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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 [Israel] Blesses His 12 Sons
1Jacob called for his sons and said, “Come here, and let me tell you what will happen to you in the days to come.
2“Gather around and listen, sons of Jacob.
Listen to your father Israel.
3Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my strength, the very first son I had,
first in majesty and first in power.
4You will no longer be first
because you were out of control like a flood
and you climbed into your father’s bed.
Then you dishonored it.
He climbed up on my couch.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers.
Their swords are weapons of violence.
6Do not let me attend their secret meetings.
Do not let me join their assembly.
In their anger they murdered men.
At their whim they crippled cattle.
7May their anger be cursed because it’s so fierce.
May their fury be cursed because it’s so cruel.
I will divide them among ⌞the sons of⌟ Jacob
and scatter them among ⌞the tribes of⌟ Israel.
8Judah, your brothers will praise you.
Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies.
Your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9Judah, you are a lion cub.
You have come back from the kill, my son.
He lies down and rests like a lion.
He is like a lioness. Who dares to disturb him?
10A scepter will never depart from Judah
nor a ruler’s staff from between his feet
until Shiloh comes
and the people obey him.
11He will tie his donkey to a grapevine,
his colt to the best vine.
He will wash his clothes in wine,
his garments in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker than wine.
His teeth are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will live by the coast.
He will have ships by the coast.
His border will go as far as Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong donkey,
lying down between the saddlebags.
15When he sees that his resting place is good
and that the land is pleasant,
he will bend his back to the burden
and will become a slave laborer.
16Dan will hand down decisions  #49:16 There is a play on words here between Hebrew Dan and yadin (he will hand down decisions). for his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be a snake on a road,
a viper on a path,
that bites a horse’s heels
so that its rider falls off backwards.
18“I wait with hope for you to rescue me, O Lord.
19Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders,
but he will strike back at their heels.
20Asher’s food will be rich.
He will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21Naphtali is a doe set free
that has beautiful fawns.
22Joseph is a fruitful tree,
a fruitful tree by a spring,
with branches climbing over a wall.
23Archers provoked him,
shot at him,
and attacked him.
24But his bow stayed steady, and his arms remained limber
because of the help of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25because of the God of your father who helps you,
because of the Almighty who gives you
blessings from the heavens above,
blessings from the deep springs below the ground,
blessings from breasts and womb.
26The blessings of your father are greater than
the blessings of the oldest mountains
and the riches of the ancient hills.
May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph,
on the crown of the prince among his brothers.
27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf.
In the morning he devours his prey.
In the evening he divides the plunder.”
28These are the 12 tribes of Israel and what their father said to them when he gave each of them his special blessing.
29Then he gave them these instructions, “I am about to join my ancestors in death. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30Abraham bought the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, east of Mamre in Canaan, from Ephron the Hittite to use as a tomb. 31Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there. Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried there. I also buried Leah there. 32The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.”
33When Jacob finished giving these instructions to his sons, he pulled his feet into his bed. He took his last breath and joined his ancestors in death.