1And Jacob called his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, and I will tell you what will befall you at the end of days. 2Assemble yourselves, and hear, ye sons of Jacob, And listen to Israel your father. 3Reuben, thou art my firstborn, My might, and the firstfruits of my vigour: Excellency of dignity, and excellency of strength. 4Impetuous as the waters, thou shalt have no pre-eminence; Because thou wentest up to thy father's couch: Then defiledst thou it: he went up to my bed.
5Simeon and Levi are brethren: Instruments of violence their swords. 6My soul, come not into their council; Mine honour, be not united with their assembly; For in their anger they slew men, And in their wantonness houghed oxen. 7Cursed be their anger, for it was violent; And their rage, for it was cruel! I will divide them in Jacob, And scatter them in Israel.
8Judah — as to thee, thy brethren will praise thee; Thy hand will be upon the neck of thine enemies; Thy father's children will bow down to thee. 9Judah is a young lion; From the prey, my son, thou art gone up. He stoopeth, he layeth himself down as a lion, And as a lioness: who will rouse him up? 10The sceptre will not depart from Judah, Nor the lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh come, And to him will be the obedience of peoples. 11He bindeth his foal to the vine, And his ass's colt to the choice vine; He washeth his dress in wine, And his garment in the blood of grapes. 12The eyes are red with wine, And the teeth are white with milk.
13Zebulun will dwell at the shore of the seas; Yea, he will be at the shore of the ships, And his side toucheth upon Sidon. 14Issachar is a bony ass, Crouching down between two hurdles. 15And he saw the rest that it was good, And the land that it was pleasant; And he bowed his shoulder to bear, And was a tributary servant. 16Dan will judge his people, As another of the tribes of Israel. 17Dan will be a serpent on the way, A horned snake on the path, Which biteth the horse's heels, So that the rider falleth backwards. 18I wait for thy salvation, O Jehovah. 19Gad — troops will rush upon him; But he will rush upon the heel. 20Out of Asher, his bread shall be fat, And he will give royal dainties. 21Naphtali is a hind let loose; He giveth goodly words.
22Joseph is a fruitful bough; A fruitful bough by a well; His branches shoot over the wall. 23The archers have provoked him, And shot at, and hated him; 24But his bow abideth firm, And the arms of his hands are supple By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob. From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel: 25From the ·God#GodHebrew: El of thy father, and he will help thee; And from the Almighty, and he will bless thee — With blessings of heaven from above, With blessings of the deep that lieth under, With blessings of the breast and of the womb. 26The blessings of thy father surpass the blessings of my ancestors, Unto the bounds of the everlasting hills: They shall be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. 27Benjamin — as a wolf will he tear to pieces; In the morning he will devour the prey, And in the evening he will divide the booty.
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them; and he blessed them: every one according to his blessing he blessed them. 29And he charged them, and said to them, I am 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 opposite to Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought of Ephron the Hittite along with the field for a possession of a sepulchre. 31There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebecca his wife; and there I buried Leah. 32The purchase of the field, and of the cave that is in it, was from the children of Heth. 33And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered his feet into the bed, and expired, and was gathered to his peoples.
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First published in 1890. This edition is maintained by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
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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