Jacob’s Prophecy concerning His Sons

Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves, so that I may tell you what will happen to you in the [a]days to come.

Gather together and listen, sons of Jacob;

Yes, listen to Israel your father.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,

My might and the beginning of my strength,

Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.

[b]Uncontrollable 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.

“Simeon and Levi are brothers;

Their [c]swords are implements of violence.

May my soul not enter into their council;

May my glory not be united with their assembly;

For in their anger they killed [d]men,

And in their self-will they lamed [e]oxen.

Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;

And their wrath, for it is cruel.

I will scatter them in Jacob,

And disperse them among Israel.

“As for you, 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.

Judah is a lion’s cub;

From the prey, my son, you have gone up.

He [f]crouches, he lies down as a lion,

And as a [g]lion, who [h]dares to stir him up?

10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,

Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,

[i]Until Shiloh comes,

And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

11 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 [j]dull from wine,

And his teeth [k]white from milk.

13 “Zebulun will reside at the seashore;

And he shall be [l]a harbor for ships,

And his flank shall be toward Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a [m]strong donkey,

Lying down between the sheepfolds.

15 When he saw that a resting place was good

And that the land was pleasant,

He bowed his shoulder to carry 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 viper in the path,

That bites the horse’s heels,

So that its rider falls backward.

18 For Your salvation I wait, Lord.

19 “As for Gad, a band of raiders shall attack him,

But he will attack at their [n]heels.

20 [o]As for Asher, his [p]food shall be [q]rich,

And he will yield royal delicacies.

21 “Naphtali is a doe let loose;

He utters beautiful words.

22 “Joseph is a fruitful [r]branch,

A fruitful [s]branch by a spring;

Its [t]branches hang over a wall.

23 The archers provoked him,

And shot at him and were hostile toward him;

24 But his bow remained [u]firm,

And [v]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 [w]by the [x]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 [y]furthest boundary of the everlasting hills;

May they be on the head of Joseph,

And on the top of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a [z]ravenous wolf;

In the morning he devours the prey,

And in the evening he divides the spoils.”

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them [aa]when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one [ab]with the blessing appropriate to him.

Jacob Dies

29 Then he commanded 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 opposite Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a [ac]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 commanding his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.


  1. Genesis 49:1 Lit end of the days
  2. Genesis 49:4 Or Gushing over
  3. Genesis 49:5 Or plans; meaning uncertain
  4. Genesis 49:6 Lit a man
  5. Genesis 49:6 Lit an ox
  6. Genesis 49:9 Lit bows down
  7. Genesis 49:9 Lit lioness
  8. Genesis 49:9 Lit shall
  9. Genesis 49:10 Or Until he comes to Shiloh; or Until he comes to whom it belongs
  10. Genesis 49:12 Or darker than
  11. Genesis 49:12 Or whiter than
  12. Genesis 49:13 Lit a shore of ships
  13. Genesis 49:14 Lit donkey of bone
  14. Genesis 49:19 Lit heel
  15. Genesis 49:20 Lit From
  16. Genesis 49:20 Or bread
  17. Genesis 49:20 Lit fat
  18. Genesis 49:22 Lit son
  19. Genesis 49:22 Lit son
  20. Genesis 49:22 Lit daughters
  21. Genesis 49:24 I.e., in an unyielding position
  22. Genesis 49:24 Lit the arms of his hands
  23. Genesis 49:25 Or with
  24. Genesis 49:25 Heb Shaddai
  25. Genesis 49:26 Lit limit; or desire
  26. Genesis 49:27 Lit a wolf that tears
  27. Genesis 49:28 Lit and
  28. Genesis 49:28 Lit according to his blessing
  29. Genesis 49:30 Lit possession of a burial place