Jacob Blesses His Sons1 a Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you b in days to come. 2 “Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel your father.
3 “Reuben, you are c my firstborn,
my might, and the d firstfruits of my strength,
preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence,
because you e went up to your father’s bed;
then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!
5 f “Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons g of violence are their swords.
6Let my soul come not into their council;
h O my glory i be not joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
and in their willfulness they j hamstrung oxen.
7Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will k divide them in Jacob
and scatter them in Israel.
8 “Judah, l your brothers shall praise you;
m your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
n your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
9Judah is o a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
p He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10The q scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff r 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 t eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
13 u “Zebulun shall dwell at the v shore of the sea;
he shall become a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
14 w “Issachar 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 y became a servant at forced labor.
16 z “Dan shall aa judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan ab 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 ac wait for your salvation, O Lord.
19 ad “Raiders shall raid ae Gad, ▼
▼ Gad sounds like the Hebrew for raiders and raid
but he shall raid at their heels.
20 ag “Asher’s food shall be rich,
and he shall yield royal delicacies.
21 ah “Naphtali is a doe let loose
that bears beautiful fawns. ▼
▼Or he gives beautiful words, or that bears fawns of the fold
22 “Joseph is aj 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 al bitterly attacked him,
shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24yet am his bow remained unmoved;
his arms ▼
▼Hebrew the arms of his handswere made agile
by the hands of the ao Mighty One of Jacob
(from there is ap the Shepherd ▼
▼Or by the name of the Shepherdar the Stone of Israel),
25 as by the God of your father who will help you,
by at the Almighty ▼
▼Hebrew Shaddaiav 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 aw 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 ay on the head of Joseph,
and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
27 az “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey
and at evening ba dividing the spoil.”
Jacob’s Death and Burial28All 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 bb gathered to my people; bc bury me with my fathers bd 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, be which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31 bf There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There bg 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 bh was gathered to his people.
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