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Jacob Blesses His Sons

1 Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.
2 “Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob, listen to Israel your father.
3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords.
6 Let my soul come not into their council; O my glory, be not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.
7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.
8 “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
9 Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him;1 and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.
13 “Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon.
14 “Issachar is a strong donkey, crouching between the sheepfolds.2
15 He saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant, so he bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant at forced labor.
16 “Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that his rider falls backward.
18 I wait for your salvation, O Lord.
19 “Raiders shall raid Gad,3 but he shall raid at their heels.
20 “Asher’s food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies.
21 “Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns.4
22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall.5
23 The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24 yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms6 were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd,7 the Stone of Israel),
25 by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty8 who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.9 May they be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey and at evening dividing the spoil.”

Jacob’s Death and Burial

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him.
29 Then he commanded them and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30 in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as 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—
32 the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.”
33 When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
1 By a slight revocalization; a slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Targum) until he comes to whom it belongs; Hebrew until Shiloh comes, or until he comes to Shiloh
2 Or between its saddlebags
3 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for raiders and raid
4 Or he gives beautiful words, or that bears fawns of the fold
5 Or Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey beside a spring, his wild colts beside the wall
6 Hebrew the arms of his hands
7 Or by the name of the Shepherd
8 Hebrew Shaddai
9 A slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint) the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills

Jacob Blesses His Sons

1 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2 “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.
3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.
4 Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers— their swords1 are weapons of violence.
6 Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.
8 “Judah,2 your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,3 until he to whom it belongs4 shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.5
13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon.
14 “Issachar is a rawboned6 donkey lying down among the sheep pens.7
15 When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor.
16 “Dan8 will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward.
18 “I look for your deliverance, Lord.
19 “Gad9 will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them 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 bears beautiful fawns.10
22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.11
23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed12 limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty,13 who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than14 the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among15 his brothers.
27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.”
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

The Death of Jacob

29 Then he gave them these instructions: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30 the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite.
31 There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah.
32 The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.16
33 When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
1 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
2 Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise.
3 Or from his descendants
4 Or to whom tribute belongs; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
5 Or will be dull from wine, his teeth white from milk
6 Or strong
7 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
8 Dan here means he provides justice.
9 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for attack and also for band of raiders.
10 Or free; he utters beautiful words
11 Or Joseph is a wild colt, a wild colt near a spring, a wild donkey on a terraced hill
12 Or archers will attack … will shoot … will remain … will stay
13 Hebrew Shaddai
14 Or of my progenitors, as great as
15 Or of the one separated from
16 Or the descendants of Heth
1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.
3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father' bed; then defiledst thou it : he went up to my couch.
5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
7 Cursed 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.
8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father' children shall bow down before thee.
9 Judah is a lion' whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be .
11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass' colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
13 Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.
14 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:
15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.
16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.
18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.
19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.
20 Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.
21 Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.
22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:
23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him , and hated him:
24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
25 Even 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 lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
26 The 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.
27 Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
28 All 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.
29 And 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,
30 In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.
31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.
32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.
33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.
1 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
2 Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise.
3 Or from his descendants
4 Or to whom tribute belongs; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
5 Or will be dull from wine, his teeth white from milk
6 Or strong
7 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
8 Dan here means he provides justice.
9 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for attack and also for band of raiders.
10 Or free; he utters beautiful words
11 Or Joseph is a wild colt, a wild colt near a spring, a wild donkey on a terraced hill
12 Or archers will attack … will shoot … will remain … will stay
13 Hebrew Shaddai
14 Or of my progenitors, as great as
15 Or of the one separated from
16 Or the descendants of Heth

Jacob Gives Blessings to His Sons

1 Then Jacob sent for his sons. He said, “Gather around me so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2 “Sons of Jacob, come together and listen. Listen to your father Israel.
3 “Reuben, you are my oldest son. You were my first child. You were the first sign of my strength. You were first in honor. You were first in power.
4 But you are as unsteady as water. So you won't be first anymore. You had sex with your father's concubine in his bed. You lay on his couch and made it ‘unclean.’
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers. Their swords have killed a lot of people.
6 I won't share in their plans. I won't have anything to do with them. They became angry and killed people. They cut the legs of oxen just for the fun of it.
7 May the Lord put a curse on them because of their terrible anger. I will scatter them in Jacob's land. I will spread them around in Israel.
8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your enemies will be brought under your control. Your father's sons will bow down to you.
9 Judah, you are like a lion's cub. You return from hunting, my son. Like a lion, you lie down and sleep. You are like a mother lion. Who dares to wake you up?
10 The right to rule will not leave Judah. The ruler's rod will not be taken from between his feet. It will be his until the king it belongs to comes. It will be his until the nations obey him.
11 He will tie his donkey to a vine. He will tie his colt to the very best branch. He will wash his clothes in wine. He will wash his robes in the red juice of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine. His teeth will be whiter than milk.
13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore. He will become a safe harbor for ships. His border will go out toward Sidon.
14 “Issachar is like a donkey lying down between two saddlebags.
15 He sees how good his resting place is. He sees that his land is pleasant. So he'll carry a heavy load on his back. He will obey when he's forced to work.
16 “Dan will do what is fair for his people. He will do it as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a serpent by the side of the road. He will be a poisonous snake along the path. It bites the horse's heels so that the rider falls off backward.
18 “Lord, I look to you to save me.
19 “Gad will be attacked by a group of robbers. But he'll attack them as they run away.
20 “Asher's food will be rich and sweet. He will provide food that even a king would enjoy.
21 “Naphtali is a female deer that is set free and gives birth to beautiful fawns.
22 “Joseph is a vine that grows a lot of fruit. It grows close by a spring. Its branches climb over a wall.
23 Mean people shot arrows at him. They shot at him because they were angry.
24 But his bow remained steady. His strong arms moved freely. The hand of the Mighty One of Jacob was with him. The Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, stood by him.
25 Your father's God helps you. The Mighty One blesses you. He gives you blessings from the highest heavens. He gives you blessings from the deepest oceans. He blesses you with children and with a mother's milk.
26 Your father's blessings are great. They are greater than the blessings from the age‑old mountains. They are greater than the gifts from the ancient hills. Let all of those blessings rest on the head of Joseph. Let them rest on the head of the one who is prince among his brothers.
27 “Benjamin is a hungry wolf. In the morning he eats what he has killed. In the evening he shares what he has stolen.”
28 All of those are the 12 tribes of Israel. That's what their father said to them when he blessed them. He gave each one the blessing that was just right for him.

Jacob Dies

29 Then Jacob gave directions to his sons. He said, “I'm about to join the members of my family who have already died. Bury me with them in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite.
30 “The cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre in Canaan. Abraham had bought it as a place where he could bury his wife's body. He had bought the cave from Ephron the Hittite, along with the field.
31 “The bodies of Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried there. So were the bodies of Isaac and his wife Rebekah. I also buried Leah's body there.
32 Abraham bought the field and the cave from the Hittites.”
33 When Jacob had finished telling his sons what to do, he pulled his feet up into his bed. Then he took his last breath and joined the members of his family who had already died.
1 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
2 Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise.
3 Or from his descendants
4 Or to whom tribute belongs; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
5 Or will be dull from wine, his teeth white from milk
6 Or strong
7 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
8 Dan here means he provides justice.
9 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for attack and also for band of raiders.
10 Or free; he utters beautiful words
11 Or Joseph is a wild colt, a wild colt near a spring, a wild donkey on a terraced hill
12 Or archers will attack … will shoot … will remain … will stay
13 Hebrew Shaddai
14 Or of my progenitors, as great as
15 Or of the one separated from
16 Or the descendants of Heth
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