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Genesis 49

49
Jacob blesses his sons
1-2Jacob called his sons together and said:
My sons, I am Jacob,
your father Israel.
Come, gather around,
as I tell your future.
3Reuben, you are my eldest,
born at the peak of my powers;
you were an honoured leader.
4Uncontrollable as a flood,
you slept with my wife
and disgraced my bed.
And so you no longer deserve
the place of honour.
5Simeon and Levi,
you are brothers,
each a gruesome sword.
6I never want to take part
in your plans or deeds.
You slaughtered people
in your anger,
and you crippled cattle
for no reason.
7Now I place a curse on you
because of
your fierce anger.
Your descendants
will be scattered
among the tribes of Israel.
8Judah, you will be praised
by your brothers;
they will bow down to you,
as you defeat your enemies.
9My son, you are a lion#Nu 24.9; Rev 5.5.
ready to eat your victim!
You are terribly fierce;
no one will bother you.
10You will have power and rule
until nations obey you#49.10 until…you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
and come bringing gifts.
11You will tie your donkey
to a choice grapevine
and wash your clothes
in wine from those grapes.
12Your eyes are darker than wine,
your teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun, you will settle
along the seashore
and provide safe harbours
as far north as Sidon.
14Issachar, you are a strong donkey
resting in the meadows.#49.14 resting…meadows: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
15You found them so pleasant
that you worked too hard
and became a slave.
16Dan,#49.16 Dan: In Hebrew “Dan” means “justice” or “judgment”. you are the tribe
that will bring justice
to Israel.
17You are a snake that bites
the heel of a horse,
making its rider fall.
18Our LORD, I am waiting
for you to save us.
19Gad,#49.19 Gad: In Hebrew “Gad” sounds like “attack”. you will be attacked,
then attack your attackers.
20Asher, you will eat food
fine enough for a king.
21Naphtali, you are a wild deer
with lovely fawns.#49.21 with lovely fawns: Or “speaking lovely words”.
22Joseph, you are a fruitful vine
growing near a stream
and climbing a wall.#49.22 wall: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
23Enemies attacked with arrows,
refusing to show mercy.
24But you stood your ground,
swiftly shooting back
with the help of Jacob's God,
the All-Powerful One—
his name is the Shepherd,
Israel's mighty rock.#49.24 mighty rock: The Hebrew text has “rock”, which is sometimes used in poetry to compare the LORD to a mountain where his people can run for protection from their enemies.
25Your help came from the God
your father worshipped,
from God All-Powerful.
God will bless you with rain
and streams from the earth;
he will bless you
with many descendants.
26My son, the blessings I give
are better than the promise
of ancient mountains
or eternal hills.#49.26 eternal hills: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Joseph, I pray these blessings
will come to you,
because you are the leader
of your brothers.
27Benjamin, you are a fierce wolf,
destroying your enemies
morning and evening.
28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is how Jacob gave each of them their proper blessings.
Jacob's death
29-31Jacob told his sons:#Gn 23.3-20.#Gn 25.9-10; Gn 35.29.
Soon I will die, and I want you to bury me in Machpelah Cave. Abraham bought this cave as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, and it is near the town of Mamre in Canaan. Abraham and Sarah are buried there, and so are Isaac and Rebekah. I buried Leah there too. 32Both the cave and the land that goes with it were bought from the Hittites.
33When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he lay down on his bed and died.#Ac 7.15.
49
1(iv) Then Ya‘akov called for his sons and said,
“Gather yourselves together, and I will tell you
what will happen to you in the acharit-hayamim.
2Assemble yourselves and listen, sons of Ya‘akov;
pay attention to Isra’el your father.
3“Re’uven, you are my firstborn,
my strength, the firstfruits of my manhood.
4Though superior in vigor and power
you are unstable as water, so your superiority will end,
because you climbed into your father’s bed
and defiled it — he climbed onto my concubine’s couch!
5“Shim‘on and Levi are brothers,
related by weapons of violence.
6Let me not enter their council,
let my honor not be connected with their people;
for in their anger they killed men,
and at their whim they maimed cattle.
7Cursed be their anger, for it has been fierce;
their fury, for it has been cruel.
I will divide them in Ya‘akov
and scatter them in Isra’el.
8“Y’hudah, your brothers will acknowledge you,
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies,
your father’s sons will bow down before you.
9Y’hudah is a lion’s cub;
my son, you stand over the prey.
He crouches down and stretches like a lion;
like a lioness, who dares to provoke him?
10The scepter will not pass from Y’hudah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his legs,
until he comes to whom [obedience] belongs;
and it is he whom the peoples will obey.
11Tying his donkey to the vine,
his donkey’s colt to the choice grapevine,
he washes his clothes in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk.
13“Z’vulun will live at the seashore,
with ships anchoring along his coast
and his border at Tzidon.
14“Yissakhar is a strong donkey
lying down in the sheep sheds.
15On seeing how good is settled life
and how pleasant the country,
he will bend his back to the burden,
and submit to forced labor.
16“Dan will judge his people
as one of the tribes of Isra’el.
17Dan will be a viper on the road,
a horned snake in the path
that bites the horse’s heels
so its rider falls off backward.
18I wait for your deliverance, Adonai.
(v) 19“Gad [troop]— a troop will troop on him,
but he will troop on their heel.
20“Asher’s food is rich —
he will provide food fit for a king.
21“Naftali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.
22“Yosef is a fruitful plant,
a fruitful plant by a spring,
with branches climbing over the wall.
23The archers attacked him fiercely,
shooting at him and pressing him hard;
24but his bow remained taut;
and his arms were made nimble
by the hands of the Mighty One of Ya‘akov,
from there, from the Shepherd, the Stone of Isra’el,
25by the God of your father, who will help you,
by El Shaddai, who will bless you
with blessings from heaven above,
blessings from the deep, lying below,
blessings from the breasts and the womb.
26The blessings of your father are more powerful
than the blessings of my parents,
extending to the farthest of the everlasting hills;
they will be on the head of Yosef,
on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
(vi) 27“Binyamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey,
in the evening still dividing the spoil.”
28All these are the twelve tribes of Isra’el, and this is how their father spoke to them and blessed them, giving each his own individual blessing.
29Then he charged them as follows: “I am to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave that is in the field of ‘Efron the Hitti, 30the cave in the field of Makhpelah, by Mamre, in the land of Kena‘an, which Avraham bought together with the field from ‘Efron the Hitti as a burial-place belonging to him — 31there they buried Avraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Yitz’chak and his wife Rivkah, and there I buried Le’ah — 32the field and the cave in it, which was purchased from the sons of Het.”
33When Ya‘akov had finished charging his sons, he drew his legs up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.