bought from the Hittites.”
33When Jacob finished giving these instructions he pulled up his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and joined his forefathers in death.
49
Jacob’s Last Words
1Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather around, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the days to come.#49:1 Or in the last days#Nm 24:14; Dt 4:30; 31:29; Is 2:2; Jr 23:20; Dn 2:28; 10:14; Hs 3:5
2Come together and listen, sons of Jacob;
listen to your father Israel:
3Reuben, you are my firstborn,#Gn 29:32
my strength and the firstfruits of my virility,#Dt 21:17
excelling in prominence, excelling in power.
4Turbulent as water, you will not excel,
because you got into your father’s bed#Gn 35:22
and you defiled it — he#49:4 LXX, Syr, Tg read you got into my bed.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers;
their knives are vicious weapons.#Gn 34:25,30
6May I never enter their council;
may I never join their assembly.
For in their anger they kill men,
and on a whim they hamstring oxen.
7Their anger is cursed, for it is strong,
and their fury, for it is cruel!
I will disperse them throughout Jacob
and scatter them throughout Israel.#Ex 32:28; Nm 3:5–13; Dt 33:10; Jos 19:1–9; 1Ch 4:24–39; 2Ch 34:6; Neh 11:25–28
8Judah, your brothers will praise you.#Gn 29:35
Your hand will be on the necks of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.#Gn 27:29; 1Ch 5:2
9Judah is a young lion#Nm 24:9; Ezk 19:5–7; Mc 5:8; Rv 5:5  —
my son, you return from the kill.
He crouches; he lies down like a lion
or a lioness — who dares to rouse him?
10The scepter will not depart from Judah
or the staff from between his feet
until he whose right it is comes#49:10 Or until tribute comes to him, or until Shiloh comes, or until he comes to Shiloh#Nm 2:9; 10:14; 24:17; Jdg 1:1–2; Ps 60:7; 108:8; Ezk 21:27
and the obedience of the peoples belongs to him.#Ps 2:6–9; 72:8–11; Is 42:1,4; 49:6
11He ties his donkey to a vine,
and the colt of his donkey to the choice vine.
He washes his clothes in wine
and his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will live by the seashore
and will be a harbor for ships,
and his territory will be next to Sidon.#Dt 33:19; Jos 19:10–16
14Issachar is a strong donkey
lying down between the saddlebags.#49:14 Or sheep pens
15He saw that his resting place was good
and that the land was pleasant,
so he leaned his shoulder to bear a load
and became a forced laborer.#Jdg 5:15–16
16Dan will judge his people#Dt 33:22; Jdg 13:2,25; 18:25–27
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be a snake by the road,
a viper beside the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that its rider falls backward.
18I wait for your salvation, Lord.
19Gad will be attacked by raiders,
but he will attack their heels.#Dt 33:20; 1Ch 5:18–22; Jr 49:1
20Asher’s#49:19–20 LXX, Syr, Vg; MT reads their heel. 20 From Asher food will be rich,
and he will produce royal delicacies.#Dt 33:24–25; Jos 19:24–31; Jdg 5:17; 1Kg 4:7
21Naphtali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.#Jos 19:32–39
22Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine beside a spring;
its branches#49:22 Lit daughters climb over the wall.#49:22 Hb obscure
23The archers attacked him,
shot at him, and were hostile toward him.
24Yet his bow remained steady,
and his strong arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,#Gn 31:42; Ps 132:2,5; Is 1:24; 49:26
by the name of#49:24 Syr, Tg; MT reads Jacob, from there the Shepherd,#Gn 48:15; Ps 23:1; Jr 31:10 the Rock of Israel,#Ps 118:22; Is 28:16; 1Pt 2:6–8
25by the God of your father who helps you,
and by the Almighty who blesses you
with blessings of the heavens above,
blessings of the deep that lies below,
and blessings of the breasts and the womb.
26The blessings of your father excel
the blessings of my ancestors#49:26 Or of the mountains
and#49:26 Lit to the bounty of the ancient hills.#49:26 Hb obscure#Dt 33:15–16
May they rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince of his brothers.
27Benjamin is a wolf; he tears his prey.
In the morning he devours the prey,
and in the evening he divides the plunder.”#Jdg 5:14; 20:21; 1Sm 14:47–48
28These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all, and this is what their father said to them. He blessed them, and he blessed each one with a suitable blessing.
Jacob’s Burial Instructions
29Then he commanded them, “I am about to be gathered to my people.#Gn 25:8 Bury me with my ancestors#Gn 47:30 in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hethite.#Gn 23:16–20; 50:13 30The cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre, in the land of Canaan. This is the field Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hethite as burial property.#Gn 23:3–20 31Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there,#Gn 23:19; 25:9 Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried there,#Gn 35:29 and I buried Leah there.#Gn 48:7 32The field and the cave in it were purchased from the Hethites.” 33When Jacob had finished giving charges to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed, took his last breath, and was gathered to his people.