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1Then Jacob called his sons, and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in days to come.

2Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob,

and hearken to Israel your father.

3Reuben, you are my first-born,

my might, and the first fruits of my strength,

pre-eminent in pride and pre-eminent in power.

4Unstable as water, you shall not have pre-eminence

because you went up to your father’s bed;

then you defiled it—you went up to my couch!

5Simeon and Levi are brothers;

weapons of violence are their swords.

6O my soul, come not into their council;

O my spirit, be not joined to their company;

for in their anger they slay men,

and in their wantonness they hamstring oxen.

7Cursed 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.

8Judah, your brothers shall praise you;

your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;

your father’s sons shall bow down before you.

9Judah is a lion’s whelp;

from the prey, my son, you have gone up.

He stooped down, he couched as a lion,

and as a lioness; who dares rouse him up?

10The scepter shall not depart from Judah,

nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,

until he comes to whom it belongs;

and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

11Binding his foal to the vine

and his ass’s colt to the choice vine,

he washes his garments in wine

and his vesture in the blood of grapes;

12his eyes shall be red with wine,

and his teeth white with milk.

13Zebʹulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea;

he shall become a haven for ships,

and his border shall be at Sidon.

14Isʹsachar is a strong ass,

crouching between the sheepfolds;

15he saw that a resting place was good,

and that the land was pleasant;

so he bowed his shoulder to bear,

and became a slave at forced labor.

16Dan shall judge his people

as one of the tribes of Israel.

17Dan shall be a serpent in the way,

a viper by the path,

that bites the horse’s heels

so that his rider falls backward.

18I wait for thy salvation, O Lord.

19Raiders shall raid Gad,

but he shall raid at their heels.

20Asher’s food shall be rich,

and he shall yield royal dainties.

21Naphʹtali is a hind let loose,

that bears comely fawns.

22Joseph is a fruitful bough,

a fruitful bough by a spring;

his branches run over the wall.

23The archers fiercely attacked him,

shot at him, and harassed him sorely;

24yet his bow remained unmoved,

his arms were made agile

by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob

(by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel),

25by the God of your father who will help you,

by God Almighty who will bless you

with blessings of heaven above,

blessings of the deep that couches beneath,

blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

26The blessings of your father

are mighty beyond the blessings of the eternal mountains,

the bounties of the everlasting hills;

may they be on the head of Joseph,

and on the brow of him who was separate from his brothers.

27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,

in the morning devouring the prey,

and at even dividing the spoil.”

28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel; and this is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him. 29Then he charged them, and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30in the cave that is in the field at Mach-peʹlah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah—32the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites.” 33When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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