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Jacob’s Last Words to His Sons

49 Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together so that I may tell you what will happen to you in the days to come. Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob. Listen to your father Israel.

“Reuben, you are my first-born, my power and the beginning of my strength, first in pride and first in power. But because you are as wild as water, the first place will not be yours. It is because you went to your father’s bed and made it unclean.

“Simeon and Levi are brothers. They hurt others with their swords. May my soul not have a part in their secrets, nor my shining-greatness be joined to them. Because in their anger they killed men and for no reason they hurt cattle. Their anger will be punished, for it is bad. Their bad temper will be punished, for it is bad. I will divide them in Jacob and spread them apart in Israel.

“Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your hand will be on the neck of those who hate you. Your father’s sons will bow down to you. Judah is a young lion. Like a lion full of meat, you have become great, my son. He lies down and sleeps like a lion. And as a lion, who is willing to wake him? 10 The right of a ruler will not leave Judah. The ruler’s special stick will not go from between his feet, until Shiloh comes. Then the people will obey Him. 11 He ties his young donkey to the vine, his donkey’s young one to the best vine. He washes his clothes in wine, his coats in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes are darker than wine. And his teeth are whiter than milk.

13 “Zebulun will live beside the sea and be a safe place for ships. His land will lie beside Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a strong donkey lying down between the loads. 15 He saw that a resting place was good and that the land was pleasing. So he made his shoulder ready to carry loads. He let himself be a servant.

16 “Dan will judge his people, as one of the families of Israel. 17 Dan will be a snake in the way, a snake in the road, that bites the horse’s heels so that the man falls off. 18 I wait for Your saving power, O Lord.

19 “A group of soldiers will go against Gad. But he will go against them at their heels.

20 “Asher’s food will be rich. He will give pleasing food to kings.

21 “Naphtali is a female deer let loose who gives beautiful young ones.

22 “Joseph is a branch with much fruit, a branch with much fruit by a well. It grows over the wall. 23 The men fought against him with their bows. They sent arrows toward him and made it hard for him. 24 But his bow did not shake. His arms were made strong by the hands of the Powerful One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 by the God of your father Who helps you, and by the All-powerful Who brings good to you. He brings good from heaven above, and from the deep that lies below, and from the body of a mother. 26 More good has come to your father than to my fathers before me, as lasting as the hills that last forever. May this good be on the head of Joseph, on the crown of him who was divided from his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a hungry wolf. In the morning he eats the animals he has caught. And in the evening he divides what he has taken.”

28 All these are the twelve family groups of Israel. This is what their father said to them when he prayed that good would come to them. He prayed for each of them to receive the good they should have.

The Death of Jacob

29 Then he told them, “I will soon be with my people who have died before me. Bury me with my fathers in the grave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the grave that is in the field of Machpelah, east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought this grave and the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burying place. 31 There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah. There they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah. And there I buried Leah. 32 The field and the grave that is in it were bought from the sons of Heth.”

33 When Jacob finished telling his sons what to do, he lay back down on his bed and died.