Genesis 49

Jacob then called his sons and said, “Gather round, that I may tell you of what shall befall you
In days yet to come. Gather and hear, sons of Jacob, heed your father Israel who called you.
Reuben, you are my firstborn. Not only my might, but also the first fruit of my vigor,
Both surpassing in rank and surpassing in honor. In these virtues, there were none bigger.
As unstable as water, you surpass no more– for when you mounted your father’s bed,
You defiled it and brought disgrace– he went up to my couch, and the couch he mounted.

Now Simeon and Levi are brothers, weapons of violence are their swords. Such cruelty,
Let my person not come to their council nor ever be counted in their assembly.
For in anger they kill men, wantonly maim bulls. Cursed be their anger, too fierce to quell,
And their fury so harsh. I will split them up in Jacob, scatter them in Israel.
You, O Judah, your brothers shall praise you. Your hand shall be on the nape of your foes’ necks.
And your father’s sons, they shall bow down to you. A lion’s whelp, Judah commands respect.
From prey, my son, you have gone up. He squats and crouches like a lion, the king of beasts.
Who dares rouse him up? The scepter won’t depart him, nor the ruler’s staff leave from his feet,
Until Shiloh comes and people’s homage is his. He ties up his ass-foal to a vine,
His young colt to a choice crimson tendril, and then Judah washes his garment in wine,
His robe in blood of grapes. His eyes darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk. Zebulun,
He shall dwell on the seashore as haven for boats, and his own flank shall rest on Sidon.

Issachar, a strong-boned ass, crouching in the sheepfolds, saw the good of the resting turf,
And how pleasant the land. So he bent his shoulder to bear, and became a toiling serf.
Dan his people shall judge, as one tribe of Israel’s, and be a serpent by the road,
A viper by the path who bites the horse’s heel, so it throws off its passenger load.
I wait for your deliverance, Lord! Gad shall be raided by raiders, but raid their heels.
Asher’s food shall be rich, for it is royal dainties befitting a king he shall yield.
Naphtali is a hind let loose which yields lovely fawns. Joseph, a young wild ass.
A wild ass by a spring, donkeys along a wall. Archers all assailed him as he passed,
Shot at him bitterly, yet his bow remained firm, and his arms and hands both stayed agile,
By the means of the Mighty One of Jacob up there, the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel.
By your father’s God, may he help you, and Shaddai (Almighty), blessings may he bestow
Upon you; blessings both from the heavens above, and of the ocean crouching below,
Blessings of the breast and womb. The blessings of your father surpass the blessings of old,
Of my ancestors, of mountains eternal, to the boundries of hills with age untold.
May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the one chosen out of his brothers.
Benjamin is a ravenous wolf. In the morning his foe is the prey he devours.
Then in the evening, he divides up the spoils.” All these are the tribes of Israel, twelve,
And this is what their father told them, giving each an appropriate blessing farewell.

Then he charged them and said, “Soon I will be gathered to my kin, so please bury me right.
Bury me with my fathers in the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
At the cave in the field of Machpelah, which faces Mamre, in the land of Canaan.
The same field Abraham bought as a burial holding once from the Hittite Ephron.
There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife
Rebekah. And there I buried Leah– … The field and cave in it, bought from the Hittites.”
And when Jacob had finally finished charging his sons and giving them instructions,
Then he gathered his feet up onto the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his kin.

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