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Berĕshith (Genesis) 49

49
1And Ya‛aqoḇ called his sons and said, “Gather together, so that I declare to you what is to befall you in the last days:
2“Gather together and hear, you sons of Ya‛aqoḇ, and listen to Yisra’ĕl your father.
3“Re’uḇĕn, you are my first-born, my power and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of exaltation and the excellency of power.
4“Boiling like water, you do not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed, then you defiled it – he went up to my couch.
5“Shim‛on and Lĕwi are brothers, their weapons are implements of violence.
6“Let my being not enter their council, let my esteem not be united to their assembly; because they killed a man in their displeasure, and they lamed an ox in pleasure.
7“Cursed be their displeasure for it is fierce, and their wrath for it is cruel! I divide them in Ya‛aqoḇ and scatter them in Yisra’ĕl.
8“You, Yehuḏah, your brothers praise you; your hand is on the neck of your enemies; your father’s children bow down before you.
9Yehuḏah is a lion’s cub; from the prey you have gone up, my son! He bowed down, he crouched like a lion. And like a lion, who does rouse him?”
10“The sceptre shall not turn aside from Yehuḏah, nor an Inscriber from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him is the obedience of peoples.
11“Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes.
12“His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.
13“Zeḇulun dwells at the seashore, he is for a haven for ships, and his border is unto Tsiḏon.
14“Yissasḵar is a strong donkey lying down between two burdens,
15and he saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant, and he inclined his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a subject to slave labour.
16“Dan rightly rules his people as one of the tribes of Yisra’ĕl.
17“Dan is a serpent by the way, an adder by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider falls backward.
18I have waited for your deliverance, O יהוה!”
19“Gaḏ, a raiding band raids him, but he raids its heel.
20“Bread from Ashĕr is rich, and he gives delicacies of a sovereign.
21“Naphtali is a deer let loose, he gives words of elegance.
22“Yosĕph is an offshoot of a fruit-bearing tree, an offshoot of a fruit-bearing tree by a fountain, his branches run over a wall.
23“And the archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him.
24But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty One of Ya‛aqoḇ – from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Yisra’ĕl - ”
25from the Ěl of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of the heavens from above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26“The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the limit of the everlasting hills. They are on the head of Yosĕph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separated from his brothers.
27“Binyamin is a wolf that tears, in the morning he eats prey, and at night he divides the spoil.”
28All these are the twelve tribes of Yisra’ĕl, and this is what their father spoke to them. And he blessed them, he blessed each one according to his own blessing.
29And he commanded them, and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people, bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Ḥittite,
30in the cave that is in the field of Maḵpĕlah, which is before Mamrĕ in the land of Kena‛an, which Aḇraham bought with the field of Ephron the Ḥittite as a possession for a burial-site.
31There they buried Aḇraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Yitsḥaq and Riḇqah his wife, and there I buried Lĕ’ah –
32the field purchased, and the cave which is in it, from the sons of Ḥĕth.”
33And when Ya‛aqoḇ ended commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.
49
Jacob Blesses His Sons
1Jacob called his sons together and said:
My sons, I am Jacob,
your father Israel.
2Come, gather around,
as I tell your future.
3Reuben, you are my oldest,
born at the peak of my powers;
you were an honored leader.
4Uncontrollable as a flood,
you slept with my wife
and disgraced my bed.
And so you no longer deserve
the place of honor.
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.
9 # Nu 24.9; Rev 5.5. My son, you are a lion
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 harbors
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
fancy 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 worshiped,
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
29-31 # Gn 23.3-20; Gn 25.9,10; Gn 35.28,29. Jacob told his sons:
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.
33 # Ac 7.15. When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he lay down on his bed and died.