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Genesis 49 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Jacob Blesses His Sons

49 Jacob called his sons together and said:

My sons, I am Jacob,
    your father Israel.
Come, gather around,
    as I tell your future.

Reuben, you are my oldest,
born at the peak of my powers;
    you were an honored leader.
Uncontrollable as a flood,
you slept with my wife
    and disgraced my bed.
And so you no longer deserve
    the place of honor.

Simeon and Levi,
you are brothers,
    each a gruesome sword.
I never want to take part
    in your plans or deeds.
You slaughtered people
    in your anger,
and you crippled cattle
    for no reason.
Now I place a curse on you
because of
    your fierce anger.
Your descendants
will be scattered
    among the tribes of Israel.

Judah, you will be praised
    by your brothers;
they will bow down to you,
    as you defeat your enemies.
My son, you are a lion
    ready to eat your victim!
You are terribly fierce;
    no one will bother you.
10 You will have power and rule
until nations obey you[a]
    and come bringing gifts.
11 You will tie your donkey
    to a choice grapevine
and wash your clothes
    in wine from those grapes.
12 Your eyes are darker than wine,
    your teeth whiter than milk.

13 Zebulun, you will settle
    along the seashore
and provide safe harbors
    as far north as Sidon.

14 Issachar, you are a strong donkey
    resting in the meadows.[b]
15 You found them so pleasant
that you worked too hard
    and became a slave.

16 Dan,[c] you are the tribe
that will bring justice
    to Israel.
17 You are a snake that bites
the heel of a horse,
    making its rider fall.

18 Our Lord, I am waiting
    for you to save us.

19 Gad,[d] you will be attacked,
    then attack your attackers.

20 Asher, you will eat food
    fancy enough for a king.

21 Naphtali, you are a wild deer
    with lovely fawns.[e]

22 Joseph, you are a fruitful vine
growing near a stream
    and climbing a wall.[f]
23 Enemies attacked with arrows,
    refusing to show mercy.
24 But you stood your ground,
    swiftly shooting back
with the help of Jacob’s God,
    the All-Powerful One—
his name is the Shepherd,
    Israel’s mighty rock.[g]
25 Your help came from the God
your father worshiped,
    from God All-Powerful.
God will bless you with rain
    and streams from the earth;
he will bless you
    with many descendants.
26 My son, the blessings I give
are better than the promise
    of ancient mountains
    or eternal hills.[h]
Joseph, I pray these blessings
    will come to you,
because you are the leader
    of your brothers.

27 Benjamin, you are a fierce wolf,
destroying your enemies
    morning and evening.

28 These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is how Jacob gave each of them their proper blessings.

Jacob’s Death

29-31 Jacob told his sons:

Soon I will die, and I want you to bury me in Machpelah Cave. Abraham bought this cave as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, and it is near the town of Mamre in Canaan. Abraham and Sarah are buried there, and so are Isaac and Rebekah. I buried Leah there too. 32 Both the cave and the land that goes with it were bought from the Hittites.

33 When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he lay down on his bed and died.

Footnotes:

  1. 49.10 until. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 49.14 resting. . . meadows: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 49.16 Dan: In Hebrew “Dan” means “justice” or “judgment.”
  4. 49.19 Gad: In Hebrew “Gad” sounds like “attack.”
  5. 49.21 with lovely fawns: Or “speaking lovely words.”
  6. 49.22 wall: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 49.24 mighty rock: The Hebrew text has “rock,” which is sometimes used in poetry to compare the Lord to a mountain where his people can run for protection from their enemies.
  8. 49.26 eternal hills: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Genesis 49 New International Version (NIV)

Jacob Blesses His Sons

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.

“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;
    listen to your father Israel.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
    my might, the first sign of my strength,
    excelling in honor, excelling in power.
Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
    for you went up onto your father’s bed,
    onto my couch and defiled it.

“Simeon and Levi are brothers—
    their swords[a] are weapons of violence.
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.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
    and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
    and disperse them in Israel.

“Judah,[b] your brothers will praise you;
    your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
    your father’s sons will bow down to you.
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,[c]
until he to whom it belongs[d] 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.[e]

13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore
    and become a haven for ships;
    his border will extend toward Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a rawboned[f] donkey
    lying down among the sheep pens.[g]
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 “Dan[h] 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 “Gad[i] 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.[j]

22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine,
    a fruitful vine near a spring,
    whose branches climb over a wall.[k]
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;
    they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady,
    his strong arms stayed[l] 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,[m] 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,
    than[n] the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the brow of the prince among[o] 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.[p]

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.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 49:5 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  2. Genesis 49:8 Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise.
  3. Genesis 49:10 Or from his descendants
  4. Genesis 49:10 Or to whom tribute belongs; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  5. Genesis 49:12 Or will be dull from wine, / his teeth white from milk
  6. Genesis 49:14 Or strong
  7. Genesis 49:14 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
  8. Genesis 49:16 Dan here means he provides justice.
  9. Genesis 49:19 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for attack and also for band of raiders.
  10. Genesis 49:21 Or free; / he utters beautiful words
  11. Genesis 49:22 Or Joseph is a wild colt, / a wild colt near a spring, / a wild donkey on a terraced hill
  12. Genesis 49:24 Or archers will attack … will shoot … will remain … will stay
  13. Genesis 49:25 Hebrew Shaddai
  14. Genesis 49:26 Or of my progenitors, / as great as
  15. Genesis 49:26 Or of the one separated from
  16. Genesis 49:32 Or the descendants of Heth
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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