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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
Jacob Speaks Over His Sons
1Jacob called his sons and said to them: Gather together so that I can tell you what will happen to you in the last days.
2Be assembled and listen, sons of Jacob, and listen to Israel your father.
3Reuben, my firstborn are you, my vigor and firstborn of my power, endowed with extra dignity, endowed with extra strength—
4like water boiling over you will not have extra, for you got up into your father’s bed, when you defiled a maid’s couch.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers, instruments of violence are their knives.
6In their secret counsel may my soul not enter. In their contingent may my honor never be united. For in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they maimed oxen.
7Cursed be their anger for it was strong and their rage for it was cruel— I will disperse them in Jacob, I will scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, so you are— your brothers will praise you: Your hand will be on your enemies’ neck. Your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9A lion’s cub is Judah— from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches, lies down like a lion, or like a lioness— who would rouse him?
10The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs will come. To him will be the obedience of the peoples.
11Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine, and in the blood of grapes his robe.
12His eyes are darker than wine, and teeth that are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will dwell by the seashore, and be by a harbor for ships— his distant border reaches Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong-boned donkey, lying down between two saddlebags.
15He saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant. He leaned his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a forced laborer.
16Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Let Dan be a serpent beside a road, a viper beside a path, who strikes a horse’s heels, so that its rider falls backward.
18For your salvation I wait, Adonai!
19Gad—attackers will attack him, but he will attack their heels.
20Asher—rich is his food— he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21Naphtali is a doe let loose, who offers words of beauty.
22A fruitful son is Joseph, a fruitful son beside a spring— daughters walk along a wall.
23The archers were bitter and shot arrows and were hostile towards him.
24Yet his bow was always filled, and his arms quick-moving— by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob. From there a Shepherd, the Stone of Israel,
25from the God of your father who helps you, and Shaddai who blesses you, with blessings of heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of breasts and womb.
26The blessings of your father surpassed the blessings of the ancient mountains, the desire of the everlasting hills. May they be upon Joseph’s head, upon the crown of the one set apart from his brothers.
27Benjamin is a ravening wolf— in the morning he devours spoils, and in the evening divides plunder.
28These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all, and this is what their father spoke to them. He blessed them, each one he blessed with a suitable blessing.
29Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about 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 that is in the field of Machpelah, that is next to Mamre in the land of Canaan—the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a property for burial.
31There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah, and there I buried Leah.
32The field was purchased along with the cave in it from the sons of Het.”
33When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, then breathed his last and was gathered to his peoples.