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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 49

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1 JACOB summoned his sons. ‘Come near,’ he said, ‘and I shall tell you what is to happen to you in days to come.

2

‘Gather round me and listen, you sons of Jacob; listen to Israel your father.

3

‘Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and the first fruit of my vigour, excelling in pride, excelling in might. 4 Uncontrollable as a flood, you will excel no more, because you climbed into your father's bed, and defiled his concubine's couch.

5

‘Simeon and Levi are brothers, weapons of violence are their counsels a 49:5 counsels: Heb. word of uncertain meaning. . 6 My soul will not enter their council, my heart will not join their assembly; for in anger they killed men, wantonly they hamstrung oxen. 7 A curse be on their anger, for it was fierce; a curse on their wrath, for it was ruthless! I shall scatter them in Jacob, I shall disperse them in Israel.

8

‘Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies. Your father's sons will bow to you in homage. 9 Judah, a lion's whelp, you have returned from the kill, my son; you crouch and stretch like a lion, like a lion no one dares rouse. 10 The sceptre will not pass from Judah, nor the staff from between his feet, until he receives what is his due b 49:10 he receives…his due: or, as otherwise read, Shiloh comes. and the obedience of the nations is his. 11 He tethers his donkey to the vine, and its colt to the red vine; he washes his cloak in wine, his robe in the blood of grapes. 12 Darker than wine are his eyes, whiter than milk his teeth.

13

‘Zebulun lives by the seashore; his coast is a haven for ships, and his frontier touches Sidon.

14

‘Issachar, a gelded c 49:14 gelded: so Samar.; or Heb. bony. donkey lying down in the cattle pens, 15 saw that a settled home was good and that the land was pleasant, so he bent his back to the burden and submitted to forced labour.

16

‘Dan—his people will be strong as any tribe in Israel d 49:16 Dan…Israel: or Dan will govern his people as one of the tribes of Israel. ! 17 Let Dan be a viper on the road, a horned snake on the path, that bites the horse's fetlock so that the rider is thrown off backwards.

18

‘I wait in hope for salvation from you, LORD.

19

‘Gad is raided by raiders, and he will raid them from the rear.

20

‘Asher will feast every day, and provide dishes fit for a king.

21

‘Naphtali is a spreading terebinth putting forth lovely boughs. 22 ‘Joseph is a fruitful tree by a spring, whose branches climb over the wall. 23 The archers savagely attacked him, shooting and assailing him fiercely, 24 but Joseph's bow remained unfailing and his arms were tireless by the power of the Strong One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd e 49:24 Shepherd: prob. rdg; Heb. adds stone. of Israel, 25 by the God of your father—so may he help you! By God Almighty — so may he bless you with the blessings of heaven above, and the blessings of the deep that lies below! The blessings of breast and womb 26 and the blessings of your father are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains and the bounty of the everlasting hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of him who was prince among his brothers.

27

‘Benjamin is a ravening wolf: in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he snatches a share of the spoil.’

28These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all, and this was what their father said to them, when he blessed them each in turn. 29Then he gave them his last charge and said, ‘I am about to be gathered to my ancestors; bury me with my forefathers in the cave on the plot of land which belonged to Ephron the Hittite, 30that is the cave on the plot of land at Machpelah east of Mamre in Canaan, the field which Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial-place. 31There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah; there Isaac and his wife Rebecca were buried; and that is where I buried Leah. 32The land and the cave there were bought from the Hittites.’ 33When Jacob had finished giving these instructions to his sons, he drew up his feet on to the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his ancestors.

Notes:

a 49:5 counsels: Heb. word of uncertain meaning.

b 49:10 he receives…his due: or, as otherwise read, Shiloh comes.

c 49:14 gelded: so Samar.; or Heb. bony.

d 49:16 Dan…Israel: or Dan will govern his people as one of the tribes of Israel.

e 49:24 Shepherd: prob. rdg; Heb. adds stone.

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