The Blessing of Jacob
1 Jacob called for his sons and said, “Gather together so I can tell you1 what will happen to you in the future.2
2 “Assemble and listen, you sons of Jacob;
listen to Israel, your father.
3 Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might and the beginning of my strength,
outstanding in dignity, outstanding in power.
4 You are destructive3 like water and will not excel,4 for you got on your father’s bed,5 then you defiled it – he got on my couch!6
5 Simeon and Levi are brothers,
weapons of violence are their knives!7
6 O my soul, do not come into their council,
do not be united to their assembly, my heart,8
for in their anger they have killed men,
and for pleasure they have hamstrung oxen.
7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce,
and their fury, for it was cruel.
I will divide them in Jacob,
and scatter them in Israel!9 8 Judah,10 your brothers will praise you.
Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies,
your father’s sons will bow down before you.
9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah,
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He crouches and lies down like a lion;
like a lioness – who will rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,11 until he comes to whom it belongs;12 the nations will obey him.13
11 Binding his foal to the vine,
and his colt to the choicest vine,
he will wash14 his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be dark from wine,
and his teeth white from milk.15 13 Zebulun will live16 by the haven of the sea
and become a haven for ships;
his border will extend to Sidon.17
14 Issachar is a strong-boned donkey
lying down between two saddlebags.
15 When he sees18 a good resting place,
and the pleasant land,
he will bend his shoulder to the burden
and become a slave laborer.19 16 Dan20 will judge21 his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 May Dan be a snake beside the road,
a viper by the path,
that bites the heels of the horse
so that its rider falls backward.22 18 I wait for your deliverance, O Lord.23
19 Gad will be raided by marauding bands,
but he will attack them at their heels.24 20 Asher’s25 food will be rich,26 and he will provide delicacies27 to royalty. 21 Naphtali is a free running doe,28 he speaks delightful words.29 22 Joseph is a fruitful bough,30
a fruitful bough near a spring
whose branches31 climb over the wall. 23 The archers will attack him,32
they will shoot at him and oppose him.
24 But his bow will remain steady,
and his hands33 will be skillful;
because of the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of34 the Shepherd, the Rock35 of Israel,
25 because of the God of your father,
because of the sovereign God,37
with blessings from the sky above,
blessings from the deep that lies below,
and blessings of the breasts and womb.39
26 The blessings of your father are greater
than40 the blessings of the eternal mountains41
or the desirable things of the age-old hills.
They will be on the head of Joseph
and on the brow of the prince of his brothers.42
27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
in the morning devouring the prey,
and in the evening dividing the plunder.”
28 These43 are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He gave each of them an appropriate blessing.44
29 Then he instructed them,45 “I am about to go46 to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30 It is the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought for a burial plot from Ephron the Hittite. 31 There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah; there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah; and there I buried Leah. 32 The field and the cave in it were acquired from the sons of Heth.”47
33 When Jacob finished giving these instructions to his sons, he pulled his feet up onto the bed, breathed his last breath, and went48 to his people.