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Genesis 49

49
Jacob Blesses His Twelve Sons
1Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together so that I can tell you what will happen with you in days to come.#Literally “the latter days”
2Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob!
Listen to Israel your father!
3Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my strength, and the firstfruit of my vigor,
excelling in rank and excelling in power.
4Unstable#Or “reckless” as water, you shall not excel any longer,
for you went up upon the bed of your father,
then defiled it. You went up upon my couch!
5Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
Let me#Or “my soul” not come into their council.
6Let not my person#Or “my glory” be joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
and at their pleasure they hamstrung cattle.
7Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will divide them in Jacob,
and I will scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, as for you, your brothers shall praise you.
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies.
The sons of your father shall bow down to you.
9Judah is a lion’s cub.
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bowed down; he crouched like a lion and as a lioness.
Who shall rouse him?
10The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff between his feet,
until Shiloh comes.
And to him shall be the obedience of nations.
11Binding his donkey to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his clothing in the wine
and his garment in the blood of grapes.
12The eyes are darker than wine,
and the teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun shall settle by the shore of the sea.
He shall become a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong donkey,
crouching between the sheepfolds.
15He saw a resting place that was good,
and land that was pleasant.
So he bowed his shoulder to the burden
and became a servant of forced labor.
16Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a serpent on the way,
a viper on the road
that bites the heels of a horse,
so that its rider falls backward.
18I wait for your salvation, O Yahweh.
19Bandits shall attack Gad,
but he shall attack their heels.
20Asher’s food is delicious,
and he shall provide from the king’s delicacies.
21Naphtali is a doe running free
that puts forth beautiful words.
22Joseph is the bough#Or “son” of a fruitful vine,
a fruitful bough#Or “son” by a spring.
His branches climb over the wall.
23The archers#Literally “the masters of the bow” fiercely attacked him.
They shot arrows at him and were hostile to him.
24But his bow remained in a steady position;
his arms#Literally “the arms of his hands” were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.
From there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
25Because of the God of your father he will help you
and by Shaddai#Or “the Almighty” he will bless you
with the blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and the womb.
26The blessings of your father
are superior to the blessings of my ancestors,
to the bounty of the everlasting hills.
May they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the forehead of the prince of his brothers.
27Benjamin is a devouring wolf,
devouring the prey in the morning,
and dividing the plunder in the evening.
The Death and Burial of Jacob
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, each according to their blessing. 29Then he instructed them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me among my ancestors#Or “fathers” in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah that is before#Or “east of” Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite 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 purchase of the field and the cave which was in it from the Hittites.” 33When Jacob finished instructing his sons he drew his feet up to the bed. Then he took his last breath and was gathered to his people.
49
Jacob blesses his sons
1-2Jacob called his sons together and said:
My sons, I am Jacob,
your father Israel.
Come, gather around,
as I tell your future.
3Reuben, you are my eldest,
born at the peak of my powers;
you were an honoured leader.
4Uncontrollable as a flood,
you slept with my wife
and disgraced my bed.
And so you no longer deserve
the place of honour.
5Simeon and Levi,
you are brothers,
each a gruesome sword.
6I never want to take part
in your plans or deeds.
You slaughtered people
in your anger,
and you crippled cattle
for no reason.
7Now I place a curse on you
because of
your fierce anger.
Your descendants
will be scattered
among the tribes of Israel.
8Judah, you will be praised
by your brothers;
they will bow down to you,
as you defeat your enemies.
9My son, you are a lion#Nu 24.9; Rev 5.5.
ready to eat your victim!
You are terribly fierce;
no one will bother you.
10You will have power and rule
until nations obey you#49.10 until…you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
and come bringing gifts.
11You will tie your donkey
to a choice grapevine
and wash your clothes
in wine from those grapes.
12Your eyes are darker than wine,
your teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun, you will settle
along the seashore
and provide safe harbours
as far north as Sidon.
14Issachar, you are a strong donkey
resting in the meadows.#49.14 resting…meadows: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
15You found them so pleasant
that you worked too hard
and became a slave.
16Dan,#49.16 Dan: In Hebrew “Dan” means “justice” or “judgment”. you are the tribe
that will bring justice
to Israel.
17You are a snake that bites
the heel of a horse,
making its rider fall.
18Our LORD, I am waiting
for you to save us.
19Gad,#49.19 Gad: In Hebrew “Gad” sounds like “attack”. you will be attacked,
then attack your attackers.
20Asher, you will eat food
fine enough for a king.
21Naphtali, you are a wild deer
with lovely fawns.#49.21 with lovely fawns: Or “speaking lovely words”.
22Joseph, you are a fruitful vine
growing near a stream
and climbing a wall.#49.22 wall: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
23Enemies attacked with arrows,
refusing to show mercy.
24But you stood your ground,
swiftly shooting back
with the help of Jacob's God,
the All-Powerful One—
his name is the Shepherd,
Israel's mighty rock.#49.24 mighty rock: The Hebrew text has “rock”, which is sometimes used in poetry to compare the LORD to a mountain where his people can run for protection from their enemies.
25Your help came from the God
your father worshipped,
from God All-Powerful.
God will bless you with rain
and streams from the earth;
he will bless you
with many descendants.
26My son, the blessings I give
are better than the promise
of ancient mountains
or eternal hills.#49.26 eternal hills: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Joseph, I pray these blessings
will come to you,
because you are the leader
of your brothers.
27Benjamin, you are a fierce wolf,
destroying your enemies
morning and evening.
28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is how Jacob gave each of them their proper blessings.
Jacob's death
29-31Jacob told his sons:#Gn 23.3-20.#Gn 25.9-10; Gn 35.29.
Soon I will die, and I want you to bury me in Machpelah Cave. Abraham bought this cave as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, and it is near the town of Mamre in Canaan. Abraham and Sarah are buried there, and so are Isaac and Rebekah. I buried Leah there too. 32Both the cave and the land that goes with it were bought from the Hittites.
33When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he lay down on his bed and died.#Ac 7.15.