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Genesis 49

49
Jacob reveals his sons’ destinies
1Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Gather around so that I can tell you what will happen to you in the coming days.
2Assemble yourselves and listen, sons of Jacob;
listen to Israel your father.
3Reuben, you are my oldest son,
my strength and my first contender,#49.3 Or first of my power
superior in status and superior in might.
4As wild as the waters, you won’t endure,
for you went up to your father’s bed,
you went up#49.4 LXX; MT he went up and violated my couch.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers,
weapons of violence their stock in trade.
6May I myself never enter their council.
May my honor never be linked to their group;
for when they were angry, they killed men,
and whenever they wished, they maimed oxen.
7Cursed be their anger; it is violent,
their rage; it is relentless.
I’ll divide them up within Jacob
and disperse them within Israel.
8Judah, you are the one your brothers will honor;
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you rise up.
He lies down and crouches like a lion;
like a lioness—who dares disturb him?
10The scepter won’t depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from among his banners.#49.10 Sam; MT his feet
Gifts will be brought to him;
people will obey him.
11He ties his male donkey to the vine,
the colt of his female donkey to the vine’s branches.
He washes his clothes in wine,
his garments in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will live at the seashore;
he’ll live at the harbor of ships,
his border will be at Sidon.
14Issachar is a sturdy donkey,
bedding down beside the village hearths.#49.14 Or stubbornly lying beneath its saddlebags
15He saw that a resting place was good
and that the land was pleasant.
He lowered his shoulder to haul loads
and joined the work gangs.
16Dan#49.16 Or he judges, or settles disputes will settle disputes for his people,
as one of Israel’s tribes.
17Dan will be a snake on the road,
a serpent on the path,
biting a horse’s heels,
so its rider falls backward.
18I long for your victory, LORD.
19Gad#49.19 Or he attacks or good fortune will be attacked by attackers,
but he’ll attack their back.
20Asher#49.20 LXX, Syr, Vulg; MT from Asher grows fine foods,
and he will supply the king’s delicacies.
21Naphtali is a wild doe
that gives birth to beautiful fawns.#49.21 Or who gives beautiful words
22Joseph is a young bull,#49.22 Heb uncertain
a young bull by a spring,
who strides with oxen.#49.22 Heb uncertain
23They attacked him fiercely and fired arrows;
the archers attacked him furiously.
24But his bow stayed strong,
and his forearms were nimble,#49.24 Heb uncertain; or flexible
by the hands of the strong one of Jacob,
by the name of the shepherd, the rock of Israel,
25by God, your father, who supports you,
by the Almighty#49.25 Heb Shaddai or the Mountain One who blesses you
with blessings from the skies above
and blessings from the deep sea below,
blessings from breasts and womb.
26The blessings of your father exceed
the blessings of the eternal mountains,#49.26 LXX; Heb uncertain
the wealth of the everlasting hills.
May they all rest on Joseph’s head,
on the forehead of the one set apart from his brothers.
27Benjamin is a wolf who hunts:
in the morning he devours the prey;
in the evening he divides the plunder.”
28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them. He blessed them by giving each man his own particular blessing.
Jacob’s death and burial
29Jacob ordered them, “I am soon to join my people. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave that’s in the field of Ephron the Hittite; 30in the cave that’s in the field of Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial property. 31That is where Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried, and where Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried, and where I buried Leah. 32It is the field and the cave in it that belonged to the Hittites.” 33After he finished giving orders to his sons, he put his feet up on the bed, took his last breath, and joined 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.