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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1 Jacob called to his sons, and said: “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which will happen to you in the days to come.
2 Assemble yourselves, and hear, you sons of Jacob.
Listen to Israel, your father.
3“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength,
excelling in dignity, and excelling in power.
4 Boiling over like water, you shall not excel,
because you went up to your father’s bed,
then defiled it. He went up to my couch.
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers.
Their swords are weapons of violence.
6 My soul, don’t come into their council.
My glory, don’t be united to their assembly;
for in their anger they killed men.
In their self-will they hamstrung cattle.
7 Cursed 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.
8“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies.
Your father’s sons will bow down before you.
9 Judah is a lion’s cub.
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down, he crouched as a lion,
as a lioness.
Who will rouse him up?
10 The sceptre will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs.
The obedience of the peoples will be to him.
11 Binding his foal to the vine,
his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be red with wine,
his teeth white with milk.
13“Zebulun will dwell at the haven of the sea.
He will be for a haven of ships.
His border will be on Sidon.
14“Issachar is a strong donkey,
lying down between the saddlebags.
15 He saw a resting place, that it was good,
the land, that it was pleasant.
He bows his shoulder to the burden,
and becomes a servant doing forced labour.
16“Dan will judge his people,
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a serpent on the trail,
an adder in the path,
that bites the horse’s heels,
so that his rider falls backward.
18 I have waited for your salvation, LORD.
19“A troop will press on Gad,
but he will press on their heel.
20“Asher’s food will be rich.
He will produce royal dainties.
21“Naphtali is a doe set free,
who bears beautiful fawns.
22“Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine by a spring.
His branches run over the wall.
23 The archers have severely grieved him,
shot at him, and persecuted him:
24 But his bow remained strong.
The arms of his hands were made strong,
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
(from there is the shepherd, the stone of Israel),
25 even by the God of your father, who will help you,
by the Almighty, who will bless you,
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lies below,
blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of my ancestors,
above the boundaries of the ancient hills.
They will be on the head of Joseph,
on the crown of the head of him who is separated from his brothers.
27“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf.
In the morning he will devour the prey.
At evening he will divide the plunder.”
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them, and blessed them. He blessed everyone according to his own blessing. 29He instructed them, and said to them, “I am 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, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial 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.” 33When Jacob finished charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, breathed his last breath, and was gathered to his people.
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