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Jacob’s Final Blessings

49 After this, Jacob called his sons together and told them, “Assemble yourselves around me[a] so I can tell you all what is going to happen to you in the last days.[b]

“Gather together and listen,
    you children of Jacob.
        Listen to your father Israel.”

On the Future of Reuben

“Reuben, you’re my firstborn,
    my strength,
        and the first fruit of my vitality.
You excel in rank
    and excel in power.
But you’re as undisciplined as a roaring river,
    so eventually you won’t succeed,
because you got in your father’s bed,[c]
    defiled it, and then approached my couch.”

On the Future of Simeon and Levi

“Simeon and Levi are brothers;
    their swords are violent weapons.
I’ll[d] never join their council;
    I’ll never enter their assembly.
In their anger they committed murder
    and lamed cattle just for fun.
Their anger is cursed,
    because it is so fierce,
as is their vehemence,
    because it is so cruel.
I will separate them throughout Jacob’s territory[e]
    and disperse them throughout Israel.”

On the Future of Judah

“Your brothers will praise you, Judah.[f]
    Your hand will be at the throat of your enemies,
and your father’s children will bow down to you.
Judah is a lion cub.
    My son, you have gone up from the prey.
Crouching like a lion,
    he lies down,
Like a lioness,
    who would dare rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until the one[g] comes, who owns them both,[h]
    and to him will belong the allegiance[i] of nations.
11 Binding his donkey to the vine
    and his mare’s foal to its thick tendrils,
he will wash his garments in wine
    and his robe in the juice of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine
    and his teeth whiter than milk.”

On the Future of Zebulun

13 “Zebulun will settle down near the sea shore
    and become a safe haven for shipping,
        bordering Sidon.”

On the Future of Issachar

14 “Issachar is a strong donkey,
    resting between sheepfolds.
15 He observed that his resting place was excellent,
    and that the land was pleasant;
he bent down,
    picked up his burdens,
        and became a slave at forced labor.”

On the Future of Dan

16 “Dan will judge[j] his people
    as one of Israel’s tribes.
17 Dan will be a snake on the path,
    a viper on the road
that snaps at the heels of horses,
    causing their riders to fall off.

18 Lord, I’m waiting for your salvation.”

On the Future of Gad

19 “Bandits will raid Gad,
    but Gad will raid them back.”[k]

On the Future of Asher

20 “Asher’s food will be delicious;
    he will be a provider of delicacies fit for royalty.”

On the Future of Naphtali

21 “Naphtali is a free running deer
    who produces eloquent literature.”

On the Future of Joseph

22 “Joseph is descended from a fruitful vine,
    a fruitful vine planted near springs of water.
        His branches climb over walls.
23 Even though enemies[l] attacked him,
    shooting at him
        and pursuing him viciously,
24 nevertheless his bow remained steady
    and his arms kept in shape
        by the strength of Jacob’s Mighty One,
in the name of the Shepherd,
    Israel’s Rock,
25 by your father’s God
    who helps you,
by the Almighty
    who will keep on blessing you
with blessings from heaven above,
    with blessings from the deepest ocean,
with blessing from the breasts and the womb.
26 Your father’s blessings will prove to be stronger
    than blessings from the eternal mountains
        or bounties from the everlasting hills.
May they come to rest on Joseph’s head,
    May they be set upon the brow of the one
        who was separated from his own brothers.”

On the Future of Benjamin

27 “Benjamin is vicious like a wolf;
    what he kills in the morning
        he devours in the evening.”

Jacob Dies and is Buried

28 That’s how Israel blessed these[m] twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father told them when he pronounced his blessing for them, blessing each one with a blessing suitable for them. 29 In his last words, Jacob[n] issued this set of instructions to them all: “I’m about to join[o] our ancestors. Bury me alongside my ancestors in the cave in the field that used to belong to Ephron the Hittite. 30 It’s the cave in the field near Mamre at Machpelah in the land of Canaan that Abraham bought to serve as a cemetery. 31 It’s where Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, where Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and where I buried Leah. 32 Both the field and the cave that’s in it were purchased from the Hittites.”

33 After concluding this set of instructions to his sons, Jacob[p] tucked his feet up into bed, quit breathing, and was gathered to his ancestors.


  1. Genesis 49:1 The Heb. lacks around me
  2. Genesis 49:1 Or in days to come
  3. Genesis 49:4 Cf. Gen 35:22
  4. Genesis 49:6 Lit. Let my soul
  5. Genesis 49:7 The Heb. lacks ‘s territory
  6. Genesis 49:8 The Heb. verb praise is a word play on the name Judah
  7. Genesis 49:10 Or until Shiloh
  8. Genesis 49:10 Lit. comes to whom it belongs; i.e. the authority represented by the scepter and ruler’s staff
  9. Genesis 49:10 Or obedience
  10. Genesis 49:16 The Heb. name Dan means judge
  11. Genesis 49:19 Lit. raid the heel
  12. Genesis 49:23 The Heb. lacks enemies
  13. Genesis 49:28 Lit. All these are the
  14. Genesis 49:29 Lit. he
  15. Genesis 49:29 Lit. to be gathered to
  16. Genesis 49:33 Lit. he