Jacob reveals his sons’ destinies
1Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Gather around so that I can tell you what will happen to you in the coming days.
2Assemble yourselves and listen, sons of Jacob;
listen to Israel your father.
3Reuben, you are my oldest son,
my strength and my first contender,#49.3 Or first of my power
superior in status and superior in might.
4As wild as the waters, you won’t endure,
for you went up to your father’s bed,
you went up#49.4 LXX; MT he went up and violated my couch.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers,
weapons of violence their stock in trade.
6May I myself never enter their council.
May my honor never be linked to their group;
for when they were angry, they killed men,
and whenever they wished, they maimed oxen.
7Cursed be their anger; it is violent,
their rage; it is relentless.
I’ll divide them up within Jacob
and disperse them within Israel.
8Judah, you are the one your brothers will honor;
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you rise up.
He lies down and crouches like a lion;
like a lioness—who dares disturb him?
10The scepter won’t depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from among his banners.#49.10 Sam; MT his feet
Gifts will be brought to him;
people will obey him.
11He ties his male donkey to the vine,
the colt of his female donkey to the vine’s branches.
He washes his clothes in wine,
his garments in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will live at the seashore;
he’ll live at the harbor of ships,
his border will be at Sidon.
14Issachar is a sturdy donkey,
bedding down beside the village hearths.#49.14 Or stubbornly lying beneath its saddlebags
15He saw that a resting place was good
and that the land was pleasant.
He lowered his shoulder to haul loads
and joined the work gangs.
16Dan#49.16 Or he judges, or settles disputes will settle disputes for his people,
as one of Israel’s tribes.
17Dan will be a snake on the road,
a serpent on the path,
biting a horse’s heels,
so its rider falls backward.
18I long for your victory, LORD.
19Gad#49.19 Or he attacks or good fortune will be attacked by attackers,
but he’ll attack their back.
20Asher#49.20 LXX, Syr, Vulg; MT from Asher grows fine foods,
and he will supply the king’s delicacies.
21Naphtali is a wild doe
that gives birth to beautiful fawns.#49.21 Or who gives beautiful words
22Joseph is a young bull,#49.22 Heb uncertain
a young bull by a spring,
who strides with oxen.#49.22 Heb uncertain
23They attacked him fiercely and fired arrows;
the archers attacked him furiously.
24But his bow stayed strong,
and his forearms were nimble,#49.24 Heb uncertain; or flexible
by the hands of the strong one of Jacob,
by the name of the shepherd, the rock of Israel,
25by God, your father, who supports you,
by the Almighty#49.25 Heb Shaddai or the Mountain One who blesses you
with blessings from the skies above
and blessings from the deep sea below,
blessings from breasts and womb.
26The blessings of your father exceed
the blessings of the eternal mountains,#49.26 LXX; Heb uncertain
the wealth of the everlasting hills.
May they all rest on Joseph’s head,
on the forehead of the one set apart from his brothers.
27Benjamin is a wolf who hunts:
in the morning he devours the prey;
in the evening he divides the plunder.”
28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them. He blessed them by giving each man his own particular blessing.
Jacob’s death and burial
29Jacob ordered them, “I am soon to join my people. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave that’s in the field of Ephron the Hittite; 30in the cave that’s in the field of Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial property. 31That is where Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried, and where Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried, and where I buried Leah. 32It is the field and the cave in it that belonged to the Hittites.” 33After he finished giving orders to his sons, he put his feet up on the bed, took his last breath, and joined 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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