Jacob’s Last Words

1 Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather around, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the days to come.(a)(A)
Come together and listen, sons of Jacob;
listen to your father Israel:
Reuben, you are my firstborn,(B)
my strength and the firstfruits of my virility,(C)
excelling in prominence, excelling in power.
Turbulent as water, you will no longer excel,
because you got into your father’s bed(D)
and you defiled it—he(b) got into my bed.
Simeon and Levi are brothers;
their knives are vicious weapons.(E)
May I never enter their council;
may I never join their assembly.
For in their anger they kill men,
and on a whim they hamstring oxen.
Their anger is cursed, for it is strong,
and their fury, for it is cruel!
I will disperse them throughout Jacob
and scatter them throughout Israel.(F)
Judah, your brothers will praise you.(G)
Your hand will be on the necks of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.(H)
Judah is a young lion(I)
my son, you return from the kill.
He crouches; he lies down like a lion
or a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah
or the staff from between his feet
until He whose right it is comes(c)(J)
and the obedience of the peoples belongs to Him.(K)
He ties his donkey to a vine,
and the colt of his donkey to the choice vine.
He washes his clothes in wine
and his robes in the blood of grapes.
His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth are whiter than milk.
Zebulun will live by the seashore
and will be a harbor for ships,
and his territory will be next to Sidon.(L)
Issachar is a strong donkey
lying down between the saddlebags.(d)
He saw that his resting place was good
and that the land was pleasant,
so he leaned his shoulder to bear a load
and became a forced laborer.(M)
Dan will judge his people(N)
as one of the tribes of Israel.
He will be a snake by the road,
a viper beside the path,
that bites the horses’ heels
so that its rider falls backward.
I wait for Your salvation, Lord.
Gad will be attacked by raiders,
but he will attack their heels.(O)
Asher’s(e) food will be rich,
and he will produce royal delicacies.(P)
Naphtali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.(Q)
Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine beside a spring;
its branches(f) climb over the wall.(g)
The archers attacked him,
shot at him, and were hostile toward him.
Yet his bow remained steady,
and his strong(h) arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,(R)
by the name of(i) the Shepherd,(S) the Rock of Israel,(T)
by the God of your father who helps you,
and by the Almighty who blesses you
with blessings of the heavens above,
blessings of the deep that lies below,
and blessings of the breasts and the womb.
The blessings of your father excel
the blessings of my ancestors(j)
and(k) the bounty of the eternal hills.(l)(U)
May they rest on the head of Joseph,
on the crown of the prince of his brothers.
Benjamin is a wolf; he tears his prey.
In the morning he devours the prey,
and in the evening he divides the plunder.”(V)
28 These are the tribes of Israel, 12 in all, and this was what their father said to them. He blessed them, and he blessed each one with a suitable blessing.

Jacob’s Burial Instructions

29 Then he commanded them: “I am about to be gathered to my people.(W) Bury me with my fathers(X) in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite.(Y) 30 The cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre, in the land of Canaan. This is the field Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site.(Z) 31 Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there,(AA) Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried there,(AB) and I buried Leah there.(AC) 32 The field and the cave in it were purchased from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and died. He was gathered to his people.


a. Genesis 49:1: Or in the last days
b. Genesis 49:4: LXX, Syr, Tg read you
c. Genesis 49:10: Or until tribute comes to him, or until Shiloh comes, or until He comes to Shiloh
d. Genesis 49:14: Or sheepfolds
e. Genesis 49:20: LXX, Syr, Vg; MT reads their heel. 20 From Asher
f. Genesis 49:22: Lit daughters
g. Genesis 49:22: Hb obscure
h. Genesis 49:24: Lit and the hands of his
i. Genesis 49:24: Syr, Tg; MT reads Jacob, from there
j. Genesis 49:26: Or of the mountains
k. Genesis 49:26: Lit to
l. Genesis 49:26: Hb obscure

Cross references:

Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers.