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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1And Jacob called his sons, and said to them: Gather yourselves together that I may tell you the things that shall befall you in the last days.
2Gather yourselves together, and hear, O ye sons of Jacob: hearken to Israel your father.
3Ruben, my firstborn, thou art my strength, and the beginning of my sorrow: excelling in gifts, greater in command.
4Thou art poured out as water, grow thou not: because thou wentest up to thy father's bed, and didst defile his couch.
5Simeon and Levi brethren: vessels of iniquity, waging war.
6Let not my soul go into their counsel, nor my glory be in their assembly: because in their fury they slew a man, and in their selfwill they undermined a wall.
7Cursed be their fury, because it was stubborn: and their wrath because it was cruel. I Will divide them in Jacob, and will scatter them in Israel.
8Juda, thee shall thy brethren praise. Thy hands shall be on the necks of thy enemies: the sons of thy father shall bow down to thee.
9Juda is a lion's whelp: to the prey, my son, thou art gone up. Resting thou hast couched as a lion, and as a lioness. Who shall rouse him?
10The sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent: and he shall be the expectation of nations.
11Tying his foal to the vineyard, and his ass, O my son, to the vine. He shall wash his robe in wine, and his garment in the blood of the grape.
12His eyes are more beautiful than wine: and his teeth whiter than milk.
13Zabulon shall dwell on the sea-shore, and in the road of ships, reaching as far as Sidon.
14Issachar shall be a strong ass lying down between the borders.
15He saw rest that it was good: and the land that it was excellent. And he bowed his shoulder to carry, and became a servant under tribute.
16Dan shall judge his people like another tribe in Israel.
17Let Dan be a snake in the way, a serpent in the path, that biteth the horse's heels that his rider may fall backward.
18I will look for thy salvation, O Lord.
19Gad, being girded, shall fight before him: and he himself shall be girded backward.
20Aser: his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield dainties to kings.
21Nephtali: a hart let loose, and giving words of beauty.
22Joseph is a growing son, a growing son and comely to behold: the daughters run to and fro upon the wall.
23But they that held darts provoked him, and quarrelled with him, and envied him.
24His bow rested upon the strong, and the bands of his arms and his hands were loosed, by the hands of the mighty one of Jacob: thence he came forth a pastor, the stone of Israel.
25The God of thy father shall be thy helper, and the Almighty shall bless thee with the blessings of heaven above, with the blessings of the deep that lieth beneath, with the blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26The blessings of thy father are strengthened with the blessings of his fathers: until the desire of the everlasting hills should come. May they be upon the head of Joseph, and upon the crown of the Nazarite among his brethren.
27Benjamin a ravenous wolf, in the morning shall eat the prey, and in the evening shall divide the spoil.
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: these things their father spoke to them, and he blessed every one, with their proper blessings.
29And he charged them, saying: I am now going to be gathered to my people: bury me with my fathers in the double cave, which is in the field of Ephron the Hethite,
30Over against Mambre in the land of Chanaan, which Abraham bought together with the field of Ephron the Hethite for a possession to bury in.
31There they buried him, and Sara his wife. There was Isaac buried with Rebecca his wife. There also Lia doth lie buried.
32And when he had ended the commandments, wherewith he instructed his sons, he drew up his feet upon the bed, and died. And he was gathered to his people.
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