1And Jacob called unto his sons, and said: Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the latter days.
2Assemble yourselves, and hear, ye sons of Jacob;
And hearken unto Israel your father.
3Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength;
The pre-eminence of dignity, and the pre-eminence of power.
4Boiling over as water, thou shalt not have the pre-eminence;
Because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed;
Then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
5Simeon and Levi are brethren;
Weapons of violence are their swords.
6O my soul, come not thou into their council;
Unto their assembly, my glory, be not thou united;
For in their anger they slew a man,
And in their self-will they hocked an ox.
7Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce;
And their wrath, for it was cruel:
I will divide them in Jacob,
And scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, thee shall thy brethren praise:
Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies;
Thy father’s sons shall bow down before thee.
9Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, thou art gone up:
He stooped down, he couched as a lion,
And as a lioness; who shall rouse him up?
10The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh come;
And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.
11Binding his foal unto the vine,
And his ass’s colt unto the choice vine;
He hath washed his garments in wine,
And his vesture in the blood of grapes:
12His eyes shall be red with wine,
And his teeth white with milk.
13Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea;
And he shall be for a haven of ships;
And his border shall be upon Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong ass,
Couching down between the sheepfolds:
15And he saw a resting-place that it was good,
And the land that it was pleasant;
And he bowed his shoulder to bear,
And became a servant under taskwork.
16Dan shall judge his people,
As one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
An adder in the path,
That biteth the horse’s heels,
So that his rider falleth backward.
18I have waited for thy salvation, O Jehovah.
19Gad, a troop shall press upon him;
But he shall press upon their heel.
20Out of Asher his bread shall be fat,
And he shall yield royal dainties.
21Naphtali is a hind let loose:
He giveth goodly words.
22Joseph is a fruitful bough,
A fruitful bough by a fountain;
His branches run over the wall.
23The archers have sorely grieved him,
And shot at him, and persecuted him:
24But his bow abode in strength,
And the arms of his hands were made strong,
By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel),
25Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee,
And by the Almighty, who shall bless thee,
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that coucheth beneath,
Blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.
26The blessings of thy father
Have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors
Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills:
They shall be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
27Benjamin is a wolf that raveneth:
In the morning he shall devour the prey,
And at even he shall divide the spoil.
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them. 29And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place. 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 therein, which was purchased from the children of Heth. 33And when Jacob made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.
Jacob Blesses His Sons
1Then Jacob called his sons to him. He said, “Come here to me, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the future.
2“Come together and listen, sons of Jacob.
Listen to Israel, your father.”
3“Reuben, my first son, you are my strength.
Your birth showed I could be a father.
You have the highest position among my sons,
and you are the most powerful.
4But you are uncontrolled like water,
so you will no longer lead your brothers.
This is because you got into your father’s bed
and shamed me by having sexual relations with my slave girl.
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers
who used their swords to do violence.
6I will not join their secret talks,
and I will not meet with them to plan evil.
They killed men because they were angry,
and they crippled oxen just for fun.
7May their anger be cursed, because it is too violent.
May their violence be cursed, because it is too cruel.
I will divide them up among the tribes of Jacob
and scatter them through all the tribes of Israel.
8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
You will grab your enemies by the neck,
and your brothers will bow down to you.
9Judah is like a young lion.
You have returned from killing, my son.
Like a lion, he stretches out and lies down to rest,
and no one is brave enough to wake him.
10Kings will come from Judah’s family;
someone from Judah will always be on the throne.
Judah will rule until Shiloh comes,
and the nations will obey him.
11He ties his donkey to a grapevine,
his young donkey to the best branch.
He can afford to use wine to wash his clothes
and the best wine to wash his robes.
12His eyes are dark like the color of wine,
and his teeth are as white as the color of milk.
13“Zebulun will live near the sea.
His shore will be a safe place for ships,
and his land will reach as far as Sidon.
14“Issachar is like a strong donkey
who lies down while carrying his load.
15When he sees his resting place is good
and how pleasant his land is,
he will put his back to the load
and become a slave.
16“Dan will rule his own people
like the other tribes in Israel.
17Dan will be like a snake by the side of the road,
a dangerous snake lying near the path.
That snake bites a horse’s leg,
and the rider is thrown off backward.
18“Lord, I wait for your salvation.
19“Robbers will attack Gad,
but he will defeat them and drive them away.
20“Asher’s land will grow much good food;
he will grow food fit for a king.
21“Naphtali is like a female deer that runs free,
that has beautiful fawns.
22“Joseph is like a grapevine that produces much fruit,
a healthy vine watered by a spring,
whose branches grow over the wall.
23Archers attack him violently
and shoot at him angrily,
24but he aims his bow well.
His arms are made strong.
He gets his power from the Mighty God of Jacob
and his strength from the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
25Your father’s God helps you.
God Almighty blesses you.
He blesses you with rain from above,
with water from springs below,
with many babies born to your wives,
and many young ones born to your animals.
26The blessings of your father are greater
than the blessings of the oldest mountains,
greater than the good things of the long-lasting hills.
May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph,
on the forehead of the one who was separated from his brothers.
27“Benjamin is like a hungry wolf.
In the morning he eats what he has caught,
and in the evening he divides what he has taken.”
28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them. He gave each son the blessing that was right for him. 29Then Israel gave them a command and said, “I am about to die. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30That cave is in the field of Machpelah east of Mamre in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought the field and cave from Ephron the Hittite for a burying place. 31Abraham and Sarah his wife are buried there. Isaac and Rebekah his wife are buried there, and I buried my wife Leah there. 32The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittite people.” 33After Jacob finished talking to his sons, he lay down. He put his feet back on the bed, took his last breath, and died.
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