Jacob Blesses His Twelve Sons
1Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together so that I can tell you what will happen with you in days to come.#Literally “the latter days”
2Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob!
Listen to Israel your father!
3Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my strength, and the firstfruit of my vigor,
excelling in rank and excelling in power.
4Unstable#Or “reckless” as water, you shall not excel any longer,
for you went up upon the bed of your father,
then defiled it. You went up upon my couch!
5Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
Let me#Or “my soul” not come into their council.
6Let not my person#Or “my glory” be joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
and at their pleasure they hamstrung cattle.
7Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will divide them in Jacob,
and I will scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, as for you, your brothers shall praise you.
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies.
The sons of your father shall bow down to you.
9Judah is a lion’s cub.
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bowed down; he crouched like a lion and as a lioness.
Who shall rouse him?
10The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff between his feet,
until Shiloh comes.
And to him shall be the obedience of nations.
11Binding his donkey to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his clothing in the wine
and his garment in the blood of grapes.
12The eyes are darker than wine,
and the teeth whiter than milk.
13Zebulun shall settle by the shore of the sea.
He shall become a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong donkey,
crouching between the sheepfolds.
15He saw a resting place that was good,
and land that was pleasant.
So he bowed his shoulder to the burden
and became a servant of forced labor.
16Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a serpent on the way,
a viper on the road
that bites the heels of a horse,
so that its rider falls backward.
18I wait for your salvation, O Yahweh.
19Bandits shall attack Gad,
but he shall attack their heels.
20Asher’s food is delicious,
and he shall provide from the king’s delicacies.
21Naphtali is a doe running free
that puts forth beautiful words.
22Joseph is the bough#Or “son” of a fruitful vine,
a fruitful bough#Or “son” by a spring.
His branches climb over the wall.
23The archers#Literally “the masters of the bow” fiercely attacked him.
They shot arrows at him and were hostile to him.
24But his bow remained in a steady position;
his arms#Literally “the arms of his hands” were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.
From there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
25Because of the God of your father he will help you
and by Shaddai#Or “the Almighty” he will bless you
with the blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and the womb.
26The blessings of your father
are superior to the blessings of my ancestors,
to the bounty of the everlasting hills.
May they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the forehead of the prince of his brothers.
27Benjamin is a devouring wolf,
devouring the prey in the morning,
and dividing the plunder in the evening.
The Death and Burial of Jacob
28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, each according to their blessing. 29Then he instructed them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me among my ancestors#Or “fathers” in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah that is before#Or “east of” Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 31There 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 the cave which was in it from the Hittites.” 33When Jacob finished instructing his sons he drew his feet up to the bed. Then he took his last breath and was gathered to his people.
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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.