1 Then Jacob called out for his sons and said:

“Gather around so I can tell you what

Will happen to you in the days to come.

2 Assemble; listen, sons of Jacob; hear      

Your father Israel. 3 Now Reuben, you’re

My firstborn and my might, the first sign of

My strength, you who excel in honor and

In power. 4 Turbulent as waters, you

No longer will excel, for you went up

Onto your father’s bed, onto my couch,     

And you defiled it. 5 Simeon and Levi are

Brothers−their swords are brutal weapons. 6 Let

Me not go in their council, let me not

Join their assembly, for they have killed men

In anger and have hamstrung oxen as

They pleased. 7 I curse their anger that’s so fierce,

Their fury that’s so cruel! In Jacob I

Will scatter them and I’ll disperse them in

The land of Israel. 8 Your brothers will

Give you praise, Judah; your hand will be on

Your adversaries’ neck; your father’s sons

Will bow to you. 9 You are a lion’s cub,

O Judah; you return from prey, my son,

Who like a lion crouches and lies down,

Much like a lioness−who dares rouse him?

10 The scepter will not go from Judah, and

The ruler’s staff will not go from between

His feet, until he comes to whom it does

               Belong and the obedience of nations

Is his, 11 for he will tie his donkey to

A vine, his colt onto the choicest branch;

He’ll wash his clothes in wine, his robes in blood

Of grapes. 12 His eyes will be as dark as wine,

His teeth as white as milk. 13 And Zebulun

Will live beside the seashore and become

A haven for the ships; his border will

Extend toward Sidon, 14 and now: Issachar’s

               A rawboned donkey lying down between

Two saddlebags, 15 and when he sees how good

His resting place is, how pleasant the land,

He’ll bend his shoulder to the burden and

Acquiesce to forced labor. 16 Dan will give

His people justice as one of the tribes

               Of Israel. 17 He’ll be a serpent by

The roadside, like a viper on the path,

That bites the horse’s heels so that its rider

Tumbles backward. 18 I look for your deliverance,

O LORD. 19 A raiding band will strike at Gad,

But he’ll attack them at their heels. 20 The food

For Asher will be rich; he will provide

Refreshments suitable to feed a king.

21 Naphtali is a doe set free that bears

Fair fawns, 22 and Joseph is a fruitful vine,

A fruitful vine beside a spring, whose branches

Climb up a wall. 23 With bitterness the archers

Attacked him; with hostility they shot

At him. 24 His bow stayed steady, his strong arms

Stayed limber, due to Jacob’s Mighty One’s

Hand, yes, due to the Shepherd, who’s the Rock

Of Israel, 25 due your father’s God

Who helps you, due to the Almighty, who

Blesses you with the blessings of the heavens

Above, the blessings of the deep that lies

Below, the blessings of the breast and womb.

26 Your father’s blessings are superior

To blessings of the ancient mountains, to

The bounty of the age-old hills. Let all

These rest on Joseph’s head, upon the brow

Of Joseph, prince among his brothers. 27 Now

Jacob Blesses Joseph


Benjamin is a hungry wolf; in morning

He gobbles up his prey, in evening he

Divides the plunder.” 28 These are the twelve tribes

Of Israel, and this is what their father

Said to them when he blessed them, giving each

The blessing pertinent to him, 29 then he

Instructed them: “I am about to be

Gathered to my own people. Bury me

With my own fathers in the cave that’s in

The Hittite Ephron’s field, 30 the cave within

The field of Machpelah, near Mamre in

Canaan, which Abraham did buy from Ephron

The Hittite, with the field, to be a tomb.

31 There Abraham and his wife Sarah were

Interred, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah

Were buried, and it’s there I buried Leah.

32 The field and cave in it were bought from Hittites.

33 When Jacob had so taught his sons, he drew

His feet up in the bed; he breathed his last

               And went to his people who had passed.