1 Then Jacob called his sons, and he said to them: "Gather together, so that I may announce what will happen to you in the last days.
2 Gather together and listen, O sons of Jacob. Listen to Israel, your father.
3 Reuben, my firstborn, you are my strength and the beginning of my sorrow: first in gifts, greater in authority.
4 You are being poured out like water, may you not increase. For you climbed onto your father's bed, and you defiled his resting place.
5 The brothers Simeon and Levi: vessels of iniquity waging war.
6 Let not my soul go by their counsel, nor my glory be within their meeting. For in their fury they killed a man, and in their self-will they undermined a wall.
7 Cursed be their fury, because it was obstinate, and their indignation, because it was harsh. I will divide them in Jacob, and I will scatter them in Israel.
8 Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your hand will be at the necks of your enemies; the sons of your father will reverence you.
9 Judah is a lion's young. You have gone up to the prey, my son. While resting, you have lain like a lion. And just like a lioness, who would rouse him?
10 The scepter from Judah and the leader from his thigh will not be taken away, until he who will be sent arrives, and he will be the expectation of Gentiles.
11 Tying his young colt to the vineyard, and his donkey, O my son, to the vine, he will wash his robe in wine, and his cloak in the blood of the grape.
12 His eyes are more beautiful than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.
13 Zebulun will live at the seashore and by the outpost of ships, reaching as far as Sidon.
14 Issachar will be a strong donkey, reclining between the borders.
15 He saw that rest would be good, and that the land was excellent. And so he bent his shoulder to carry, and he became a servant under tribute.
16 Dan will judge his people just like any other tribe in Israel.
17 Let Dan be a snake in the way, a viper in the path, biting the hooves of horses, so that his rider may fall backward.
18 I will wait for your salvation, O Lord.
19 Gad, being girded, will fight before him. And he himself will be girded backward.
20 Asher: his bread will be fat, and he will provide delicacies to the kings.
21 Naphtali is a stag sent forth, offering words of eloquent beauty.
22 Joseph is a growing son, a growing son and stately to behold; the daughters run back and forth on the wall.
23 But those who held darts, provoked him, and they contend with him, and they envied him.
24 His bow sits in strength, and the bands of his arms and hands have been let loose by the hands of the mighty one of Jacob. From there he went forth as a pastor, the stone of Israel.
25 The God of your father will be your helper, and the Almighty will bless you with the blessings of heaven above, with the blessings of the abyss that lies beneath, with the blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father are strengthened by the blessings of his fathers, until the desire of the hills of eternity shall arrive. May they be at the head of Joseph, and at the summit of the Nazarite, among his brothers.
27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning he will eat the prey, and in the evening he will divide the spoil."
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. These things their father spoke to them, and he blessed each one with their proper blessings.
29 And he instructed them, saying: "I am being gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the double cave, which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30 opposite Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought, along with its field, from Ephron the Hittite, as a possession for burial.
31 There they buried him, with his wife Sarah." And there Isaac was buried with his wife Rebekah. There also Leah lies preserved.
32 And having finished these commands by which he instructed his sons, he drew his feet onto the bed, and he passed away. And he was gathered to his people.
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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