Jacob Blesses His Sons
Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;
listen to your father Israel.
“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, the first sign of my strength,
excelling in honor, excelling in power.
Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
for you went up onto your father’s bed,
onto my couch and defiled it.
“Simeon and Levi are brothers—
their swords49:5 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain. are weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
and disperse them in Israel.
“Judah,49:8 Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise. your brothers will praise you;
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.
You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,49:10 Or from his descendants
until he to whom it belongs49:10 Or to whom tribute belongs; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain. shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
He will tether his donkey to a vine,
his colt to the choicest branch;
he will wash his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk.49:12 Or will be dull from wine, / his teeth white from milk
“Zebulun will live by the seashore
and become a haven for ships;
his border will extend toward Sidon.
“Issachar is a rawboned49:14 Or strong donkey
lying down among the sheep pens.49:14 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
When he sees how good is his resting place
and how pleasant is his land,
he will bend his shoulder to the burden
and submit to forced labor.
“Dan49:16 Dan here means he provides justice. will provide justice for his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan will be a snake by the roadside,
a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that its rider tumbles backward.
“I look for your deliverance, Lord.
“Gad49:19 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for attack and also for band of raiders. will be attacked by a band of raiders,
but he will attack them at their heels.
“Asher’s food will be rich;
he will provide delicacies fit for a king.