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Jacob Blesses His Sons

49:1–28Ref—Dt 33:1–29

49 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.v

“Assemblew and listen, sons of Jacob;

listen to your father Israel.x

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,y

my might, the first sign of my strength,z

excelling in honor,a excelling in power.

Turbulent as the waters,b you will no longer excel,

for you went up onto your father’s bed,

onto my couch and defiled it.c

“Simeond and Levie are brothers—

their swordsa are weapons of violence.f

Let me not enter their council,

let me not join their assembly,g

for they have killed men in their angerh

and hamstrungi oxen as they pleased.

Cursed be their anger, so fierce,

and their fury,j so cruel!k

I will scatter them in Jacob

and disperse them in Israel.l

“Judah,b m your brothers will praise you;

your hand will be on the neckn of your enemies;

your father’s sons will bow down to you.o

You are a lion’sp cub,q Judah;r

you return from the prey,s 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,t

nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,c

until he to whom it belongsd shall comeu

and the obedience of the nations shall be his.v

11 He will tether his donkeyw to a vine,

his colt to the choicest branch;x

he will wash his garments in wine,

his robes in the blood of grapes.y

12 His eyes will be darker than wine,

his teeth whiter than milk.e z

13 “Zebuluna will live by the seashore

and become a haven for ships;

his border will extend toward Sidon.b

14 “Issacharc is a rawbonedf donkey

lying down among the sheep pens.g d

15 When he sees how good is his resting place

and how pleasant is his land,e

he will bend his shoulder to the burdenf

and submit to forced labor.g

16 “Danh h will provide justice for his people

as one of the tribes of Israel.i

17 Danj will be a snake by the roadside,

a viper along the path,k

that bites the horse’s heelsl

so that its rider tumbles backward.

18 “I look for your deliverance,m Lord.n

19 “Gadi o will be attacked by a band of raiders,

but he will attack them at their heels.p

20 “Asher’sq food will be rich;r

he will provide delicacies fit for a king.s

21 “Naphtalit is a doe set free

that bears beautiful fawns.j u

22 “Josephv is a fruitful vine,w

a fruitful vine near a spring,

whose branchesx climb over a wall.k

23 With bitterness archers attacked him;y

they shot at him with hostility.z

24 But his bow remained steady,a

his strong armsb stayedl limber,

because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,c

because of the Shepherd,d the Rock of Israel,e

25 because of your father’s God,f who helpsg you,

because of the Almighty,m h who blesses you

with blessings of the skies above,

blessings of the deep springs below,i

blessings of the breastj and womb.k

26 Your father’s blessings are greater

than the blessings of the ancient mountains,

thann the bounty of the age-old hills.l

Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,m

on the brow of the prince amongo his brothers.n

27 “Benjamino is a ravenous wolf;p

in the morning he devours the prey,q

in the evening he divides the plunder.”r

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel,s and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessingt appropriate to him.

The Death of Jacob

29 Then he gave them these instructions:u “I am about to be gathered to my people.v Bury me with my fathersw in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,x 30 the cave in the field of Machpelah,y near Mamrez in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the fielda as a burial placeb from Ephron the Hittite. 31 There Abrahamc and his wife Sarahd were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekahe were buried, and there I buried Leah.f 32 The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.p g

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.h


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