49 Then Jacob called all his sons to him. He said, “My sons, come here to me. I will tell you what will happen in the future.
2 “Children of Jacob, gather around.
Come listen to Israel, your father.
3 “Reuben, my first son, you are my strength,
the first proof of my manhood.
You were the most honored
and powerful of all my sons.
4 But your passion was like a flood you couldn’t control.
So you will not remain my most honored son.
You climbed into your father’s bed
and slept with one of his wives.
You brought shame to my bed,
to the bed you lay on.
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers.
They are violent with their swords.
6 I will not join their secret meetings.
I will not take part in their evil plans.
They have killed people out of anger
and crippled animals for fun.
7 Their anger is so strong that it is a curse.
They are too cruel when they are angry.
They will not get their own land in the land of Jacob.
They will be spread throughout Israel.
8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you.
You will defeat your enemies.
Your brothers will bow down to you.
9 Judah is like a young lion.
My son, you are like a lion standing over the animal it killed.
Like a lion, Judah lies down to rest,
and no one is brave enough to disturb him.
10 Men from Judah’s family will be kings.
The sign that his family rules
will not leave his family before the real king comes.[a]
Then many people will obey and serve him.
11 He ties his donkeys to the best grapevines.
He washes his clothes in the best wine.
12 His eyes are red from drinking wine.
His teeth are white from drinking milk.[b]
13 “Zebulun will live near the sea.
His seacoast will be a safe place for ships.
His land will continue as far as the city of Sidon.
14 “Issachar is like a donkey that has worked too hard.
He will lie down under his heavy load.
15 He will see his land is pleasant
and that his resting place is good.
But he will agree to carry heavy loads;
he will agree to work as a slave.
16 “Dan[c] will rule his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be like a snake at the side of the road.
He will be like a dangerous snake lying near the path.
That snake bites a horse’s foot,
and the rider falls to the ground.
18 “Lord, I am waiting for your salvation.
19 “A group of robbers will attack[d] Gad,
but Gad will chase them away.
20 “Asher’s land will grow much good food.
He will have food fit for a king!
21 “Naphtali is like a deer running free,
and his words are beautiful.
22 “Joseph is like a wild donkey,
like a young donkey by a spring,
like colts grazing in a pasture.[e]
23 People attacked him and made life hard for him.
Men with arrows became his enemies.
24 But he won the fight
with his mighty bow and his skillful arms.
He gets power from the Mighty One of Jacob,
from the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 the God of your father who helps you.
May God All-Powerful bless you
and give you blessings
from the sky above and from the deep below.
May he give you blessings
from breast and womb.
26 My parents had many good things happen to them.
And I, your father, was blessed even more.
Your brothers left you with nothing.
But now I pile all my blessings on you,
as high as a mountain.
27 “Benjamin is like a hungry wolf.
In the morning he kills and eats.
In the evening he shares what is left.”
28 These are the twelve families of Israel. And this is what their father said to them. He gave each son a blessing that was right for him. 29 Then Israel gave them a command. He said, “When I die, I want to be with my people. I want to be buried with my ancestors in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30 That cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought that field from Ephron so that he could have a burying place. 31 Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried in that cave. Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried in that cave. I buried my wife Leah in that cave. 32 That cave is in the field that was bought from the Hittites.” 33 After Jacob finished talking to his sons, he lay down, put his feet back on the bed, and died.
50 When Israel died, Joseph was very sad. He hugged his father and cried over him and kissed him. 2 Joseph commanded his servants to prepare his father’s body. (These servants were doctors.) The doctors prepared Jacob’s body to be buried. They prepared the body in the special way of the Egyptians. 3 When the Egyptians prepared the body in this special way, they waited 40 days before they buried the body. Then the Egyptians had a special time of sadness for Jacob. This time was 70 days.
4 After the time of sadness was finished, Joseph spoke to Pharaoh’s officers and said, “Please tell this to Pharaoh: 5 ‘When my father was near death, I made a promise to him. I promised that I would bury him in a cave in the land of Canaan. This is the cave that he prepared for himself. So please let me go and bury my father. Then I will come back here to you.’”
6 Pharaoh answered, “Keep your promise. Go and bury your father.”
7 So Joseph went to bury his father. All of Pharaoh’s officials, personal advisors, and all the older leaders of Egypt went with Joseph. 8 All the people in Joseph’s family, his brothers, and all the people in his father’s family went with him. Only the children and the animals stayed in the land of Goshen. 9 So there was a large crowd of people with him. There was even a group of soldiers riding in chariots and some on horses.
10 They went to Goren Atad,[f] east of the Jordan River. There they had a long funeral service for Israel, which continued for seven days. 11 When the people who lived in Canaan saw the funeral service at Goren Atad, they said, “This is a time of great sorrow for those Egyptians.” So now that place across the Jordan River is named Abel Mizraim.[g]
12 So Jacob’s sons did what their father told them. 13 They carried his body to Canaan and buried it in the cave at Machpelah. This was the cave near Mamre in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite. Abraham bought that cave to use as a burial place. 14 After Joseph buried his father, he and everyone in the group with him went back to Egypt.
15 After Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers were worried. They were afraid that Joseph would still be mad at them for what they had done years before. They said, “Maybe Joseph still hates us for what we did.” 16 So the brothers sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he told us to give you a message. 17 He said, ‘Tell Joseph that I beg him to please forgive his brothers for the bad things they did to him.’ So now Joseph, we beg you, please forgive us for the bad things we did to you. We are the servants of God, the God of your father.”
That message made Joseph very sad, and he cried. 18 His brothers went to him and bowed down in front of him. They said, “We will be your servants.”
19 Then Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am not God! I have no right to punish you. 20 It is true that you planned to do something bad to me. But really, God was planning good things. God’s plan was to use me to save the lives of many people. And that is what happened. 21 So don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.” And so Joseph said kind things to his brothers, and this made them feel better.
22 Joseph continued to live in Egypt with his father’s family. He died when he was 110 years old. 23 During Joseph’s life Ephraim had children and grandchildren. And his son Manasseh had a son named Makir. Joseph lived to see Makir’s children.
24 When Joseph was near death, he said to his brothers, “My time to die is almost here. But I know that God will take care of you and lead you out of this country. God will lead you to the land he promised to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
25 Then Joseph asked his people to make a promise. Joseph said, “Promise me that you will carry my bones with you when God leads you out of Egypt.”
26 Joseph died in Egypt when he was 110 years old. Doctors prepared his body for burial and put the body in a coffin in Egypt.
31 Then Jesus told the people another story: “God’s kingdom is like a mustard seed that a man plants in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it grows, it is the largest of all garden plants. It becomes a tree big enough for the birds to come and make nests in its branches.”
33 Then Jesus told them another story: “God’s kingdom is like yeast that a woman mixes into a big bowl of flour to make bread. The yeast makes all the dough rise.”
34 Jesus used stories to tell all these things to the people. He always used stories to teach them. 35 This was to make clear the full meaning of what the prophet said:
“I will speak using stories;
I will tell things that have been secrets since the world was made.”
36 Then Jesus left the people and went into the house. His followers came to him and said, “Explain to us the meaning of the story about the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The man who planted the good seed in the field is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world. The good seed are the people in God’s kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the Evil One. 39 And the enemy who planted the bad seed is the devil. The harvest is the end of time. And the workers who gather are God’s angels.
40 “The weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire. It will be the same at the end of time. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will find the people who cause sin and all those who do evil. The angels will take those people out of his kingdom. 42 They will throw them into the place of fire. There the people will be crying and grinding their teeth with pain. 43 Then the godly people will shine like the sun. They will be in the kingdom of their Father. You people who hear me, listen!
44 “God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field. One day a man found the treasure. He hid it again and was so happy that he went and sold everything he owned and bought the field.
45 “Also, God’s kingdom is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 One day he found a very fine pearl. He went and sold everything he had to buy it.
47 “Also, God’s kingdom is like a net that was put into the lake. The net caught many different kinds of fish. 48 It was full, so the fishermen pulled it to the shore. They sat down and put all the good fish in baskets. Then they threw away the bad fish. 49 It will be the same at the end of time. The angels will come and separate the evil people from the godly people. 50 They will throw the evil people into the place of fire. There the people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.”
51 Then Jesus asked his followers, “Do you understand all these things?”
They said, “Yes, we understand.”
52 Then Jesus said to the followers, “So every teacher of the law who has learned about God’s kingdom has some new things to teach. He is like the owner of a house. He has new things and old things saved in that house. And he brings out the new with the old.”
53 When Jesus finished teaching with these stories, he left there. 54 He went to the town where he grew up. He taught the people in the synagogue, and they were amazed. They said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and this power to do miracles? 55 Isn’t he just the son of the carpenter we know? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 56 And don’t all his sisters still live here in town? How is he able to do these things?” 57 So they had a problem accepting him.
But Jesus said to them, “People everywhere give honor to a prophet, but in his own town or in his own home a prophet does not get any honor.” 58 Jesus did not do many miracles there, because the people did not believe in him.