My sons, I am Jacob, your father Israel. 2 Come, gather around, as I tell your future.
3 Reuben, you are my oldest, born at the peak of my powers; you were an honored leader. 4 Uncontrollable as a flood, you slept with my wife and disgraced my bed. And so you no longer deserve the place of honor.
5 Simeon and Levi, you are brothers, each a gruesome sword. 6 I never want to take part in your plans or deeds. You slaughtered people in your anger, and you crippled cattle for no reason. 7 Now I place a curse on you because of your fierce anger. Your descendants will be scattered among the tribes of Israel.
8 Judah, you will be praised by your brothers; they will bow down to you, as you defeat your enemies. 9 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.
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.
49.10until. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
49.14resting. . . meadows: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
49.16Dan: In Hebrew “Dan” means “justice” or “judgment.”
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