Jacob [Israel] Blesses His 12 Sons
1Jacob called for his sons and said, “Come here, and let me tell you what will happen to you in the days to come.
2“Gather around and listen, sons of Jacob.
Listen to your father Israel.
3“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my strength, the very first son I had,
first in majesty and first in power.
4You will no longer be first
because you were out of control like a flood
and you climbed into your father’s bed.
Then you dishonored it.
He climbed up on my couch.
5“Simeon and Levi are brothers.
Their swords are weapons of violence.
6Do not let me attend their secret meetings.
Do not let me join their assembly.
In their anger they murdered men.
At their whim they crippled cattle.
7May their anger be cursed because it’s so fierce.
May their fury be cursed because it’s so cruel.
I will divide them among ⌞the sons of⌟ Jacob
and scatter them among ⌞the tribes of⌟ 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 to you.
9Judah, you are a lion cub.
You have come back from the kill, my son.
He lies down and rests like a lion.
He is like a lioness. Who dares to disturb him?
10A scepter will never depart from Judah
nor a ruler’s staff from between his feet
until Shiloh comes
and the people obey him.
11He will tie his donkey to a grapevine,
his colt to the best vine.
He will wash his clothes in wine,
his garments in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker than wine.
His teeth are whiter than milk.
13“Zebulun will live by the coast.
He will have ships by the coast.
His border will go as far as Sidon.
14“Issachar is a strong donkey,
lying down between the saddlebags.
15When he sees that his resting place is good
and that the land is pleasant,
he will bend his back to the burden
and will become a slave laborer.
16“Dan will hand down decisions #49:16 There is a play on words here between Hebrew Dan and yadin (he will hand down decisions). for his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan will be a snake on a road,
a viper on a path,
that bites a horse’s heels
so that its rider falls off backwards.
18“I wait with hope for you to rescue me, O Lord.
19“Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders,
but he will strike back at their heels.
20“Asher’s food will be rich.
He will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21“Naphtali is a doe set free
that has beautiful fawns.
22“Joseph is a fruitful tree,
a fruitful tree by a spring,
with branches climbing over a wall.
23Archers provoked him,
shot at him,
and attacked him.
24But his bow stayed steady, and his arms remained limber
because of the help of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25because of the God of your father who helps you,
because of the Almighty who gives you
blessings from the heavens above,
blessings from the deep springs below the ground,
blessings from breasts and womb.
26The blessings of your father are greater than
the blessings of the oldest mountains
and the riches of the ancient hills.
May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph,
on the crown of the prince among his brothers.
27“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf.
In the morning he devours his prey.
In the evening he divides the plunder.”
28These are the 12 tribes of Israel and what their father said to them when he gave each of them his special blessing.
29Then he gave them these instructions, “I am about to join my ancestors in death. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30Abraham bought the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, east of Mamre in Canaan, from Ephron the Hittite to use as a tomb. 31Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there. Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried there. I also buried Leah there. 32The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.”
33When Jacob finished giving these instructions to his sons, he pulled his feet into his bed. He took his last breath and joined his ancestors in death.
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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 firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength; The excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power. 4Unstable as water, thou shalt not have the excellency; 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 selfwill they houghed 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 an haven of ships; And his border shall be upon Zidon. 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 LORD. 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 ravineth: 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 buryingplace: 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.
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