Jacob’s Last Words
1Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather around, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the days to come.#49:1 Or in the last days#Nm 24:14; Dt 4:30; 31:29; Is 2:2; Jr 23:20; Dn 2:28; 10:14; Hs 3:5
2Come together and listen, sons of Jacob;
listen to your father Israel:
3Reuben, you are my firstborn,#Gn 29:32
my strength and the firstfruits of my virility,#Dt 21:17
excelling in prominence, excelling in power.
4Turbulent as water, you will not excel,
because you got into your father’s bed#Gn 35:22
and you defiled it — he#49:4 LXX, Syr, Tg read you got into my bed.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers;
their knives are vicious weapons.#Gn 34:25,30
6May I never enter their council;
may I never join their assembly.
For in their anger they kill men,
and on a whim they hamstring oxen.
7Their anger is cursed, for it is strong,
and their fury, for it is cruel!
I will disperse them throughout Jacob
and scatter them throughout Israel.#Ex 32:28; Nm 3:5–13; Dt 33:10; Jos 19:1–9; 1Ch 4:24–39; 2Ch 34:6; Neh 11:25–28
8Judah, your brothers will praise you.#Gn 29:35
Your hand will be on the necks of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.#Gn 27:29; 1Ch 5:2
9Judah is a young lion#Nm 24:9; Ezk 19:5–7; Mc 5:8; Rv 5:5 —
my son, you return from the kill.
He crouches; he lies down like a lion
or a lioness — who dares to rouse him?
10The scepter will not depart from Judah
or the staff from between his feet
until he whose right it is comes#49:10 Or until tribute comes to him, or until Shiloh comes, or until he comes to Shiloh#Nm 2:9; 10:14; 24:17; Jdg 1:1–2; Ps 60:7; 108:8; Ezk 21:27
and the obedience of the peoples belongs to him.#Ps 2:6–9; 72:8–11; Is 42:1,4; 49:6
11He ties his donkey to a vine,
and the colt of his donkey to the choice vine.
He washes his clothes in wine
and his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will live by the seashore
and will be a harbor for ships,
and his territory will be next to Sidon.#Dt 33:19; Jos 19:10–16
14Issachar is a strong donkey
lying down between the saddlebags.#49:14 Or sheep pens
15He saw that his resting place was good
and that the land was pleasant,
so he leaned his shoulder to bear a load
and became a forced laborer.#Jdg 5:15–16
16Dan will judge his people#Dt 33:22; Jdg 13:2,25; 18:25–27
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be a snake by the road,
a viper beside the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that its rider falls backward.
18I wait for your salvation, Lord.
19Gad will be attacked by raiders,
but he will attack their heels.#Dt 33:20; 1Ch 5:18–22; Jr 49:1
20Asher’s#49:19–20 LXX, Syr, Vg; MT reads their heel. 20 From Asher food will be rich,
and he will produce royal delicacies.#Dt 33:24–25; Jos 19:24–31; Jdg 5:17; 1Kg 4:7
21Naphtali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.#Jos 19:32–39
22Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine beside a spring;
its branches#49:22 Lit daughters climb over the wall.#49:22 Hb obscure
23The archers attacked him,
shot at him, and were hostile toward him.
24Yet his bow remained steady,
and his strong arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,#Gn 31:42; Ps 132:2,5; Is 1:24; 49:26
by the name of#49:24 Syr, Tg; MT reads Jacob, from there the Shepherd,#Gn 48:15; Ps 23:1; Jr 31:10 the Rock of Israel,#Ps 118:22; Is 28:16; 1Pt 2:6–8
25by the God of your father who helps you,
and by the Almighty who blesses you
with blessings of the heavens above,
blessings of the deep that lies below,
and blessings of the breasts and the womb.
26The blessings of your father excel
the blessings of my ancestors#49:26 Or of the mountains
and#49:26 Lit to the bounty of the ancient hills.#49:26 Hb obscure#Dt 33:15–16
May they rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince of his brothers.
27Benjamin is a wolf; he tears his prey.
In the morning he devours the prey,
and in the evening he divides the plunder.”#Jdg 5:14; 20:21; 1Sm 14:47–48
28These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all, and this is what their father said to them. He blessed them, and he blessed each one with a suitable blessing.
Jacob’s Burial Instructions
29Then he commanded them, “I am about to be gathered to my people.#Gn 25:8 Bury me with my ancestors#Gn 47:30 in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hethite.#Gn 23:16–20; 50:13 30The cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre, in the land of Canaan. This is the field Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hethite as burial property.#Gn 23:3–20 31Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there,#Gn 23:19; 25:9 Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried there,#Gn 35:29 and I buried Leah there.#Gn 48:7 32The field and the cave in it were purchased from the Hethites.” 33When Jacob had finished giving charges to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed, took his last breath, and was gathered to his people.
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B'resheet (Gen) 49
1(iv) Then Ya‘akov called for his sons and said,
“Gather yourselves together, and I will tell you
what will happen to you in the acharit-hayamim.
2Assemble yourselves and listen, sons of Ya‘akov;
pay attention to Isra’el your father.
3“Re’uven, you are my firstborn,
my strength, the firstfruits of my manhood.
4Though superior in vigor and power
you are unstable as water, so your superiority will end,
because you climbed into your father’s bed
and defiled it — he climbed onto my concubine’s couch!
5“Shim‘on and Levi are brothers,
related by weapons of violence.
6Let me not enter their council,
let my honor not be connected with their people;
for in their anger they killed men,
and at their whim they maimed cattle.
7Cursed be their anger, for it has been fierce;
their fury, for it has been cruel.
I will divide them in Ya‘akov
and scatter them in Isra’el.
8“Y’hudah, your brothers will acknowledge you,
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies,
your father’s sons will bow down before you.
9Y’hudah is a lion’s cub;
my son, you stand over the prey.
He crouches down and stretches like a lion;
like a lioness, who dares to provoke him?
10The scepter will not pass from Y’hudah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his legs,
until he comes to whom [obedience] belongs;
and it is he whom the peoples will obey.
11Tying his donkey to the vine,
his donkey’s colt to the choice grapevine,
he washes his clothes in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk.
13“Z’vulun will live at the seashore,
with ships anchoring along his coast
and his border at Tzidon.
14“Yissakhar is a strong donkey
lying down in the sheep sheds.
15On seeing how good is settled life
and how pleasant the country,
he will bend his back to the burden,
and submit to forced labor.
16“Dan will judge his people
as one of the tribes of Isra’el.
17Dan will be a viper on the road,
a horned snake in the path
that bites the horse’s heels
so its rider falls off backward.
18I wait for your deliverance, Adonai.
(v) 19“Gad [troop]— a troop will troop on him,
but he will troop on their heel.
20“Asher’s food is rich —
he will provide food fit for a king.
21“Naftali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.
22“Yosef is a fruitful plant,
a fruitful plant by a spring,
with branches climbing over the wall.
23The archers attacked him fiercely,
shooting at him and pressing him hard;
24but his bow remained taut;
and his arms were made nimble
by the hands of the Mighty One of Ya‘akov,
from there, from the Shepherd, the Stone of Isra’el,
25by the God of your father, who will help you,
by El Shaddai, who will bless you
with blessings from heaven above,
blessings from the deep, lying below,
blessings from the breasts and the womb.
26The blessings of your father are more powerful
than the blessings of my parents,
extending to the farthest of the everlasting hills;
they will be on the head of Yosef,
on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
(vi) 27“Binyamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey,
in the evening still dividing the spoil.”
28All these are the twelve tribes of Isra’el, and this is how their father spoke to them and blessed them, giving each his own individual blessing.
29Then he charged them as follows: “I am to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave that is in the field of ‘Efron the Hitti, 30the cave in the field of Makhpelah, by Mamre, in the land of Kena‘an, which Avraham bought together with the field from ‘Efron the Hitti as a burial-place belonging to him — 31there they buried Avraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Yitz’chak and his wife Rivkah, and there I buried Le’ah — 32the field and the cave in it, which was purchased from the sons of Het.”
33When Ya‘akov had finished charging his sons, he drew his legs up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
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