Modern English Version
Jacob Blesses His Sons(A)
49 Jacob called to his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, so that I may tell you what will befall you in the last days.
2 Gather yourselves together and hear, sons of Jacob,
and listen to your father Israel.
3 Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might and the beginning of my strength,
the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall not excel,
because you went up to your father’s bed;
then you defiled it—he went up to my couch.
5 Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
6 Let my soul not enter into their council;
let my glory not be united with their assembly;
for in their anger they killed men
and in their self-will they hamstrung 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 will bow down before you.
9 Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He crouches and lies down like a lion;
and as a lion, who dares rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
until Shiloh comes;
and to him will be the obedience of the people.
11 He tethers his foal to the vine,
and his colt to the choicest vine;
he washes his garments in wine,
his clothes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
13 Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea;
and he shall be a haven of ships.
His border shall be at Sidon.
14 Issachar is a strong donkey,
lying down between two burdens;
15 he saw that a resting place was good,
and that the land was pleasant;
so he bowed his shoulder to bear the burden
and became a slave to forced labor.
16 Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan shall be a serpent by the road,
a viper on the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that its rider will fall backward.
18 I wait for Your salvation, O Lord!
19 Gad shall be attacked by raiding bands,
but he shall raid at their heels.
20 Asher’s food shall be rich,
and he shall yield royal delicacies.
21 Naphtali is a doe set loose;
he gives beautiful words.
22 Joseph is a fruitful bough,
a fruitful bough by a spring,
whose branches run over the wall.
23 The archers bitterly attacked him,
they shot at him and hated him.
24 But his bow remained firm.
His arms were agile
because of the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of the God of your father who will help you,
and by the Almighty who will bless you
with blessings from heaven above,
blessings from the deep that lies beneath,
the blessings of the breasts and the womb.
26 The blessings of your father have surpassed
the blessings of my fathers,
up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.
They will be on the head of Joseph,
and on the crown of the head of him who was set apart from his brothers.
27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
in the morning he devours the prey,
and at night he divides the spoil.”
28 These are all the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, each with the blessing appropriate to him.
The Death of Jacob
29 Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place. 31 They buried Abraham and Sarah his wife there. They buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife there, and I buried Leah there. 32 The field and the cave that is there were purchased from the children of Heth.”
33 When Jacob finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.
New International Version
Jacob Blesses His Sons(A)
49 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.(B)
3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn,(E)
my might, the first sign of my strength,(F)
excelling in honor,(G) excelling in power.
4 Turbulent as the waters,(H) you will no longer excel,
for you went up onto your father’s bed,
onto my couch and defiled it.(I)
5 “Simeon(J) and Levi(K) are brothers—
their swords[a] are weapons of violence.(L)
6 Let me not enter their council,
let me not join their assembly,(M)
for they have killed men in their anger(N)
and hamstrung(O) oxen as they pleased.
7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
and their fury,(P) so cruel!(Q)
I will scatter them in Jacob
and disperse them in Israel.(R)
8 “Judah,[b](S) your brothers will praise you;
your hand will be on the neck(T) of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.(U)
9 You are a lion’s(V) cub,(W) Judah;(X)
you return from the prey,(Y) my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,(Z)
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[c]
until he to whom it belongs[d] shall come(AA)
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.(AB)
11 He will tether his donkey(AC) to a vine,
his colt to the choicest branch;(AD)
he will wash his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.(AE)
12 His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk.[e](AF)
14 “Issachar(AI) is a rawboned[f] donkey
lying down among the sheep pens.[g](AJ)
15 When he sees how good is his resting place
and how pleasant is his land,(AK)
he will bend his shoulder to the burden(AL)
and submit to forced labor.(AM)
16 “Dan[h](AN) will provide justice for his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.(AO)
17 Dan(AP) will be a snake by the roadside,
a viper along the path,(AQ)
that bites the horse’s heels(AR)
so that its rider tumbles backward.
22 “Joseph(BB) is a fruitful vine,(BC)
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches(BD) climb over a wall.[k]
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;(BE)
they shot at him with hostility.(BF)
24 But his bow remained steady,(BG)
his strong arms(BH) stayed[l] limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,(BI)
because of the Shepherd,(BJ) the Rock of Israel,(BK)
25 because of your father’s God,(BL) who helps(BM) you,
because of the Almighty,[m](BN) who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
blessings of the deep springs below,(BO)
blessings of the breast(BP) and womb.(BQ)
26 Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than[n] the bounty of the age-old hills.(BR)
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,(BS)
on the brow of the prince among[o] his brothers.(BT)
The Death of Jacob
29 Then he gave them these instructions:(CA) “I am about to be gathered to my people.(CB) Bury me with my fathers(CC) in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,(CD) 30 the cave in the field of Machpelah,(CE) near Mamre(CF) in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field(CG) as a burial place(CH) from Ephron the Hittite. 31 There Abraham(CI) and his wife Sarah(CJ) were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah(CK) were buried, and there I buried Leah.(CL) 32 The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.[p](CM)”
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.(CN)
- Genesis 49:5 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
- Genesis 49:8 Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise.
- Genesis 49:10 Or from his descendants
- Genesis 49:10 Or to whom tribute belongs; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
- Genesis 49:12 Or will be dull from wine, / his teeth white from milk
- Genesis 49:14 Or strong
- Genesis 49:14 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
- Genesis 49:16 Dan here means he provides justice.
- Genesis 49:19 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for attack and also for band of raiders.
- Genesis 49:21 Or free; / he utters beautiful words
- Genesis 49:22 Or Joseph is a wild colt, / a wild colt near a spring, / a wild donkey on a terraced hill
- Genesis 49:24 Or archers will attack … will shoot … will remain … will stay
- Genesis 49:25 Hebrew Shaddai
- Genesis 49:26 Or of my progenitors, / as great as
- Genesis 49:26 Or of the one separated from
- Genesis 49:32 Or the descendants of Heth