The Unexpected Turns of Life
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Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the [a]days to come.
2 “Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob;
And listen to Israel your father.
3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn;
My might and the beginning of my strength,
[b]Preeminent in dignity and [c]preeminent in power.
4 “[d]Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence,
Because you went up to your father’s bed;
Then you defiled it—he went up to my couch.
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers;
Their swords are implements of violence.
6 “Let my soul not enter into their council;
Let not my glory be united with their assembly;
Because in their anger they slew [e]men,
And in their self-will they lamed [f]oxen.
7 “Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;
And their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will [g]disperse 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 father’s sons shall bow down to you.
9 “Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He [h]couches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a [i]lion, who [j]dares rouse him up?
10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
[k]Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 “[l]He ties his foal to the vine,
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine;
He washes his garments in wine,
And his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 “His eyes are [m]dull from wine,
And his teeth [n]white from milk.
13 “Zebulun will dwell at the seashore;
And he shall be [o]a haven for ships,
And his flank shall be toward Sidon.
14 “Issachar is [p]a strong donkey,
Lying down between the [q]sheepfolds.
15 “When he saw that a resting place was good
And that the land was pleasant,
He bowed his shoulder to bear burdens,
And became a slave at forced labor.
16 “Dan shall judge his people,
As one of the tribes of Israel.
17 “Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
A horned snake in the path,
That bites the horse’s heels,
So that his rider falls backward.
18 “For Your salvation I wait, O Lord.
21 “Naphtali is a doe let loose,
He gives beautiful words.
22 “Joseph is a fruitful [w]bough,
A fruitful [x]bough by a spring;
Its [y]branches run over a wall.
23 “The archers bitterly attacked him,
And shot at him and harassed him;
24 But his bow remained [z]firm,
And [aa]his arms were agile,
From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25 From the God of your father who helps you,
And [ab]by the [ac]Almighty who blesses 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
Have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors
Up to the [ad]utmost bound of the everlasting hills;
May they be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.
27 “Benjamin is a [ae]ravenous wolf;
In the morning he devours the prey,
And in the evening he divides the spoil.”
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them [af]when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one [ag]with the blessing appropriate to him. 29 Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a [ah]burial site. 31 There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah— 32 the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of Heth.” 33 When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.