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Genesis 49

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.
49
1Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather around. I want to tell you what you can expect in the days to come.”
2Come together, listen sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel your father.
3-4Reuben, you’re my firstborn,
my strength, first proof of my manhood,
at the top in honor and at the top in power,
But like a bucket of water spilled,
you’ll be at the top no more,
Because you climbed into your father’s marriage bed,
mounting that couch, and you defiled it.
5-6Simeon and Levi are two of a kind,
ready to fight at the drop of a hat.
I don’t want anything to do with their vendettas,
want no part in their bitter feuds;
They kill men in fits of temper,
slash oxen on a whim.
7A curse on their uncontrolled anger,
on their indiscriminate wrath.
I’ll throw them out with the trash;
I’ll shred and scatter them like confetti throughout Israel.
8-12You, Judah, your brothers will praise you:
Your fingers on your enemies’ throat,
while your brothers honor you.
You’re a lion’s cub, Judah,
home fresh from the kill, my son.
Look at him, crouched like a lion, king of beasts;
who dares mess with him?
The scepter shall not leave Judah;
he’ll keep a firm grip on the command staff
Until the ultimate ruler comes
and the nations obey him.
He’ll tie up his donkey to the grapevine,
his purebred prize to a sturdy branch.
He will wash his shirt in wine
and his cloak in the blood of grapes,
His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun settles down on the seashore;
he’s a safe harbor for ships,
right alongside Sidon.
14-15Issachar is one tough donkey
crouching between the corrals;
When he saw how good the place was,
how pleasant the country,
He gave up his freedom
and went to work as a slave.
16-17Dan will handle matters of justice for his people;
he will hold his own just fine among the tribes of Israel.
Dan is only a small snake in the grass,
a lethal serpent in ambush by the road
When he strikes a horse in the heel,
and brings its huge rider crashing down.
18I wait in hope
for your salvation, God.
19Gad will be attacked by bandits,
but he will trip them up.
20Asher will become famous for rich foods,
candies and sweets fit for kings.
21-26Naphtali is a deer running free
that gives birth to lovely fawns.
Joseph is a wild donkey,
a wild donkey by a spring,
spirited donkeys on a hill.
The archers with malice attacked,
shooting their hate-tipped arrows;
But he held steady under fire,
his bow firm, his arms limber,
With the backing of the Champion of Jacob,
the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
The God of your father—may he help you!
And may The Strong God—may he give you his blessings,
Blessings tumbling out of the skies,
blessings bursting up from the Earth—
blessings of breasts and womb.
May the blessings of your father
exceed the blessings of the ancient mountains,
surpass the delights of the eternal hills;
May they rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the one consecrated among his brothers.
27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
all morning he gorges on his kill,
at evening divides up what’s left over.
28All these are the tribes of Israel, the twelve tribes. And this is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each one with his own special farewell blessing.
29-32Then he instructed them: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave in the field of Machpelah facing Mamre in the land of Canaan, the field Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial plot. Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried there; Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried there; I also buried Leah there. The field and the cave were bought from the Hittites.”
33Jacob finished instructing his sons, pulled his feet into bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.