Jacob’s Prophecy concerning His Sons

49 Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves, so that I may tell you what will happen to you (A)in the [a]days to come.

Gather together and listen, sons of Jacob;
Yes, (B)listen to Israel your father.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
My might and (C)the beginning of my strength,
Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
[b]Uncontrollable as water, you shall not have preeminence,
(D)Because you went up to your father’s bed;
Then you defiled it—he went up to my couch.

(E)Simeon and Levi are brothers;
Their [c]swords are implements of violence.
(F)May my soul not enter into their council;
May my glory not be united with their assembly;
For in their anger they killed [d]men,
And in their self-will they lamed [e]oxen.
Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;
And their wrath, for it is cruel.
(G)I will scatter them in Jacob,
And disperse them among Israel.

“As for you, Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
(H)Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
Judah is a (I)lion’s cub;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
(J)He [f]crouches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a [g]lion, who [h]dares to stir him up?
10 (K)The scepter will not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
[i]Until Shiloh comes,
And (L)to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 (M)He ties his foal to the vine,
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine;
(N)He washes his garments in wine,
And his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are [j]dull from wine,
And his teeth [k]white from milk.

13 (O)Zebulun will reside at the seashore;
And he shall be [l]a harbor for ships,
And his flank shall be toward Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a [m]strong donkey,
(P)Lying down between the sheepfolds.
15 When he saw that a resting place was good
And that the land was pleasant,
He bowed his shoulder to carry burdens,
And became a slave at forced labor.

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  1. Genesis 49:1 Lit end of the days
  2. Genesis 49:4 Or Gushing over
  3. Genesis 49:5 Or plans; meaning uncertain
  4. Genesis 49:6 Lit a man
  5. Genesis 49:6 Lit an ox
  6. Genesis 49:9 Lit bows down
  7. Genesis 49:9 Lit lioness
  8. Genesis 49:9 Lit shall
  9. Genesis 49:10 Or Until he comes to Shiloh; or Until he comes to whom it belongs
  10. Genesis 49:12 Or darker than
  11. Genesis 49:12 Or whiter than
  12. Genesis 49:13 Lit a shore of ships
  13. Genesis 49:14 Lit donkey of bone