49 Then Jacob called his sons to him. He said, “·Come here to [L Gather around] me, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the ·future [L days to come].
2 “·Come [L Assemble] together and listen, sons of Jacob. Listen to Israel [C another name for Jacob; 32:28], your father.”
3 “Reuben, my ·first son [firstborn], you are my strength. ·Your birth showed I could be a father [L …and the first of my virility/vigor]. ·You have the highest position among my sons [L …excelling in pride/rank/authority], and you are the most powerful [L …excelling in power]. 4 But you are ·uncontrolled [unstable] like water [C often a symbol of chaos or evil], so you will no longer ·lead your brothers [L excel]. This is because you got into your father’s bed and ·shamed me by having sexual relations with my slave girl [L you defiled it by going up on my couch; 35:22].
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers who used their ·swords [or circumcision knives; or counsels; or treaties; ch. 34] to do violence. 6 I will not join their secret talks, and I will not ·meet with them to plan evil [L join them in their assembly]. They killed men because they were angry, and they ·crippled [hamstrung] oxen ·just for fun [or at will; 34:25–31]. 7 May their anger be cursed, because it is too ·violent [severe; strong; intense]. May their violence be cursed, because it is too ·cruel [harsh]. I will divide them up among the tribes of Jacob and scatter them through all the tribes of Israel [C neither Simeon nor Levi received a tribal allotment in the Promised Land; Josh. 13–22].
8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you [C the Hebrew verb for “praise” sounds like the name Judah]. ·You will grab your enemies by the neck [L Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies], and ·your brothers [L the sons of your father] will bow down to you. 9 Judah is like a ·young lion [lion cub]. You have ·returned from killing [L come up from the prey], my son. Like a lion, he stretches out and ·lies down to rest [crouches], and [L like a lioness] ·no one is brave enough to [who will…?] wake him. 10 ·Kings will come from Judah’s family [L No one will turn aside the scepter from Judah; C a scepter is a symbol of kingship]; ·someone from Judah will always be on the throne [L the ruler’s staff/mace from between his feet; C anticipates the rise of a perpetual kingship from the tribe of Judah; 2 Sam. 7]. Judah will rule until ·Shiloh comes [or he comes to Shiloh; or he comes to whom it belongs; or tribute comes to him], and the ·nations [peoples] will obey him. 11 He ties his donkey to a grapevine, his young donkey to the best ·branch [vine]. He ·can afford to use wine to wash his clothes [L washes his clothes in wine] and the ·best wine [L blood of grapes] to wash his robes. 12 His eyes are dark like the color of wine, and his teeth are as white as the color of milk.
13 “Zebulun will live ·near [L at the shore/coast of] the sea. His ·shore [coast] will be a safe place for ships, and his land will reach as far as Sidon [10:15].
14 “Issachar is like a strong donkey who lies down ·while carrying his load [or between the pack saddles]. 15 When he sees his ·resting place [camp] is good and how pleasant his land is, he will put his ·back [L shoulder] to the load and become a slave [L at forced labor].
16 “Dan will ·rule [judge; or contend for; C the Hebrew verb for “judge” sounds like the name Dan] his own people like ·the other [L one of the] tribes in Israel. 17 Dan will be like a snake by the side of the road, a ·dangerous snake [viper] lying near the path. That snake bites a horse’s ·leg [heel; hoof], and the rider is thrown off backward.
18 “Lord, I wait for your ·salvation [or victory]. 19 “·Robbers [or Raiders] will ·attack [raid] Gad [C the Hebrew word for “raiders” sounds like the name Gad], but he will ·defeat them and drive them away [L raid them at their heels].
20 “Asher’s land will grow much ·good [or rich] food; he will grow ·food fit for a king [kingly delicacies].
21 “Naphtali is like a female deer that runs free, that has ·beautiful fawns [or beautiful words].
22 “Joseph is like a ·grapevine that produces much fruit [or fruitful bough/tree; or foal of a wild donkey] a ·healthy vine [or fruitful bough/tree; or foal of a wild donkey] ·watered by [L by] a spring, ·whose branches grow over the wall [or a wild donkey on a hillside]. 23 Archers attack him violently and shoot at him angrily, 24 but ·he aims his bow well [L his bow remains taut]. His arms ·are made strong [or were snapped]. ·He gets his power from [L …by the hands of] the Mighty God of Jacob ·and his strength from [or by the name of] the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. 25 Your father’s God helps you. God Almighty blesses you. He blesses you with ·rain [L blessings] from above, with ·water from springs below [L the blessings of the deep that crouches below], with ·many babies born to your wives and many young ones born to your animals [L the blessings of breasts and womb] 26 The blessings of your father are greater than the blessings of the ·oldest [or eternal] mountains, greater than the ·good things [delight] of the long-lasting hills. May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph, on the forehead of the one who was ·separated from [or prince among] his brothers [C Ephraim would become the dominant tribe in northern Israel].
27 “Benjamin is like a hungry wolf. In the morning he eats ·what he has caught [prey], and in the evening he divides ·what he has taken [the plunder].”
28 These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them. He gave each son the blessing that was ·right [suitable; appropriate] for him. 29 Then Israel gave them a command and said, “I am about to ·die [L be gathered to my people/relatives; 25:8]. Bury me with my ·ancestors [fathers] in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite [23:7–20; 25:9]. 30 That cave is in the field of Machpelah east of Mamre in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought the field and cave from Ephron the Hittite for a ·burying place [burial site]. 31 Abraham and Sarah his wife are buried there. Isaac and Rebekah his wife are buried there, and I buried my wife Leah there. 32 The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittite people.” 33 After Jacob finished ·talking to [or instructing] his sons, he lay down. He put his feet back on the bed, took his last breath, and ·died [L was gathered to his people/relatives; 25:8].
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Now that you've created a Bible Gateway account, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus: the ultimate online Bible reading & study experience! Bible Gateway Plus equips you to answer the toughest questions about faith, God, and the Bible with access to a vast digital Bible study library. And it's all integrated seamlessly into your Bible Gateway experience. Try it free for 30 days!