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The Blue Letter Bible

Genesis 49 :: New International Version (NIV)

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Jacob Blesses His Sons

Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:1 - Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:2 - “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:3 - “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:4 - Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:5 - “Simeon and Levi are brothers— their swords[fn] are weapons of violence.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:6 - Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:7 - Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:8 - “Judah,[fn] your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:9 - You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:10 - The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[fn] until he to whom it belongs[fn] shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:11 - He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:12 - His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:13 - “Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:14 - “Issachar is a rawboned[fn] donkey lying down among the sheep pens.[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:15 - When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:16 - “Dan[fn] will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:17 - Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:18 - “I look for your deliverance, LORD.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:19 - “Gad[fn] will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them at their heels.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:20 - “Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:21 - “Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns.[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:22 - “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:23 - With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:24 - But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed[fn] limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:25 - because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty,[fn] who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:26 - Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than[fn] the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among[fn] his brothers.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:27 - “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.”
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:28 - All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

The Death of Jacob

Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:29 - Then he gave them these instructions: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:30 - the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:31 - There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah.
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:32 - The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxGen 49:33 - When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
NIV Footnotes
The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
Judah sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for praise.
Or from his descendants
Or to whom tribute belongs; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
Or will be dull from wine, / his teeth white from milk
Or strong
Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
Dan here means he provides justice.
Gad sounds like the Hebrew for attack and also for band of raiders.
Or free; / he utters beautiful words
Or Joseph is a wild colt, / a wild colt near a spring, / a wild donkey on a terraced hill
Or archers will attack ? will shoot ? will remain ? will stay
Hebrew Shaddai
Or of my progenitors, / as great as
Or of the one separated from
Or the descendants of Heth

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Used by Permission of Biblica, Inc.® All rights reserved worldwide.

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For more information on this translation, see the NIV Preface.

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