Jacob Blesses His Sons
1Then Jacob called his sons to him. He said, “Come here to me. 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.
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.
You shamed me by having physical relations with my slave girl.
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers.
They used their swords to do violence.
6I will not join their secret talks.
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.
I will scatter them through all the tribes of Israel.
8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
You will grab your enemies by the neck.
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.
No one is brave enough to wake him.
10Men from Judah’s family will be kings.
Someone from Judah will always be on the throne.
Judah will rule until the real king comes.
And the nations will obey him.
11He ties his donkey to a grapevine.
He ties his young donkey to the best branch.
He can afford to use wine to wash his clothes.
He even uses grape juice to wash his robes.
12His eyes are bright from drinking wine.
His teeth are white from drinking milk.
13“Zebulun will live near the sea.
His shore will be a safe place for ships.
His land will reach as far as Sidon.
14“Issachar is like a strong donkey.
He lies down while carrying his load.
15He will see his resting place is good.
He will see how pleasant his land is.
Then he will put his back to the load.
He will 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.
He will be like 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.
She has beautiful fawns.
22“Joseph is like a grapevine that produces much fruit.
He is like a healthy vine watered by a spring.
He is like a vine whose branches grow over the wall.
23Men attack him violently with arrows.
They 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.
He gets his strength from the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
25Your father’s God helps you.
God All-Powerful blesses you.
He blesses you with rain from above.
He blesses you with water from springs below.
He blesses you with many babies born to your wives.
He blesses you with many young ones born to your animals.
26The blessings of your father are greater
than the blessings of the oldest mountains.
They are greater than the good things of the long-lasting hills.
May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph.
May they rest 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.
In the evening he divides what he has taken.”
28These are the 12 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. He 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. It is in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought that field from Ephron the Hittite for a burying place. 31Abraham and Sarah his wife are buried there. Isaac and Rebekah his wife are buried there. 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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Jacob Speaks Over His Sons
1Jacob called his sons and said to them: Gather together so that I can tell you what will happen to you in the last days.
2Be assembled and listen, sons of Jacob, and listen to Israel your father.
3Reuben, my firstborn are you, my vigor and firstborn of my power, endowed with extra dignity, endowed with extra strength—
4like water boiling over you will not have extra, for you got up into your father’s bed, when you defiled a maid’s couch.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers, instruments of violence are their knives.
6In their secret counsel may my soul not enter. In their contingent may my honor never be united. For in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they maimed oxen.
7Cursed be their anger for it was strong and their rage for it was cruel— I will disperse them in Jacob, I will scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, so you are— your brothers will praise you: Your hand will be on your enemies’ neck. Your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9A lion’s cub is Judah— from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches, lies down like a lion, or like a lioness— who would rouse him?
10The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs will come. To him will be the obedience of the peoples.
11Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine, and in the blood of grapes his robe.
12His eyes are darker than wine, and teeth that are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will dwell by the seashore, and be by a harbor for ships— his distant border reaches Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong-boned donkey, lying down between two saddlebags.
15He saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant. He leaned his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a forced laborer.
16Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Let Dan be a serpent beside a road, a viper beside a path, who strikes a horse’s heels, so that its rider falls backward.
18For your salvation I wait, Adonai!
19Gad—attackers will attack him, but he will attack their heels.
20Asher—rich is his food— he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21Naphtali is a doe let loose, who offers words of beauty.
22A fruitful son is Joseph, a fruitful son beside a spring— daughters walk along a wall.
23The archers were bitter and shot arrows and were hostile towards him.
24Yet his bow was always filled, and his arms quick-moving— by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob. From there a Shepherd, the Stone of Israel,
25from the God of your father who helps you, and Shaddai who blesses you, with blessings of heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of breasts and womb.
26The blessings of your father surpassed the blessings of the ancient mountains, the desire of the everlasting hills. May they be upon Joseph’s head, upon the crown of the one set apart from his brothers.
27Benjamin is a ravening wolf— in the morning he devours spoils, and in the evening divides plunder.
28These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all, and this is what their father spoke to them. He blessed them, each one he blessed with a suitable blessing.
29Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about 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 that is in the field of Machpelah, that is next to Mamre in the land of Canaan—the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a property for burial.
31There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah, and there I buried Leah.
32The field was purchased along with the cave in it from the sons of Het.”
33When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, then breathed his last and was gathered to his peoples.
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