Highlights from this Passage
- Jacob dies.
- Joseph and his two sons visit his sick father.
- Jacob repeats God’s promise.
- Jacob receives Joseph’s sons as his. He prefers the younger.
- Jacob blesses all his sons by name.
- He tells them that The Messiah shall come out of Judah.
- He will be buried with his fathers.
Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen; and they got themselves possessions therein, and were fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly. Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were one hundred forty-seven years. The time came near that Israel must die, and he called his son Joseph, and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, please put your hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me. Please don’t bury me in Egypt, but when I sleep with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place.”
Joseph said, “I will do as you have said.”
Israel said, “Swear to me,” and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself on the bed’s head.
After these things, someone said to Joseph, “Behold, your father is sick.” He took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Someone told Jacob, and said, “Behold, your son Joseph comes to you,” and Israel strengthened himself, and sat on the bed. Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’ Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you into Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, will be mine. Your offspring, whom you become the father of after them, will be yours. They will be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance. As for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died beside me in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still some distance to come to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (also called Bethlehem).”
Israel saw Joseph’s sons, and said, “Who are these?”
Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.”
He said, “Please bring them to me, and I will bless them.” Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he couldn’t see well. Joseph brought them near to him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. Israel said to Joseph, “I didn’t think I would see your face, and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near to him. Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn. He blessed Joseph, and said,
“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads,
and let my name be named on them,
and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac.
Let them grow into a multitude upon the earth.”
When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him. He held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.”
His father refused, and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also will become a people, and he also will be great. However, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his offspring will become a multitude of nations.” He blessed them that day, saying, “Israel will bless in you, saying, ‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh’” He set Ephraim before Manasseh. Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you, and bring you again to the land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.”
Jacob called to his sons, and said: “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which will happen to you in the days to come.
Assemble yourselves, and hear, you sons of Jacob.
Listen to Israel, your father.
“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength,
excelling in dignity, and excelling in power.
Boiling over like water, you shall not excel,
because you went up to your father’s bed,
then defiled it. He went up to my couch.
“Simeon and Levi are brothers.
Their swords are weapons of violence.
My soul, don’t come into their council.
My glory, don’t be united to their assembly;
for in their anger they killed men.
In their self-will they hamstrung cattle.
Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce;
and their wrath, for it was cruel.
I will divide them in Jacob,
and scatter them in Israel.
“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies.
Your father’s sons will bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s cub.
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down, he crouched as a lion,
as a lioness.
Who will rouse him up?
The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs.
The obedience of the peoples will be to him.
Binding his foal to the vine,
his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
His eyes will be red with wine,
his teeth white with milk.
“Zebulun will dwell at the haven of the sea.
He will be for a haven of ships.
His border will be on Sidon.
“Issachar is a strong donkey,
lying down between the saddlebags.
He saw a resting place, that it was good,
the land, that it was pleasant.
He bows his shoulder to the burden,
and becomes a servant doing forced labor.
“Dan will judge his people,
as one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan will be a serpent on the trail,
an adder in the path,
that bites the horse’s heels,
so that his rider falls backward.
I have waited for your salvation, Yahweh.
“A troop will press on Gad,
but he will press on their heel.
“Asher’s food will be rich.
He will produce royal dainties.
“Naphtali is a doe set free,
who bears beautiful fawns.
“Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine by a spring.
His branches run over the wall.
The archers have severely grieved him,
shot at him, and persecuted him:
But his bow remained strong.
The arms of his hands were made strong,
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
(from there is the shepherd, the stone of Israel),
even by the God of your father, who will help you,
by the Almighty, who will bless you,
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lies below,
blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.
The blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of your ancestors,
above the boundaries of the ancient hills.
They will be on the head of Joseph,
on the crown of the head of him who is separated from his brothers.
“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf.
In the morning he will devour the prey.
At evening he will divide the plunder.”
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them, and blessed them. He blessed everyone according to his own blessing. He instructed them, and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah, his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah, his wife, and there I buried Leah: the field and the cave that is therein, which was purchased from the children of Heth.” When Jacob finished charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, breathed his last breath, and was gathered to his people.