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Genesis 49

49
Chapter 49
Jacob blesses his sons
1Then Jacob called for all his sons. He said, ‘Come here to me. Then I can tell you what will happen to you, in future years. 2You sons of Jacob, come together now and listen to your father, Israel.’ #49:2 Jacob calls himself by both his old name, ‘Jacob’, and the new name that God has given to him, ‘Israel’. He says what is going to happen to each of his sons and to their descendants.
Reuben
3Jacob said, ‘Reuben you are my firstborn son. You were born first, when I was a strong young man. Of all my sons, you are the most famous and the strongest.
4Yet you are as wild as the sea. You had sex with your father's slave wife. This bad thing brought me shame. So you will not become great. #49:4 See Genesis 35:22.
Simeon and Levi
5Simeon and Levi are brothers. They use their swords as weapons to destroy people. #49:5 See Genesis 34:26.
6I will not join them when they decide to do bad things. I will not meet with them. They have killed people when they are angry. They have hurt animals because it makes them happy.
7Their anger is so strong that God will curse them. Their anger makes them do cruel things. So God will curse them. I will make your descendants separate from one another. They will live all over the country of Israel.
Judah
8Judah, your brothers will praise you. You will win against your enemies. Your father's sons will bend down towards the ground in front of you.
9Judah is like a young lion who has eaten good food. He has eaten what he killed and now he rests. Nobody would want to try and wake him up!
10Judah's descendants will always rule as king. They will continue to hold the stick and the sceptre that show the king's authority. They will do that until the man comes who truly has that authority. People from all nations will obey that king. #49:10 King David was from the tribe of Judah, and so was Jesus Christ. Jesus is the true King who rules for ever. A sceptre is something that a king holds. Its shape is like a stick with a ball on the top.
11Judah will tie his young donkey to a vine. It will be a vine that has the best grapes. He will wash his clothes in the red wine that is made from those grapes. #49:11 Vines were valuable plants in Old Testament times. Jacob is saying that Judah will be very rich. He will tie his donkey to the best of his valuable plants. He will wash his clothes in wine. He will be very rich.
12His eyes will become red because he drinks so much wine. His teeth will become white because he drinks so much milk.#49:12 Jacob is saying that Judah will have plenty of everything.
Zebulun
13Zebulun will live by the shore of the sea. His town will be a safe place for ships to stay. His land will go as far as Sidon.
Issachar
14Issachar is like a strong donkey that is lying down between two of its bags.
15He will see that he has a good place to live, with good land. Then he will agree to work hard. He will work like a slave for other people. #49:15 Jacob is saying that Issachar is strong. He is saying that he will work like a donkey. Donkeys carry heavy things in their bags. Issachar will work for other people, to get food and a nice place to stay.
Dan
16Dan will be a ruler for his people. His descendants will be equal with the other tribes of Israel. #49:16 The tribe of Dan was a small tribe, but they had the same authority as all the other tribes.
17He will be small and dangerous, like a snake that lies beside the road. He will be like a snake that bites the legs of horses so that the riders fall off.
18I trust you to save me from trouble, Lord. #49:18 Jacob prays for himself and then he continues.
Gad
19Robbers will attack Gad, but he will fight back against them.
Asher
20Asher will have much good food. It will be good enough for kings to eat.
Naphtali
21Naphtali is like a deer that runs freely and gives birth to beautiful babies.
Joseph
22Joseph is like a vine that has lots of fruit. It grows near a well and its branches go over a wall. #49:22 Jacob means that Joseph's descendants will go and live all over the land.
23His enemies will attack him with arrows. 24But he will hold his own bow strongly. He will shoot his arrows well. The Mighty One of Jacob will give Joseph strength. God, who is Israel's Shepherd and Rock, will help him. #49:24 Mighty One means the God who is very strong. It is a name for the Lord God. Shepherd is also a name for God (see Genesis 48:15). Rock of Israel, means that God is strong and does not change. Jacob knows that God will continue to help Joseph.
25The Almighty God, the God of your father, will help you and he will bless you. He will give you rain that comes from the sky above. He will give you water that comes up from below the ground. He will cause you and your animals to give birth to many children. That is how God will bless you.
26The blessings that I, your father, give to you are great! They are greater than any good things that the old mountains or hills can give to you. They are special blessings for you, Joseph, because you are the leader of your brothers.
Benjamin
27Benjamin is like a hungry wolf. He kills an animal and eats it in the morning. In the evening, he gives what remains to his people.’ #49:27 Jacob is saying that Benjamin will go out and kill his enemies in the morning. And he will return in the evening. In the evening, he will give what he has taken from his enemies to his people.
28All these are the 12 tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He told each of his sons what was right for them and their descendants. #49:28 The descendants of each of Jacob's sons would become a separate group of people. Those are the tribes of Israel (Jacob).
Jacob dies and Joseph buries him
29Then Jacob said to his 12 sons, ‘I am soon going to die. You must take my dead body back to Canaan. Bury me there with my ancestors. Bury me in the cave in the field that belonged to Ephron the Hittite. 30The cave is at Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan. Abraham bought this cave from Ephron as a place to bury his family. 31That is where they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah. They also buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah there. I buried Leah there too. 32Abraham bought the cave and the field from the Hittites.’ 33Jacob finished telling his sons what they should do. Then he lay down on his bed again. He breathed for the last time and he died there.
49
Jacob Blesses His Sons
1Then Jacob called all his sons to him. He said, “My sons, come here to me. I will tell you what will happen in the future.
2“Children of Jacob, gather around.
Come listen to Israel, your father.
Reuben
3“Reuben, my first son, you are my strength,
the first proof of my manhood.
You were the most honored
and powerful of all my sons.
4But your passion was like a flood you couldn’t control.
So you will not remain my most honored son.
You climbed into your father’s bed
and slept with one of his wives.
You brought shame to my bed,
to the bed you lay on.
Simeon and Levi
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers.
They are violent with their swords.
6I will not join their secret meetings.
I will not take part in their evil plans.
They have killed people out of anger
and crippled animals for fun.
7Their anger is so strong that it is a curse.
They are too cruel when they are angry.
They will not get their own land in the land of Jacob.
They will be spread throughout Israel.
Judah
8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
You will defeat your enemies.
Your brothers will bow down to you.
9Judah is like a young lion.
My son, you are like a lion standing over the animal it killed.
Like a lion, Judah lies down to rest,
and no one is brave enough to disturb him.
10Men from Judah’s family will be kings.
The sign that his family rules
will not leave his family before the real king comes.#49:10 before the real king comes Or “until Shiloh comes,” “until the man it belongs to comes,” or “until his tribute comes.”
Then many people will obey and serve him.
11He ties his donkeys to the best grapevines.
He washes his clothes in the best wine.
12His eyes are red from drinking wine.
His teeth are white from drinking milk.#49:10-12 Or “10 The ruler’s scepter will not pass from between Judah’s feet before he gets what is his, that is, the people’s obedience. 11 His young donkey will be tied to the very best grapevines. He will wash his finest clothes in wine, the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes will be redder than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.”
Zebulun
13“Zebulun will live near the sea.
His seacoast will be a safe place for ships.
His land will continue as far as the city of Sidon.
Issachar
14“Issachar is like a donkey that has worked too hard.
He will lie down under his heavy load.
15He will see his land is pleasant
and that his resting place is good.
But he will agree to carry heavy loads;
he will agree to work as a slave.
Dan
16“Dan#49:16 Dan This name means “judge” and is a wordplay with “rule.” will rule his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be like a snake at the side of the road.
He will be like a dangerous snake lying near the path.
That snake bites a horse’s foot,
and the rider falls to the ground.
18Lord, I am waiting for your salvation.
Gad
19“A group of robbers will attack#49:19 A group of robbers will attack The Hebrew words for “group of robbers” and “attack” sound like the name Gad. Gad,
but Gad will chase them away.
Asher
20“Asher’s land will grow much good food.
He will have food fit for a king!
Naphtali
21“Naphtali is like a deer running free,
and his words are beautiful.
Joseph
22“Joseph is like a wild donkey,
like a young donkey by a spring,
like colts grazing in a pasture.#49:22 Or “Joseph is very successful. Joseph is like a vine covered with fruit, like a vine growing by a spring, like a vine growing along a fence.”
23People attacked him and made life hard for him.
Men with arrows became his enemies.
24But he won the fight
with his mighty bow and his skillful arms.
He gets power from the Mighty One of Jacob,
from the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25the God of your father who helps you.
May God All-Powerful bless you
and give you blessings
from the sky above and from the deep below.
May he give you blessings
from breast and womb.
26My parents had many good things happen to them.
And I, your father, was blessed even more.
Your brothers left you with nothing.
But now I pile all my blessings on you,
as high as a mountain.
Benjamin
27“Benjamin is like a hungry wolf.
In the morning he kills and eats.
In the evening he shares what is left.”
28These are the twelve families of Israel. And this is what their father said to them. He gave each son a blessing that was right for him. 29Then Israel gave them a command. He said, “When I die, I want to be with my people. I want to be buried with my ancestors in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30That cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought that field from Ephron so that he could have a burying place. 31Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried in that cave. Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried in that cave. I buried my wife Leah in that cave. 32That cave is in the field that was bought from the Hittites.” 33After Jacob finished talking to his sons, he lay down, put his feet back on the bed, and died.