Jacob Blesses His Sons
1Then Jacob called for his sons and said, “Gather around so that I can tell you what will happen to you in the days to come:
2Come together and listen, O sons of Jacob;
listen to your father Israel.
3Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might,
and the beginning of my strength,
excelling in honor,
excelling in power.
4Uncontrolled as the waters,
you will no longer excel,
because you went up to your father’s bed,
onto my couch, and defiled it.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers;
their swords #49:5 Or dwelling places are weapons of violence.
6May I never enter their council;
may I never join their assembly.
For they kill men in their anger,
and hamstring oxen on a whim.
7Cursed be their anger, for it is strong,
and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will disperse them in Jacob
and scatter them in Israel.
8Judah,#49:8 Judah sounds like the Hebrew for praise. your brothers shall praise you.
Your hand shall be on the necks of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
9Judah is a young lion—
my son, you return from the prey.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down;
like a lioness, who dares to rouse him?
10The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the staff from between his feet,#49:10 Or from his descendants
until Shiloh #49:10 Or until the one to whom tribute belongs comes
and the allegiance of the nations is his.
11He ties his donkey to the vine,
his colt to the choicest branch.
He washes his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun shall dwell by the seashore
and become a harbor for ships;
his border shall extend to Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong donkey,
lying down between the sheepfolds.#49:14 Or saddlebags or hearths
15He saw that his resting place was good
and that his land was pleasant,
so he bent his shoulder to the burden
and submitted to labor as a servant.
16Dan shall provide justice for his people #49:16 Or Dan shall judge his people; Dan means He has judged or He has vindicated.
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17He will be a snake by the road,
a viper in the path
that bites the horse’s heels
so that its rider tumbles backward.
18I await Your salvation, O Lord.
19Gad #49:19 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for raid and also for band of raiders. will be attacked by raiders,
but he will attack their heels.
20Asher’s food will be rich;
he shall provide royal delicacies.
21Naphtali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.#49:21 Or gives beautiful words or bears fawns of the fold
22Joseph is a fruitful vine—
a fruitful vine by a spring,
whose branches scale the wall.#49:22 Or Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey by a spring, with his wild colts beside the wall
23The archers attacked him with bitterness;
they aimed at him in hostility.
24Yet he steadied his bow,
and his strong arms were tempered
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
in the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25by the God of your father who helps you,
and by the Almighty #49:25 Hebrew Shaddai who blesses you,
with blessings of the heavens above,
with blessings of the depths below,
with blessings of the breasts and womb.
26The blessings of your father have surpassed
the blessings of the ancient mountains #49:26 Or of my ancestors
and the bounty of the everlasting hills.
May they rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince of his brothers.
27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
in the morning he devours the prey,
in the evening he divides the plunder.”
28These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all, and this was what their father said to them. He blessed them, and he blessed each one with a suitable blessing.
The Death of Jacob
29Then Jacob instructed them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30The cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre, in the land of Canaan. This is the field Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 31There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried, and there I buried Leah. 32The field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites.”
33When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he pulled his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and he was gathered to his people.