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Genesis 48:1-49:27 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 48

[a]Some time afterward, Joseph was informed, “Your father is failing.” So he took along with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up in bed.

Jacob then said to Joseph: “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz[b] in the land of Canaan, and blessing me, he said, ‘I will make you fertile and multiply you and make you into an assembly of peoples, and I will give this land to your descendants after you as a permanent possession.’ So now your two sons who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I joined you here, shall be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine as much as Reuben and Simeon are mine. Progeny born to you after them shall remain yours; but their heritage shall be recorded in the names of their brothers. I do this because, when I was returning from Paddan, your mother Rachel died, to my sorrow, during the journey in Canaan, while we were still a short distance from Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath [now Bethlehem].”[c]

When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he asked, “Who are these?” “They are my sons,” Joseph answered his father, “whom God has given me here.” “Bring them to me,” said his father, “that I may bless them.” 10 Now Israel’s eyes were dim from age; he could not see well. When Joseph brought his sons close to him, he kissed and embraced them. 11 Then Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your descendants as well!”

12 Joseph removed them from his father’s knees and bowed down before him with his face to the ground. 13 Then Joseph took the two, Ephraim with his right hand, to Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand, to Israel’s right, and brought them up to him. 14 But Israel, crossing his hands, put out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, although he was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, although he was the firstborn. 15 Then he blessed them with these words:

“May the God in whose presence
    my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has been my shepherd
    from my birth to this day,
16 The angel who has delivered me from all harm,
    bless these boys
That in them my name be recalled,
    and the names of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac,
And they may become teeming multitudes
    upon the earth!”

17 When Joseph saw that his father had laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, this seemed wrong to him; so he took hold of his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s, 18 saying, “That is not right, father; the other one is the firstborn; lay your right hand on his head!” 19 But his father refused. “I know it, son,” he said, “I know. That one too shall become a people, and he too shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall surpass him, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” 20 So he blessed them that day and said, “By you shall the people of Israel pronounce blessings, saying, ‘God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’” Thus he placed Ephraim before Manasseh.

21 Then Israel said to Joseph: “I am about to die. But God will be with you and will restore you to the land of your ancestors. 22 As for me, I give to you, as to the one above his brothers, Shechem, which I captured from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”[d]

Chapter 49

Jacob’s Testament.[e] Jacob called his sons and said: “Gather around, that I may tell you what is to happen to you in days to come.

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

“You, Reuben, my firstborn,
    my strength and the first fruit of my vigor,
    excelling in rank and excelling in power!
Turbulent as water, you shall no longer excel,
    for you climbed into your father’s bed
    and defiled my couch to my sorrow.

[f]“Simeon and Levi, brothers indeed,
    weapons of violence are their knives.[g]
Let not my person enter their council,
    or my honor be joined with their company;
For in their fury they killed men,
    at their whim they maimed oxen.
Cursed be their fury so fierce,
    and their rage so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob,
    disperse them throughout Israel.

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise
    —your hand on the neck of your enemies;
    the sons of your father shall bow down to you.
Judah is a lion’s cub,
    you have grown up on prey, my son.
He crouches, lies down like a lion,
    like a lioness—who would dare rouse him?
10 The scepter shall never depart from Judah,
    or the mace from between his feet,
Until tribute comes to him,[h]
    and he receives the people’s obedience.
11 He tethers his donkey to the vine,
    his donkey’s foal to the choicest stem.
In wine he washes his garments,
    his robe in the blood of grapes.[i]
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
    and his teeth are whiter than milk.

13 “Zebulun shall dwell by the seashore;
    he will be a haven for ships,
    and his flank shall rest on Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a rawboned donkey,
    crouching between the saddlebags.
15 When he saw how good a settled life was,
    and how pleasant the land,
He bent his shoulder to the burden
    and became a toiling serf.

16 “Dan shall achieve justice[j] for his people
    as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Let Dan be a serpent by the roadside,
    a horned viper by the path,
That bites the horse’s heel,
    so that the rider tumbles backward.

18 “I long for your deliverance, O Lord![k]

19 “Gad shall be raided by raiders,
    but he shall raid at their heels.[l]

20 “Asher’s produce is rich,
    and he shall furnish delicacies for kings.

21 “Naphtali is a hind let loose,
    which brings forth lovely fawns.

22 “Joseph is a wild colt,
    a wild colt by a spring,
    wild colts on a hillside.
23 Harrying him and shooting,
    the archers opposed him;
24 But his bow remained taut,
    and his arms were nimble,
By the power of the Mighty One of Jacob,
    because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 The God of your father, who helps you,[m]
    God Almighty, who blesses you,
With the blessings of the heavens above,
    the blessings of the abyss that crouches below,
The blessings of breasts and womb,
26     the blessings of fresh grain and blossoms,
    the blessings of the everlasting mountains,
    the delights of the eternal hills.
May they rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the brow of the prince among his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
    mornings he devours the prey,
    and evenings he distributes the spoils.”

Footnotes:

  1. 48:1–22 Jacob continues his preparations for death. In a scene that evokes the nearly blind Isaac blessing Jacob and Esau (chap. 27), Jacob blesses Joseph’s two sons. He adopts them, elevating them to a status equal to that of Jacob’s first sons Reuben and Simeon (cf. 1 Chr 5:1). The adoption is one more instance of Jacob’s favoring Rachel and those born of her. The mention of Jacob’s failing eyesight and his selection of the younger son over the older evokes the great deathbed scene in chap. 27. He reaffirms to Joseph the ancient divine promise of progeny and land.
  2. 48:3 Luz: an older name of Bethel (28:19).
  3. 48:7 Since her early death prevented Rachel from bearing more than two sons, Jacob feels justified in treating her two grandsons as if they were her own offspring.
  4. 48:22 Both the meaning of the Hebrew and the historical reference in this verse are obscure. By taking the Hebrew word for Shechem as a common noun meaning shoulder or mountain slope, some translators render the verse, “I give you one portion more than your brothers, which I captured…” The reference may be to the capture of Shechem by the sons of Jacob (34:24–29). Shechem lay near the border separating the tribal territory of Manasseh from that of Ephraim (Jos 16:4–9; 17:1–2, 7).
  5. 49:1–27 The testament, or farewell discourse, of Jacob, which has its closest parallel in Moses’ farewell in Dt 33:6–25. From his privileged position as a patriarch, he sees the future of his children (the eponymous ancestors of the tribes) and is able to describe how they will fare and so gives his blessing. The dense and archaic poetry is obscure in several places. The sayings often involve wordplays (explained in the notes). The poem begins with the six sons of Leah (vv. 2–15), then deals with the sons of the two secondary wives, and ends with Rachel’s two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Reuben, the oldest son, loses his position of leadership as a result of his intercourse with Bilhah (35:22), and the words about Simeon and Levi allude to their taking revenge for the rape of Dinah (chap. 34). The preeminence of Judah reflects his rise in the course of the narrative (mirroring the rise of Joseph). See note on 44:1–34.
  6. 49:5–7 This passage probably refers to their attack on the city of Shechem (Gn 34). Because there is no indication that the warlike tribe of Levi will be commissioned as a priestly tribe (Ex 32:26–29; Dt 33:11), this passage reflects an early, independent tradition.
  7. 49:5 Knives: if this is the meaning of the obscure Hebrew word here, the reference may be to the knives used in circumcising the men of Shechem (34:24; cf. Jos 5:2).
  8. 49:10 Until tribute comes to him: this translation is based on a slight change in the Hebrew text, which, as it stands, would seem to mean, “until he comes to Shiloh.” A somewhat different reading of the Hebrew text would be, “until he comes to whom it belongs.” This last has been traditionally understood in a messianic sense. In any case, the passage aims at the supremacy of the tribe of Judah and of the Davidic dynasty.
  9. 49:11 In wine…the blood of grapes: Judah’s clothes are poetically pictured as soaked with grape juice from trampling in the wine press, the rich vintage of his land; cf. Is 63:2.
  10. 49:16 In Hebrew the verb for “achieve justice” is from the same root as the name Dan.
  11. 49:18 This short plea for divine mercy has been inserted into the middle of Jacob’s testament.
  12. 49:19 In Hebrew there is assonance between the name Gad and the words for “raided,” “raiders,” and “raid.”
  13. 49:25–26 A very similar description of the agricultural riches of the tribal land of Joseph is given in Dt 33:13–16.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 30 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 30[a]

Thanksgiving for Deliverance

A psalm. A song for the dedication of the Temple.[b] Of David.

I

I praise you, Lord, for you raised me up
    and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord, my God,
    I cried out to you for help and you healed[c] me.
Lord, you brought my soul up from Sheol;
    you let me live, from going down to the pit.[d]

II

Sing praise to the Lord, you faithful;
    give thanks to his holy memory.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
    his favor a lifetime.
At dusk weeping comes for the night;
    but at dawn there is rejoicing.

III

Complacent,[e] I once said,
    “I shall never be shaken.”
Lord, you showed me favor,
    established for me mountains of virtue.
But when you hid your face
    I was struck with terror.
To you, Lord, I cried out;
    with the Lord I pleaded for mercy:
10 [f]“What gain is there from my lifeblood,
    from my going down to the grave?
Does dust give you thanks
    or declare your faithfulness?
11 Hear, O Lord, have mercy on me;
    Lord, be my helper.”

IV

12 You changed my mourning into dancing;
    you took off my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness.
13 So that my glory may praise you
    and not be silent.
O Lord, my God,
    forever will I give you thanks.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 30 An individual thanksgiving in four parts: praise and thanks for deliverance and restoration (Ps 30:2–4); an invitation to others to join in (Ps 30:5–6); a flashback to the time before deliverance (Ps 30:7–11); a return to praise and thanks (Ps 30:12). Two sets of images recur: 1) going down, death, silence; 2) coming up, life, praising. God has delivered the psalmist from one state to the other.
  2. 30:1 For the dedication of the Temple: a later adaptation of the Psalm to celebrate the purification of the Temple in 164 B.C. during the Maccabean Revolt.
  3. 30:3 Healed: for God as healer, see also Ps 103:3; 107:20; Hos 6:1; 7:1; 11:3; 14:5.
  4. 30:4 Sheol…pit: the shadowy underworld residence of the spirits of the dead, here a metaphor for near-death.
  5. 30:7 Complacent: untroubled existence is often seen as a source of temptation to forget God, cf. Dt 8:10–18; Hos 13:6; Prv 30:9.
  6. 30:10 In the stillness of Sheol no one gives you praise; let me live and be among your worshipers, cf. Ps 6:6; 88:11–13; 115:17; Is 38:18.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Matthew 17 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 17

The Transfiguration of Jesus.[a] After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.[b] [c]And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. [d]And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents[e] here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,[f] then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” [g]When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

The Coming of Elijah.[h] As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision[i] to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 10 [j]Then the disciples asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11 He said in reply,[k] “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; 12 but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” 13 [l]Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

The Healing of a Boy with a Demon.[m] 14 When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him, 15 and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic[n] and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17 Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse[o] generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him,[p] and from that hour the boy was cured. 19 Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20 [q]He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [21 ][r]

The Second Prediction of the Passion.[s] 22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were overwhelmed with grief.

Payment of the Temple Tax.[t] 24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax[u] approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” 25 “Yes,” he said.[v] When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?” 26 [w]When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. 27 But that we may not offend them,[x] go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”

Footnotes:

  1. 17:1–8 The account of the transfiguration confirms that Jesus is the Son of God (Mt 17:5) and points to fulfillment of the prediction that he will come in his Father’s glory at the end of the age (Mt 16:27). It has been explained by some as a resurrection appearance retrojected into the time of Jesus’ ministry, but that is not probable since the account lacks many of the usual elements of the resurrection-appearance narratives. It draws upon motifs from the Old Testament and noncanonical Jewish apocalyptic literature that express the presence of the heavenly and the divine, e.g., brilliant light, white garments, and the overshadowing cloud.
  2. 17:1 These three disciples are also taken apart from the others by Jesus in Gethsemane (Mt 26:37). A high mountain: this has been identified with Tabor or Hermon, but probably no specific mountain was intended by the evangelist or by his Marcan source (Mk 9:2). Its meaning is theological rather than geographical, possibly recalling the revelation to Moses on Mount Sinai (Ex 24:12–18) and to Elijah at the same place (1 Kgs 19:8–18; Horeb = Sinai).
  3. 17:2 His face shone like the sun: this is a Matthean addition; cf. Dn 10:6. His clothes became white as light: cf. Dn 7:9, where the clothing of God appears “snow bright.” For the white garments of other heavenly beings, see Rev 4:4; 7:9; 19:14.
  4. 17:3 See note on Mk 9:5.
  5. 17:4 Three tents: the booths in which the Israelites lived during the feast of Tabernacles (cf. Jn 7:2) were meant to recall their ancestors’ dwelling in booths during the journey from Egypt to the promised land (Lv 23:39–42). The same Greek word, skēnē, here translated tents, is used in the LXX for the booths of that feast, and some scholars have suggested that there is an allusion here to that liturgical custom.
  6. 17:5 Cloud cast a shadow over them: see note on Mk 9:7. This is my beloved Son…listen to him: cf. Mt 3:17. The voice repeats the baptismal proclamation about Jesus, with the addition of the command listen to him. The latter is a reference to Dt 18:15 in which the Israelites are commanded to listen to the prophet like Moses whom God will raise up for them. The command to listen to Jesus is general, but in this context it probably applies particularly to the preceding predictions of his passion and resurrection (Mt 16:21) and of his coming (Mt 16:27, 28).
  7. 17:6–7 A Matthean addition; cf. Dn 10:9–10, 18–19.
  8. 17:9–13 In response to the disciples’ question about the expected return of Elijah, Jesus interprets the mission of the Baptist as the fulfillment of that expectation. But that was not suspected by those who opposed and finally killed him, and Jesus predicts a similar fate for himself.
  9. 17:9 The vision: Matthew alone uses this word to describe the transfiguration. Until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead: only in the light of Jesus’ resurrection can the meaning of his life and mission be truly understood; until then no testimony to the vision will lead people to faith.
  10. 17:10 See notes on Mt 3:4; 16:14.
  11. 17:11–12 The preceding question and this answer may reflect later controversy with Jews who objected to the Christian claims for Jesus that Elijah had not yet come.
  12. 17:13 See Mt 11:14.
  13. 17:14–20 Matthew has greatly shortened the Marcan story (Mk 9:14–29). Leaving aside several details of the boy’s illness, he concentrates on the need for faith, not so much on the part of the boy’s father (as does Mark, for Matthew omits Mk 9:22b–24) but on that of his own disciples whose inability to drive out the demon is ascribed to their little faith (Mt 17:20).
  14. 17:15 A lunatic: this description of the boy is peculiar to Matthew. The word occurs in the New Testament only here and in Mt 4:24 and means one affected or struck by the moon. The symptoms of the boy’s illness point to epilepsy, and attacks of this were thought to be caused by phases of the moon.
  15. 17:17 Faithless and perverse: so Matthew and Luke (Lk 9:41) against Mark’s faithless (Mk 9:19). The Greek word here translated perverse is the same as that in Dt 32:5 LXX, where Moses speaks to his people. There is a problem in knowing to whom the reproach is addressed. Since the Matthean Jesus normally chides his disciples for their little faith (as in Mt 17:20), it would appear that the charge of lack of faith could not be made against them and that the reproach is addressed to unbelievers among the Jews. However in Mt 17:20b (if you have faith the size of a mustard seed), which is certainly addressed to the disciples, they appear to have not even the smallest faith; if they had, they would have been able to cure the boy. In the light of Mt 17:20b the reproach of Mt 17:17 could have applied to the disciples. There seems to be an inconsistency between the charge of little faith in Mt 17:20a and that of not even a little in Mt 17:20b.
  16. 17:18 The demon came out of him: not until this verse does Matthew indicate that the boy’s illness is a case of demoniacal possession.
  17. 17:20 The entire verse is an addition of Matthew who (according to the better attested text) omits the reason given for the disciples’ inability in Mk 9:29. Little faith: see note on Mt 6:30. Faith the size of a mustard seed…and it will move: a combination of a Q saying (cf. Lk 17:6) with a Marcan saying (cf. Mk 11:23).
  18. 17:21 Some manuscripts add, “But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting”; this is a variant of the better reading of Mk 9:29.
  19. 17:22–23 The second passion prediction (cf. Mt 16:21–23) is the least detailed of the three and may be the earliest. In the Marcan parallel the disciples do not understand (Mk 9:32); here they understand and are overwhelmed with grief at the prospect of Jesus’ death (Mt 17:23).
  20. 17:24–27 Like Mt 14:28–31 and Mt 16:16b–19, this episode comes from Matthew’s special material on Peter. Although the question of the collectors concerns Jesus’ payment of the temple tax, it is put to Peter. It is he who receives instruction from Jesus about freedom from the obligation of payment and yet why it should be made. The means of doing so is provided miraculously. The pericope deals with a problem of Matthew’s church, whether its members should pay the temple tax, and the answer is given through a word of Jesus conveyed to Peter. Some scholars see here an example of the teaching authority of Peter exercised in the name of Jesus (see Mt 16:19). The specific problem was a Jewish Christian one and may have arisen when the Matthean church was composed largely of that group.
  21. 17:24 The temple tax: before the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in A.D. 70 every male Jew above nineteen years of age was obliged to make an annual contribution to its upkeep (cf. Ex 30:11–16; Neh 10:33). After the destruction the Romans imposed upon Jews the obligation of paying that tax for the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. There is disagreement about which period the story deals with.
  22. 17:25 From their subjects or from foreigners?: the Greek word here translated subjects literally means “sons.”
  23. 17:26 Then the subjects are exempt: just as subjects are not bound by laws applying to foreigners, neither are Jesus and his disciples, who belong to the kingdom of heaven, bound by the duty of paying the temple tax imposed on those who are not of the kingdom. If the Greek is translated “sons,” the freedom of Jesus, the Son of God, and of his disciples, children (“sons”) of the kingdom (cf. Mt 13:38), is even more clear.
  24. 17:27 That we may not offend them: though they are exempt (Mt 17:26), Jesus and his disciples are to avoid giving offense; therefore the tax is to be paid. A coin worth twice the temple tax: literally, “a stater,” a Greek coin worth two double drachmas. Two double drachmas were equal to the Jewish shekel and the tax was a half-shekel. For me and for you: not only Jesus but Peter pays the tax, and this example serves as a standard for the conduct of all the disciples.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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