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Genesis 49

49
Jacob Blesses His Sons
1Then Jacob called all his sons to him. He said, “My sons, come here to me. I will tell you what will happen in the future.
2“Children of Jacob, gather around.
Come listen to Israel, your father.
Reuben
3“Reuben, my first son, you are my strength,
the first proof of my manhood.
You were the most honored
and powerful of all my sons.
4But your passion was like a flood you couldn’t control.
So you will not remain my most honored son.
You climbed into your father’s bed
and slept with one of his wives.
You brought shame to my bed,
to the bed you lay on.
Simeon and Levi
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers.
They are violent with their swords.
6I will not join their secret meetings.
I will not take part in their evil plans.
They have killed people out of anger
and crippled animals for fun.
7Their anger is so strong that it is a curse.
They are too cruel when they are angry.
They will not get their own land in the land of Jacob.
They will be spread throughout Israel.
Judah
8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
You will defeat your enemies.
Your brothers will bow down to you.
9Judah is like a young lion.
My son, you are like a lion standing over the animal it killed.
Like a lion, Judah lies down to rest,
and no one is brave enough to disturb him.
10Men from Judah’s family will be kings.
The sign that his family rules
will not leave his family before the real king comes.#49:10 before the real king comes Or “until Shiloh comes,” “until the man it belongs to comes,” or “until his tribute comes.”
Then many people will obey and serve him.
11He ties his donkeys to the best grapevines.
He washes his clothes in the best wine.
12His eyes are red from drinking wine.
His teeth are white from drinking milk.#49:10-12 Or “10 The ruler’s scepter will not pass from between Judah’s feet before he gets what is his, that is, the people’s obedience. 11 His young donkey will be tied to the very best grapevines. He will wash his finest clothes in wine, the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes will be redder than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.”
Zebulun
13“Zebulun will live near the sea.
His seacoast will be a safe place for ships.
His land will continue as far as the city of Sidon.
Issachar
14“Issachar is like a donkey that has worked too hard.
He will lie down under his heavy load.
15He will see his land is pleasant
and that his resting place is good.
But he will agree to carry heavy loads;
he will agree to work as a slave.
Dan
16“Dan#49:16 Dan This name means “judge” and is a wordplay with “rule.” will rule his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be like a snake at the side of the road.
He will be like a dangerous snake lying near the path.
That snake bites a horse’s foot,
and the rider falls to the ground.
18Lord, I am waiting for your salvation.
Gad
19“A group of robbers will attack#49:19 A group of robbers will attack The Hebrew words for “group of robbers” and “attack” sound like the name Gad. Gad,
but Gad will chase them away.
Asher
20“Asher’s land will grow much good food.
He will have food fit for a king!
Naphtali
21“Naphtali is like a deer running free,
and his words are beautiful.
Joseph
22“Joseph is like a wild donkey,
like a young donkey by a spring,
like colts grazing in a pasture.#49:22 Or “Joseph is very successful. Joseph is like a vine covered with fruit, like a vine growing by a spring, like a vine growing along a fence.”
23People attacked him and made life hard for him.
Men with arrows became his enemies.
24But he won the fight
with his mighty bow and his skillful arms.
He gets power from the Mighty One of Jacob,
from the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25the God of your father who helps you.
May God All-Powerful bless you
and give you blessings
from the sky above and from the deep below.
May he give you blessings
from breast and womb.
26My parents had many good things happen to them.
And I, your father, was blessed even more.
Your brothers left you with nothing.
But now I pile all my blessings on you,
as high as a mountain.
Benjamin
27“Benjamin is like a hungry wolf.
In the morning he kills and eats.
In the evening he shares what is left.”
28These are the twelve families of Israel. And this is what their father said to them. He gave each son a blessing that was right for him. 29Then Israel gave them a command. He said, “When I die, I want to be with my people. I want to be buried with my ancestors in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30That cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought that field from Ephron so that he could have a burying place. 31Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried in that cave. Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried in that cave. I buried my wife Leah in that cave. 32That cave is in the field that was bought from the Hittites.” 33After Jacob finished talking to his sons, he lay down, put his feet back on the bed, and died.
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.