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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
1Then Jacob called for his sons and said: ‘Gather round so that I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2‘Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;
listen to your father Israel.
3‘Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, the first sign of my strength,
excelling in honour, excelling in power.
4Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
for you went up onto your father’s bed,
onto my couch and defiled it.
5‘Simeon and Levi are brothers –
their swords#49:5 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain. are weapons of violence.
6Let me not enter their council,
let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
7Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
and disperse them in Israel.
8‘Judah,#49:8 Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise. your brothers will praise you;
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness – who dares to rouse him?
10The sceptre will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,#49:10 Or from his descendants
until he to whom it belongs#49:10 Or to whom tribute belongs; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain. shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
11He will tether his donkey to a vine,
his colt to the choicest branch;
he will wash his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk.#49:12 Or will be dull from wine, / his teeth white from milk
13‘Zebulun will live by the seashore
and become a haven for ships;
his border will extend towards Sidon.
14‘Issachar is a scrawny#49:14 Or strong donkey
lying down among the sheepfolds.#49:14 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
15When he sees how good is his resting-place
and how pleasant is his land,
he will bend his shoulder to the burden
and submit to forced labour.
16‘Dan#49:16 Dan here means he provides justice. will provide justice for his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be a snake by the roadside,
a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that its rider tumbles backwards.
18‘I look for your deliverance, Lord.
19‘Gad#49:19 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for attack and also for band of raiders. will be attacked by a band of raiders,
but he will attack them at their heels.
20‘Asher’s food will be rich;
he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21‘Naphtali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.#49:21 Or free; / he utters beautiful words
22‘Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches climb over a wall.#49:22 Or Joseph is a wild colt, / a wild colt near a spring, / a wild donkey on a terraced hill
23With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
24But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed#49:23,24 Or archers will attack… will shoot… will remain… will stay supple,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25because of your father’s God, who helps you,
because of the Almighty,#49:25 Hebrew Shaddai who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
blessings of the deep springs below,
blessings of the breast and womb.
26Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than#49:26 Or of my progenitors, / as great as the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince among#49:26 Or of the one separated from his brothers.
27‘Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
in the morning he devours the prey,
in the evening he divides the plunder.’
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.
The death of Jacob
29Then he gave them these instructions: ‘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 in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 31There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah. 32The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.#49:32 Or the descendants of Heth
33When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.