Jacob blesses his sons
1-2Jacob called his sons together and said:
My sons, I am Jacob,
your father Israel.
Come, gather around,
as I tell your future.
3Reuben, you are my eldest,
born at the peak of my powers;
you were an honoured leader.
4Uncontrollable as a flood,
you slept with my wife
and disgraced my bed.
And so you no longer deserve
the place of honour.
5Simeon and Levi,
you are brothers,
each a gruesome sword.
6I never want to take part
in your plans or deeds.
You slaughtered people
in your anger,
and you crippled cattle
for no reason.
7Now I place a curse on you
your fierce anger.
will be scattered
among the tribes of Israel.
8Judah, you will be praised
by your brothers;
they will bow down to you,
as you defeat your enemies.
9My son, you are a lion#Nu 24.9; Rev 5.5.
ready to eat your victim!
You are terribly fierce;
no one will bother you.
10You will have power and rule
until nations obey you#49.10 until…you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
and come bringing gifts.
11You will tie your donkey
to a choice grapevine
and wash your clothes
in wine from those grapes.
12Your eyes are darker than wine,
your teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun, you will settle
along the seashore
and provide safe harbours
as far north as Sidon.
14Issachar, you are a strong donkey
resting in the meadows.#49.14 resting…meadows: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
15You found them so pleasant
that you worked too hard
and became a slave.
16Dan,#49.16 Dan: In Hebrew “Dan” means “justice” or “judgment”. you are the tribe
that will bring justice
17You are a snake that bites
the heel of a horse,
making its rider fall.
18Our LORD, I am waiting
for you to save us.
19Gad,#49.19 Gad: In Hebrew “Gad” sounds like “attack”. you will be attacked,
then attack your attackers.
20Asher, you will eat food
fine enough for a king.
21Naphtali, you are a wild deer
with lovely fawns.#49.21 with lovely fawns: Or “speaking lovely words”.
22Joseph, you are a fruitful vine
growing near a stream
and climbing a wall.#49.22 wall: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
23Enemies attacked with arrows,
refusing to show mercy.
24But you stood your ground,
swiftly shooting back
with the help of Jacob's God,
the All-Powerful One—
his name is the Shepherd,
Israel's mighty rock.#49.24 mighty rock: The Hebrew text has “rock”, which is sometimes used in poetry to compare the LORD to a mountain where his people can run for protection from their enemies.
25Your help came from the God
your father worshipped,
from God All-Powerful.
God will bless you with rain
and streams from the earth;
he will bless you
with many descendants.
26My son, the blessings I give
are better than the promise
of ancient mountains
or eternal hills.#49.26 eternal hills: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Joseph, I pray these blessings
will come to you,
because you are the leader
of your brothers.
27Benjamin, you are a fierce wolf,
destroying your enemies
morning and evening.
28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is how Jacob gave each of them their proper blessings.
29-31Jacob told his sons:#Gn 23.3-20.#Gn 25.9-10; Gn 35.29.
Soon I will die, and I want you to bury me in Machpelah Cave. Abraham bought this cave as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, and it is near the town of Mamre in Canaan. Abraham and Sarah are buried there, and so are Isaac and Rebekah. I buried Leah there too. 32Both the cave and the land that goes with it were bought from the Hittites.
33When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he lay down on his bed and died.#Ac 7.15.
Learn More About Contemporary English Version (Anglicised) 2012
© British and Foreign Bible Society 2012
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.