Jacob Blesses His Sons
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.
listen to your father Israel.
my might, the first sign of my strength,
excelling in honor, excelling in power.
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.
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.
7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
and disperse them in Israel.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[c]
until he to whom it belongs shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
Judah was the fourth son, but Reuben, Simeon and Levi had forfeited the right to leadership because of their moral failings. So leadership is given to Judah, and the double portion of the first born given to Joseph.
and become a haven for ships;
his border will extend toward Sidon.
lying down among the sheep pens.[g]
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.
as one of the tribes of Israel.
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.
18 “I look for your deliverance, LORD.
Jacob interrupts his pronouncements here by a brief prayer that highlights his concern for his descendants. Without divine deliverance, they will not survive.
but he will attack them at their heels.
he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
that bears beautiful fawns.
The Death of Jacob