Genesis 49
Contemporary English Version

Jacob Blesses His Sons

1Jacob called his sons together and said:

My sons, I am Jacob,

your father Israel.

2Come, gather around,

as I tell your future.

3Reuben, you are my oldest,

born at the peak of my powers;

you were an honored leader.

4Uncontrollable as a flood,

you slept with my wife

and disgraced my bed.

And so you no longer deserve

the place of honor.

5Simeon and Levi,

you are brothers,

each a gruesome sword.

6I never want to take part

in your plans or deeds.

You slaughtered people

in your anger,

and you crippled cattle

for no reason.

7Now I place a curse on you

because of

your fierce anger.

Your descendants

will be scattered

among the tribes of Israel.

8Judah, you will be praised

by your brothers;

they will bow down to you,

as you defeat your enemies.

9 My son, you are a lion

ready to eat your victim!

You are terribly fierce;

no one will bother you.

10You will have power and rule

until nations obey you+

and come bringing gifts.

11You will tie your donkey

to a choice grapevine

and wash your clothes

in wine from those grapes.

12Your eyes are darker than wine,

your teeth whiter than milk.

13Zebulun, you will settle

along the seashore

and provide safe harbors

as far north as Sidon.

14Issachar, you are a strong donkey

resting in the meadows.+

15You found them so pleasant

that you worked too hard

and became a slave.

16Dan,+ you are the tribe

that will bring justice

to Israel.

17You are a snake that bites

the heel of a horse,

making its rider fall.

18Our Lord, I am waiting

for you to save us.

19Gad,+ you will be attacked,

then attack your attackers.

20Asher, you will eat food

fancy enough for a king.

21Naphtali, you are a wild deer

with lovely fawns.+

22Joseph, you are a fruitful vine

growing near a stream

and climbing a wall.+

23Enemies attacked with arrows,

refusing to show mercy.

24But you stood your ground,

swiftly shooting back

with the help of Jacob's God,

the All-Powerful One—

his name is the Shepherd,

Israel's mighty rock.+

25Your help came from the God

your father worshiped,

from God All-Powerful.

God will bless you with rain

and streams from the earth;

he will bless you

with many descendants.

26My son, the blessings I give

are better than the promise

of ancient mountains

or eternal hills.+

Joseph, I pray these blessings

will come to you,

because you are the leader

of your brothers.

27Benjamin, you are a fierce wolf,

destroying your enemies

morning and evening.

28These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is how Jacob gave each of them their proper blessings.

Jacob's Death

29-31 Jacob told his sons:

Soon I will die, and I want you to bury me in Machpelah Cave. Abraham bought this cave as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, and it is near the town of Mamre in Canaan. Abraham and Sarah are buried there, and so are Isaac and Rebekah. I buried Leah there too. 32Both the cave and the land that goes with it were bought from the Hittites.

33 When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he lay down on his bed and died.


49.10 until … you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
49.14 resting … meadows: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
49.16 Dan: In Hebrew “Dan” means “justice” or “judgment.”
49.19 Gad: In Hebrew “Gad” sounds like “attack.”
49.21 with lovely fawns: Or “speaking lovely words.”
49.22 wall: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
49.24 mighty rock: The Hebrew text has “rock,” which is sometimes used in poetry to compare the Lord to a mountain where his people can run for protection from their enemies.
49.26 eternal hills: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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