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Genesis 49

49
1 Then Jacob called his sons, and he said to them: "Gather together, so that I may announce what will happen to you in the last days.
2 Gather together and listen, O sons of Jacob. Listen to Israel, your father.
3 Reuben, my firstborn, you are my strength and the beginning of my sorrow: first in gifts, greater in authority.
4 You are being poured out like water, may you not increase. For you climbed onto your father's bed, and you defiled his resting place.
5 The brothers Simeon and Levi: vessels of iniquity waging war.
6 Let not my soul go by their counsel, nor my glory be within their meeting. For in their fury they killed a man, and in their self-will they undermined a wall.
7 Cursed be their fury, because it was obstinate, and their indignation, because it was harsh. I will divide them in Jacob, and I will scatter them in Israel.
8 Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your hand will be at the necks of your enemies; the sons of your father will reverence you.
9 Judah is a lion's young. You have gone up to the prey, my son. While resting, you have lain like a lion. And just like a lioness, who would rouse him?
10 The scepter from Judah and the leader from his thigh will not be taken away, until he who will be sent arrives, and he will be the expectation of Gentiles.
11 Tying his young colt to the vineyard, and his donkey, O my son, to the vine, he will wash his robe in wine, and his cloak in the blood of the grape.
12 His eyes are more beautiful than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.
13 Zebulun will live at the seashore and by the outpost of ships, reaching as far as Sidon.
14 Issachar will be a strong donkey, reclining between the borders.
15 He saw that rest would be good, and that the land was excellent. And so he bent his shoulder to carry, and he became a servant under tribute.
16 Dan will judge his people just like any other tribe in Israel.
17 Let Dan be a snake in the way, a viper in the path, biting the hooves of horses, so that his rider may fall backward.
18 I will wait for your salvation, O Lord.
19 Gad, being girded, will fight before him. And he himself will be girded backward.
20 Asher: his bread will be fat, and he will provide delicacies to the kings.
21 Naphtali is a stag sent forth, offering words of eloquent beauty.
22 Joseph is a growing son, a growing son and stately to behold; the daughters run back and forth on the wall.
23 But those who held darts, provoked him, and they contend with him, and they envied him.
24 His bow sits in strength, and the bands of his arms and hands have been let loose by the hands of the mighty one of Jacob. From there he went forth as a pastor, the stone of Israel.
25 The God of your father will be your helper, and the Almighty will bless you with the blessings of heaven above, with the blessings of the abyss that lies beneath, with the blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father are strengthened by the blessings of his fathers, until the desire of the hills of eternity shall arrive. May they be at the head of Joseph, and at the summit of the Nazarite, among his brothers.
27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning he will eat the prey, and in the evening he will divide the spoil."
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. These things their father spoke to them, and he blessed each one with their proper blessings.
29 And he instructed them, saying: "I am being gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the double cave, which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30 opposite Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought, along with its field, from Ephron the Hittite, as a possession for burial.
31 There they buried him, with his wife Sarah." And there Isaac was buried with his wife Rebekah. There also Leah lies preserved.
32 And having finished these commands by which he instructed his sons, he drew his feet onto the bed, and he passed away. And he was gathered to his people.
49
Israel’s Prophecy concerning His Sons
1Then Jacob called for his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves [around me] that I may tell you what will happen to you and your descendants #See Deut 33, where Moses blesses the same tribes in a similar prophetic way.in the days to come.
2Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob;
And listen to Israel (Jacob) your father.
3“Reuben, you are my #Reuben was the eldest of Jacob’s twelve sons and therefore entitled to the birthright, which would make him successor to his father as head of the family or tribe, and inheritor of a double portion of his father’s estate. But Reuben forfeited all this by his conduct with Bilhah, his father’s concubine (35:22). By adopting Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and giving each of them a portion of the inheritance, Jacob virtually gave Joseph the extra portion of the land that would have gone to Reuben. Judah became the tribal leader in Reuben’s place (49:8-10).firstborn;
My might, the beginning of my strength and vigor,
Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power [that should have been your birthright].
4But unstable and reckless and boiling over like water [in sinful lust], you shall #The fertile land once occupied by the tribe of Reuben was deserted by its settled inhabitants and given over to the tribal nomads of the desert. Because of his behavior, Reuben had forfeited his rights as the firstborn even before Jacob’s prophecy.not excel or have the preeminence [of the firstborn],
Because you went up to your father’s bed [with Bilhah];
You defiled it—he went up to my couch.
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers [equally headstrong, deceitful, vindictive, and cruel];
Their swords are weapons of violence and revenge.
6O my soul, do not come into their secret council;
Let not my glory (honor) be united with their assembly [for I knew nothing of their plot];
Because in their anger they killed men [an honored man, Shechem, and the Shechemites],
And in their self-will they lamed oxen.
7Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce;
And their wrath, for it was cruel.
I will divide and disperse them in Jacob,
And #This prophecy was fulfilled when the tribe of Levi received no inheritance except forty-eight towns scattered throughout different parts of Canaan. The tribe of Simeon was originally given only a few towns and villages in the midst of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah (Josh 19:1).scatter them in [the midst of the land of] Israel.
8“Judah, you are the one whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
9Judah, a lion’s cub;
With the prey, my son, you have gone high up [the mountain].
He stooped down, he crouched like a lion,
And like a lion—who dares rouse him?
10The scepter [of royalty] shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh [the Messiah, the Peaceful One] comes,
And to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11Tying #I.e. the tribe of Judah.his foal to the [strong] vine
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
He washes his clothing in wine [because the grapevine produces abundantly],
And his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker and sparkle more than wine,
And his teeth whiter than milk.
13“Zebulun shall dwell at the seashore;
And he shall be a haven (landing place) for ships,
And his flank shall be toward Sidon.
14“Issachar is [like] a strong-boned donkey,
Crouching down between the sheepfolds.
15When he saw that the resting place was good
And that the land was pleasant,
He bowed his shoulder to bear [burdens],
And became a servant at forced labor.
16“Dan shall judge his people,
As one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a [venomous] serpent in the way,
A fanged snake in the path,
That bites the horse’s heels,
So that his rider falls backward.
18I wait for Your salvation, O Lord.
19“As for #The Hebrew word from which the name “Gad” is derived has two meanings. In this verse the Hebrew meaning is associated with a “raiding troop” but in 30:11 it is associated with “good fortune.”Gad—a raiding troop shall raid him,
But he shall raid at their heels and assault them [victoriously].
20“Asher’s food [supply] shall be rich and bountiful,
And he shall yield and deliver royal delights.
21“Naphtali is a doe let loose, [a swift warrior,]
Which yields branched antlers (eloquent words).
22“Joseph is a fruitful bough (a main branch of the vine),
A fruitful bough by a spring (a well, a fountain);
Its branches run over the wall [influencing others].
23The [skilled] archers have bitterly attacked and provoked him;
They have shot [at him] and harassed him.
24But his bow remained firm and steady [in the Strength that does not fail],
For his arms were made strong and agile
By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
(By the name of the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25By the God of your father who will help you,
And by the #Heb Shaddai.Almighty who blesses you
With blessings of the heavens above,
Blessings lying in the deep that couches beneath,
Blessings of the [nursing] breasts and of the [fertile] womb.
26The blessings of your father
Are greater than the blessings of my ancestors [Abraham and Isaac]
Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills;
They shall be on the head of Joseph,
Even on the crown of the head of him who was the distinguished one and the one who is prince among (separate from) his brothers.
27“Benjamin is a #The tribe of Benjamin invariably displayed courage and ferocity, particularly in their war with the other tribes. The tribe of Benjamin was absorbed by the tribe of Judah and is not mentioned after the return from the Babylonian captivity, except in connection with its former land or as the source of some individual person. Ehud, Saul, Jonathan, and the apostle Paul were Benjamites.ravenous wolf;
In the morning he devours the prey,
And at night he divides the spoil.”
28All these are the [beginnings of the] twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each one according to the blessing appropriate to him. 29He charged 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 Hittite, 30in the cave in the field at Machpelah, east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, that Abraham bought, along with the field from Ephron the Hittite, to possess as a burial site. 31There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah— 32the field and the cave that is in it was purchased from the sons of Heth.” 33When Jacob (Israel) had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was #See note 25:8.gathered to his people [who had preceded him in death].