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. # 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 no longer excel,
because you got into your father’s bed # Gn 35:22
and you defiled it — he # 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 # 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. # Or sheepfolds
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.
17He will be a snake by the road,
a viper beside the path,
that bites the horses’ 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 # 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 # Lit daughters climb over the wall. # Hb obscure
23The archers attacked him,
shot at him, and were hostile toward him.
24Yet his bow remained steady,
and his strong # Lit and the hands of his 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 # 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 # Or of the mountains
and # Lit to the bounty of the eternal hills. # Hb obscure # Dt 33:15-16
May they rest on the head of Joseph,
on the crown 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, 12 in all, and this was 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 fathers # Gn 47:30 in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. # 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 Hittite as a burial site. # 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 Hittites.” 33When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and died. He was gathered to his people.
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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 first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength;
The pre-eminence of dignity, and the pre-eminence of power.
4Boiling over as water, thou shalt not have the pre-eminence;
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 self-will they hocked 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 a haven of ships;
And his border shall be upon Sidon.
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 Jehovah.
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 raveneth:
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 burying-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. 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.