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Genesis 48-49 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons

48 After this Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” he[a] summoned his strength and sat up in bed. And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty[b] appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and he blessed me, and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers; I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your offspring after you for a perpetual holding.’ Therefore your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are now mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are. As for the offspring born to you after them, they shall be yours. They shall be recorded under the names of their brothers with regard to their inheritance. For when I came from Paddan, Rachel, alas, died in the land of Canaan on the way, while there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).

When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?” Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.” 10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, and he could not see well. So Joseph brought them near him; and he kissed them and embraced them. 11 Israel said to Joseph, “I did not expect to see your face; and here God has let me see your children also.” 12 Then Joseph removed them from his father’s knees,[c] and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them near him. 14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 He blessed Joseph, and said,

“The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
16 the angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys;
and in them let my name be perpetuated, and the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude on the earth.”

17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father! Since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused, and said, “I know, my son, I know; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.” 20 So he blessed them that day, saying,

“By you[d] Israel will invoke blessings, saying,
‘God make you[e] like Ephraim and like Manasseh.’”

So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. 21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your ancestors. 22 I now give to you one portion[f] more than to your brothers, the portion[g] that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.”

Jacob’s Last Words to His Sons

49 Then Jacob called his sons, and said: “Gather around, that I may tell you what will happen to you in days to come.

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

Reuben, you are my firstborn,
    my might and the first fruits of my vigor,
    excelling in rank and excelling in power.
Unstable as water, you shall no longer excel
    because you went up onto your father’s bed;
    then you defiled it—you[h] went up onto my couch!

Simeon and Levi are brothers;
    weapons of violence are their swords.
May I never come into their council;
    may I not be joined to their company—
for in their anger they killed men,
    and at their whim they hamstrung oxen.
Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
    and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob,
    and scatter them in Israel.

Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
    your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
    your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
    from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion,
    like a lioness—who dares rouse him up?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;[i]
    and the obedience of the peoples is his.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
    and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine
    and his robe in the blood of grapes;
12 his eyes are darker than wine,
    and his teeth whiter than milk.

13 Zebulun shall settle at the shore of the sea;
    he shall be a haven for ships,
    and his border shall be at Sidon.

14 Issachar is a strong donkey,
    lying down between the sheepfolds;
15 he saw that a resting place was good,
    and that the land was pleasant;
so he bowed his shoulder to the burden,
    and became a slave at forced labor.

16 Dan shall judge his people
    as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan shall be a snake by the roadside,
    a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
    so that its rider falls backward.

18 I wait for your salvation, O Lord.

19 Gad shall be raided by raiders,
    but he shall raid at their heels.

20 Asher’s[j] food shall be rich,
    and he shall provide royal delicacies.

21 Naphtali is a doe let loose
    that bears lovely fawns.[k]

22 Joseph is a fruitful bough,
    a fruitful bough by a spring;
    his branches run over the wall.[l]
23 The archers fiercely attacked him;
    they shot at him and pressed him hard.
24 Yet his bow remained taut,
    and his arms[m] were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
    by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 by the God of your father, who will help you,
    by the Almighty[n] who will bless you
    with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
    blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
    are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains,
    the bounties[o] of the everlasting hills;
may they be on the head of Joseph,
    on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
    in the morning devouring the prey,
    and at evening dividing the spoil.”

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, blessing each one of them with a suitable blessing.

Jacob’s Death and Burial

29 Then he charged them, saying to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors—in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 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 that is in it were purchased from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob ended his charge to his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 48:2 Heb Israel
  2. Genesis 48:3 Traditional rendering of Heb El Shaddai
  3. Genesis 48:12 Heb from his knees
  4. Genesis 48:20 you here is singular in Heb
  5. Genesis 48:20 you here is singular in Heb
  6. Genesis 48:22 Or mountain slope (Heb shekem, a play on the name of the town and district of Shechem)
  7. Genesis 48:22 Or mountain slope (Heb shekem, a play on the name of the town and district of Shechem)
  8. Genesis 49:4 Gk Syr Tg: Heb he
  9. Genesis 49:10 Or until Shiloh comes or until he comes to Shiloh or (with Syr) until he comes to whom it belongs
  10. Genesis 49:20 Gk Vg Syr: Heb From Asher
  11. Genesis 49:21 Or that gives beautiful words
  12. Genesis 49:22 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  13. Genesis 49:24 Heb the arms of his hands
  14. Genesis 49:25 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  15. Genesis 49:26 Cn Compare Gk: Heb of my progenitors to the boundaries
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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