Jacob Blesses His Twelve Sons
1Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together so that I can tell you what will happen with you in days to come.#Literally “the latter days”
2Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob!
Listen to Israel your father!
3Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my strength, and the firstfruit of my vigor,
excelling in rank and excelling in power.
4Unstable#Or “reckless” as water, you shall not excel any longer,
for you went up upon the bed of your father,
then defiled it. You went up upon my couch!
5Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
Let me#Or “my soul” not come into their council.
6Let not my person#Or “my glory” be joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
and at their pleasure they hamstrung cattle.
7Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will divide them in Jacob,
and I will scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, as for you, your brothers shall praise you.
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies.
The sons of your father shall bow down to you.
9Judah is a lion’s cub.
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bowed down; he crouched like a lion and as a lioness.
Who shall rouse him?
10The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff between his feet,
until Shiloh comes.
And to him shall be the obedience of nations.
11Binding his donkey to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his clothing in the wine
and his garment in the blood of grapes.
12The eyes are darker than wine,
and the teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun shall settle by the shore of the sea.
He shall become a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong donkey,
crouching between the sheepfolds.
15He saw a resting place that was good,
and land that was pleasant.
So he bowed his shoulder to the burden
and became a servant of forced labor.
16Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a serpent on the way,
a viper on the road
that bites the heels of a horse,
so that its rider falls backward.
18I wait for your salvation, O Yahweh.
19Bandits shall attack Gad,
but he shall attack their heels.
20Asher’s food is delicious,
and he shall provide from the king’s delicacies.
21Naphtali is a doe running free
that puts forth beautiful words.
22Joseph is the bough#Or “son” of a fruitful vine,
a fruitful bough#Or “son” by a spring.
His branches climb over the wall.
23The archers#Literally “the masters of the bow” fiercely attacked him.
They shot arrows at him and were hostile to him.
24But his bow remained in a steady position;
his arms#Literally “the arms of his hands” were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.
From there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
25Because of the God of your father he will help you
and by Shaddai#Or “the Almighty” he will bless you
with the blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and the womb.
26The blessings of your father
are superior to the blessings of my ancestors,
to the bounty of the everlasting hills.
May they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the forehead of the prince of his brothers.
27Benjamin is a devouring wolf,
devouring the prey in the morning,
and dividing the plunder in the evening.
The Death and Burial of Jacob
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, each according to their blessing. 29Then he instructed them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me among my ancestors#Or “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 before#Or “east of” Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 31There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife. And there I buried Leah—32the purchase of the field and the cave which was in it from the Hittites.” 33When Jacob finished instructing his sons he drew his feet up to the bed. Then he took his last breath and was gathered to his people.