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Genesis Chapter 49 | Parsha: Va-yehi

1And Jacob called his sons and said, “Come together that I may tell you what is to befall you in days to come.

2Assemble and hearken, O sons of Jacob;
Hearken to Israel your father:
3Reuben, you are my first-born,
My might and first fruit of my vigor,
Exceeding in rank
And exceeding in honor.

4Unstable as water, you shall excel no longer;
For when you mounted your father’s bed,
You brought disgrace—my couch he mounted!
5Simeon and Levi are a pair;
Their weapons are tools of lawlessness.

6Let not my person be included in their council,
Let not my being be counted in their assembly.
For when angry they slay men,
And when pleased they maim oxen.

7Cursed be their anger so fierce,
And their wrath so relentless.
I will divide them in Jacob,
Scatter them in Israel.
8You, O Judah, your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the nape of your foes;
Your father’s sons shall bow low to you.

9Judah is a lion’s whelp;
On prey, my son, have you grown.
He crouches, lies down like a lion,
Like the king of beasts—who dare rouse him?

10The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet;
So that tribute shall come to him
And the homage of peoples be his.

11He tethers his ass to a vine,
His ass’s foal to a choice vine;
He washes his garment in wine,
His robe in blood of grapes.

12 His eyes are darker than wine;
His teeth are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun shall dwell by the seashore;
He shall be a haven for ships,
And his flank shall rest on Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong-boned ass,
Crouching among the sheepfolds.

15When he saw how good was security,
And how pleasant was the country,
He bent his shoulder to the burden,
And became a toiling serf.
16Dan shall govern his people,
As one of the tribes of Israel.

17Dan shall be a serpent by the road,
A viper by the path,
That bites the horse’s heels
So that his rider is thrown backward.
18I wait for Your deliverance, O Lord!
19Gad shall be raided by raiders,
But he shall raid at their heels.
20Asher’s bread shall be rich,
And he shall yield royal dainties.
21Naphtali is a hind let loose,
Which yields lovely fawns.
22 Joseph is a wild ass,
A wild ass by a spring
—Wild colts on a hillside.
23Archers bitterly assailed him;
They shot at him and harried him.

24Yet his bow stayed taut,
And his arms were made firm
By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob—
There, the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel—

25The God of your father who helps you,
And Shaddai who blesses you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that couches below,
Blessings of the breast and womb.

26 The blessings of your father
Surpass the blessings of my ancestors,
To the utmost bounds of the eternal hills.
May they rest on the head of Joseph,
On the brow of the elect of his brothers.
27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
In the morning he consumes the foe,
And in the evening he divides the spoil.”

28All these were the tribes of Israel, twelve in number, and this is what their father said to them as he bade them farewell, addressing to each a parting word appropriate to him.

29Then he instructed them, saying to them, “I am about to be gathered to my kin. Bury me with my fathers in the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30the cave which is in the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre, in the land of Canaan, the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site— 31there Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried; and there I buried Leah— 32the field and the cave in it, bought from the Hittites.” 33When Jacob finished his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and, breathing his last, he was gathered to his people.

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