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.
29 Then he charged them, saying to them, I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestorsin the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 31There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried; and there I buried Leah 32the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites. 33When Jacob ended his charge to his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.
50Then Joseph threw himself on his fathers face and wept over him and kissed him. 2Joseph commanded the physicians in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel; 3they spent forty days in doing this, for that is the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him for seventy days.
4 When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph addressed the household of Pharaoh, If now I have found favour with you, please speak to Pharaoh as follows: 5My father made me swear an oath; he said, I am about to die. In the tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me. Now therefore let me go up, so that I may bury my father; then I will return. 6Pharaoh answered, Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.
7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his fathers household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. 9Both chariots and charioteers went up with him. It was a very great company. 10When they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed a time of mourning for his father for seven days. 11When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning on the threshing-floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning on the part of the Egyptians. Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim;* it is beyond the Jordan. 12Thus his sons did for him as he had instructed them. 13They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, the field near Mamre, which Abraham bought as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. 14After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
15 Realizing that their father was dead, Josephs brothers said, What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him? 16So they approached* Joseph, saying, Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you. Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father. Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18Then his brothers also wept,* fell down before him, and said, We are here as your slaves. 19But Joseph said to them, Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones. In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his fathers household; and Joseph lived for one hundred and ten years. 23Joseph saw Ephraims children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Josephs knees.
24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here. 26And Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
1 Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry;
give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
2 From you let my vindication come;
let your eyes see the right.
3 If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,
if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;
my mouth does not transgress.
4 As for what others do, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5 My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me, hear my words.
7 Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O saviour of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
8 Guard me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9 from the wicked who despoil me,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
10 They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11 They track me down;* now they surround me;
they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion eager to tear,
like a young lion lurking in ambush.
13 Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them!
By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,
14 from mortalsby your hand, O Lord
from mortals whose portion in life is in this world.
May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them;
may their children have more than enough;
may they leave something over to their little ones.
15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.
17Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I* will make three dwellings* here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, This is my Son, the Beloved;* with him I am well pleased; listen to him! 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, Get up and do not be afraid. 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead. 10And the disciples asked him, Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? 11He replied, Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; 12but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands. 13Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.
14 When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 15and said, Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him. 17Jesus answered, You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me. 18And Jesus rebuked the demon,* and it* came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, Why could we not cast it out? 20He said to them, Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a* mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.*
22 As they were gathering* in Galilee, Jesus said to them, The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, 23and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised. And they were greatly distressed.
24 When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax* came to Peter and said, Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?*
25He said, Yes, he does. And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?
26When Peter* said, From others, Jesus said to him, Then the children are free.
27However, so that we do not give offence to them, go to the lake and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin;* take that and give it to them for you and me.
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