49 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: ‘Gather round so that I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2 ‘Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.
3 ‘Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honour, excelling in power. 4 Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.
5 ‘Simeon and Levi are brothers – their swords[a] are weapons of violence. 6 Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. 7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.
8 ‘Judah,[b] your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. 9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness – who dares to rouse him? 10 The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[c] until he to whom it belongs[d] shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. 11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.[e]
13 ‘Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend towards Sidon.
14 ‘Issachar is a scrawny[f] donkey lying down among the sheepfolds.[g] 15 When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labour.
16 ‘Dan[h] will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backwards.
18 ‘I look for your deliverance, Lord.
19 ‘Gad[i] will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them at their heels.
20 ‘Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21 ‘Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns.[j]
22 ‘Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.[k] 23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. 24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed[l] supple, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty,[m] who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb. 26 Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than[n] the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among[o] his brothers.
27 ‘Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.’
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.
The death of Jacob
29 Then he gave them these instructions: ‘I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 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 in it were bought from the Hittites.’[p]
33 When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
Genesis 49:5The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
Genesis 49:8Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise.
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.
Want to get the most out of Bible Gateway? Find out why Bible Gateway Plus is the ultimate toolkit for anyone seeking to grow closer to the Word. For less than the cost of a latte, Plus membership gives you access to a complete digital Bible study library and reduced banner ads. Try it free for 30 days!