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Genesis 49-50 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jacob’s Last Words to His Sons

49 Then Jacob called his sons, and said: “Gather around, that I may tell you what will happen to you in days to come.

Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob;
    listen to Israel your father.

Reuben, you are my firstborn,
    my might and the first fruits of my vigor,
    excelling in rank and excelling in power.
Unstable as water, you shall no longer excel
    because you went up onto your father’s bed;
    then you defiled it—you[a] went up onto my couch!

Simeon and Levi are brothers;
    weapons of violence are their swords.
May I never come into their council;
    may I not be joined to their company—
for in their anger they killed men,
    and at their whim they hamstrung oxen.
Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
    and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob,
    and scatter them in Israel.

Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
    your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
    your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
    from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion,
    like a lioness—who dares rouse him up?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;[b]
    and the obedience of the peoples is his.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
    and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine
    and his robe in the blood of grapes;
12 his eyes are darker than wine,
    and his teeth whiter than milk.

13 Zebulun shall settle at the shore of the sea;
    he shall be a haven for ships,
    and his border shall be at Sidon.

14 Issachar is a strong donkey,
    lying down between the sheepfolds;
15 he saw that a resting place was good,
    and that the land was pleasant;
so he bowed his shoulder to the burden,
    and became a slave at forced labor.

16 Dan shall judge his people
    as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan shall be a snake by the roadside,
    a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
    so that its rider falls backward.

18 I wait for your salvation, O Lord.

19 Gad shall be raided by raiders,
    but he shall raid at their heels.

20 Asher’s[c] food shall be rich,
    and he shall provide royal delicacies.

21 Naphtali is a doe let loose
    that bears lovely fawns.[d]

22 Joseph is a fruitful bough,
    a fruitful bough by a spring;
    his branches run over the wall.[e]
23 The archers fiercely attacked him;
    they shot at him and pressed him hard.
24 Yet his bow remained taut,
    and his arms[f] were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
    by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 by the God of your father, who will help you,
    by the Almighty[g] who will bless you
    with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
    blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
    are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains,
    the bounties[h] of the everlasting hills;
may they be on the head of Joseph,
    on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
    in the morning devouring the prey,
    and at evening dividing the spoil.”

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, blessing each one of them with a suitable blessing.

Jacob’s Death and Burial

29 Then he charged them, saying to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors—in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 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 that is in it were purchased from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob ended his charge to his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

50 Then Joseph threw himself on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. Joseph commanded the physicians in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel; they spent forty days in doing this, for that is the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.

When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph addressed the household of Pharaoh, “If now I have found favor with you, please speak to Pharaoh as follows: My father made me swear an oath; he said, ‘I am about to die. In the tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.’ Now therefore let me go up, so that I may bury my father; then I will return.” Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.”

So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. Both chariots and charioteers went up with him. It was a very great company. 10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed a time of mourning for his father seven days. 11 When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning on the part of the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim;[i] it is beyond the Jordan. 12 Thus his sons did for him as he had instructed them. 13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, the field near Mamre, which Abraham bought as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

Joseph Forgives His Brothers

15 Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” 16 So they approached[j] Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17 ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also wept,[k] fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21 So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Joseph’s Last Days and Death

22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s household; and Joseph lived one hundred ten years. 23 Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph’s knees.

24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” 25 So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, “When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here.” 26 And Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 49:4 Gk Syr Tg: Heb he
  2. Genesis 49:10 Or until Shiloh comes or until he comes to Shiloh or (with Syr) until he comes to whom it belongs
  3. Genesis 49:20 Gk Vg Syr: Heb From Asher
  4. Genesis 49:21 Or that gives beautiful words
  5. Genesis 49:22 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  6. Genesis 49:24 Heb the arms of his hands
  7. Genesis 49:25 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  8. Genesis 49:26 Cn Compare Gk: Heb of my progenitors to the boundaries
  9. Genesis 50:11 That is mourning (or meadow) of Egypt
  10. Genesis 50:16 Gk Syr: Heb they commanded
  11. Genesis 50:18 Cn: Heb also came
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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