49Then Jacob called his sons, and said: Gather around, that I may tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2 Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob;
listen to Israel your father.
3 Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might and the first fruits of my vigour,
excelling in rank and excelling in power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall no longer excel
because you went up on to your fathers bed;
then you defiled ityou* went up on to my couch!
5 Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
6 May I never come into their council;
may I not be joined to their company
for in their anger they killed men,
and at their whim 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 fathers sons shall bow down before you.
9 Judah is a lions whelp;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion,
like a lionesswho dares rouse him up?
10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
nor the rulers staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;*
and the obedience of the peoples is his.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkeys colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine
and his robe in the blood of grapes;
12 his eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
13 Zebulun shall settle at the shore of the sea;
he shall be a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
14 Issachar is a strong donkey,
lying down between the sheepfolds;
15 he saw that a resting-place was good,
and that the land was pleasant;
so he bowed his shoulder to the burden,
and became a slave at forced labour.
16 Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan shall be a snake by the roadside,
a viper along the path,
that bites the horses heels
so that its rider falls backwards.
18 I wait for your salvation, O Lord.
19 Gad shall be raided by raiders,
but he shall raid at their heels.
20 Ashers* food shall be rich,
and he shall provide royal delicacies.
21 Naphtali is a doe let loose
that bears lovely 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;
they shot at him and pressed him hard.
24 Yet his bow remained taut,
and 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 the Almighty* who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains,
the bounties* of the everlasting hills;
may they be on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey,
and at evening dividing the spoil.
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, blessing each one of them with a suitable blessing.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011