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 calleth unto his sons and saith, ‘Be gathered together, and I declare to you that which doth happen with you in the latter end of the days.
2‘Be assembled, and hear, sons of Jacob, And hearken unto Israel your father.
3Reuben! my first-born thou, My power, and beginning of my strength, The abundance of exaltation, And the abundance of strength;
4Unstable as water, thou art not abundant; For thou hast gone up thy father's bed; Then thou hast polluted: My couch he went up!
5Simeon and Levi [are] brethren! Instruments of violence — their espousals!
6Into their secret, come not, O my soul! Unto their assembly be not united, O mine honour; For in their anger they slew a man, And in their self-will eradicated a prince.
7Cursed [is] their anger, for [it is] fierce, And their wrath, for [it is] sharp; I divide them in Jacob, And I scatter them in Israel.
8Judah! thou — thy brethren praise thee! Thy hand [is] on the neck of thine enemies, Sons of thy father bow themselves to thee.
9A lion's whelp [is] Judah, For prey, my son, thou hast gone up; He hath bent, he hath crouched as a lion, And as a lioness; who causeth him to arise?
10The sceptre turneth not aside from Judah, And a lawgiver from between his feet, Till his Seed come; And his [is] the obedience of peoples.
11Binding to the vine his ass, And to the choice vine the colt of his ass, He hath washed in wine his clothing, And in the blood of grapes his covering;
12Red [are] eyes with wine, And white [are] teeth with milk!
13Zebulun at a haven of the seas doth dwell, And he [is] for a haven of ships; And his side [is] unto Zidon.
14Issacher [is] a strong ass, Crouching between the two folds;
15And he seeth rest that [it is] good, And the land that [it is] pleasant, And he inclineth his shoulder to bear, And is to tribute a servant.
16Dan doth judge his people, As one of the tribes of Israel;
17Dan is a serpent by the way, An adder by the path, Which is biting the horse's heels, And its rider falleth backward.
18For Thy salvation I have waited, Jehovah!
19Gad! a troop assaulteth him, But he assaulteth last.
20Out of Asher his bread [is] fat; And he giveth dainties of a king.
21Naphtali [is] a hind sent away, Who is giving beauteous young ones.
22Joseph [is] a fruitful son; A fruitful son by a fountain, Daughters step over the wall;
23And embitter him — yea, they have striven, Yea, hate him do archers;
24And his bow abideth in strength, And strengthened are the arms of his hands By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, Whence is a shepherd, a son of Israel.
25By the God of thy father who helpeth thee, And the Mighty One who blesseth thee, Blessings of the heavens from above, Blessings of the deep lying under, Blessings of breasts and womb; —
26Thy father's blessings have been mighty Above the blessings of my progenitors, Unto the limit of the heights age-during They are for the head of Joseph, And for the crown of the one Separate [from] his brethren.
27Benjamin! a wolf teareth; In the morning he eateth prey, And at evening he apportioneth spoil.’
28All these [are] the twelve tribes of Israel, and this [is] that which their father hath spoken unto them, and he blesseth them; each according to his blessing he hath blessed them.
29And he commandeth them, and saith unto them, ‘I am being gathered unto my people; bury me by my fathers, at the cave which [is] in the field of Ephron the Hittite;
30in the cave which [is] in the field of Machpelah, which [is] on the front of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place;
31(there 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 of the cave which [is] in it, [is] from Sons of Heth.’
33And Jacob finisheth commanding his sons, and gathereth up his feet unto the bed, and expireth, and is gathered unto his people.
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