Genesis 49

Jacob Blesses His Sons 1Then Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.

2Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob,
   listen to Israel your father.

3Reuben, you are my firstborn,
   my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
   preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4Unstable 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!

5Simeon and Levi are brothers;
   weapons of violence are their swords.
6Let 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.
7Cursed 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.

8Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
   your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
   your father's sons shall bow down before you.
9Judah 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?
10The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
   nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;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
   and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11Binding 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.
12His eyes are darker than wine,
   and his teeth whiter than milk.

13Zebulun shall dwell at 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.Or between its saddlebags
15He 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.

16Dan shall judge his people
   as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
   a viper by the path,
that bites the horse's heels
   so that his rider falls backward.
18I wait for your salvation, O LORD.

19Raiders shall raid Gad,Gad sounds like the Hebrew for raiders and raid
   but he shall raid at their heels.

20Asher's food shall be rich,
   and he shall yield royal delicacies.

21Naphtali is a doe let loose
   that bears beautiful fawns.Or he gives beautiful words, or that bears fawns of the fold

22Joseph is a fruitful bough,
   a fruitful bough by a spring;
   his branches run over the wall.Or Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey beside a spring, his wild colts beside the wall
23The archers bitterly attacked him,
   shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24yet his bow remained unmoved;
   his armsHebrew the arms of his hands were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
   (from there is the Shepherd,Or by the name of the Shepherd the Stone of Israel),
25by the God of your father who will help you,
   by the AlmightyHebrew Shaddai who will bless you
   with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
   blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26The blessings of your father
   are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents,
   up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.A slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint) the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills
May they be on the head of Joseph,
   and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
   in the morning devouring the prey
   and at evening dividing the spoil."

Jacob's Death and Burial 28All 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. 29Then 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, 30in 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. 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 in it were bought from the Hittites." 33When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.