Genesis 49:1-28Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Jacob’s Last Words to His Sons
49 Then Jacob called his sons, and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in days to come.
2 Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob,
and hearken to Israel your father.
3 Reuben, you are my first-born,
my might, and the first fruits of my strength,
pre-eminent in pride and pre-eminent in power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall not have pre-eminence
because you went up to your father’s bed;
then you defiled it—you went up to my couch!
5 Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
6 O my soul, come not into their council;
O my spirit, be not joined to their company;
for in their anger they slay men,
and in their wantonness they hamstring oxen.
7 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.
8 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.
9 Judah is a lion’s whelp;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down, he couched as a lion,
and as 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 he comes to whom it belongs;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
and his ass’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes;
12 his eyes shall be red with wine,
and his teeth white with milk.
13 Zeb′ulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea;
he shall become a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
14 Is′sachar is a strong ass,
crouching between the sheepfolds;
15 he saw that a resting place was good,
and that the land was pleasant;
so he bowed his shoulder to bear,
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 serpent in the way,
a viper by the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that his rider falls backward.
18 I wait for thy salvation, O Lord.
19 Raiders shall raid Gad,
but he shall raid at their heels.
20 Asher’s food shall be rich,
and he shall yield royal dainties.
21 Naph′tali is a hind let loose,
that bears comely fawns.
22 Joseph is a fruitful bough,
a fruitful bough by a spring;
his branches run over the wall.
23 The archers fiercely attacked him,
shot at him, and harassed him sorely;
24 yet his bow remained unmoved,
his arms 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 God Almighty who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that couches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
are mighty beyond the blessings of the eternal mountains,
the bounties of the everlasting hills;
may they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the brow of him who was separate from his brothers.
27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey,
and at even dividing the spoil.”
Jacob’s Death and Burial
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel; and this is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him.