Scripture quotations are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.
Then Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather together so that I can tell you what will happen with you in days to come.
Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob!
Listen to Israel your father!
Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my strength, and the firstfruit of my vigor,
excelling in rank and excelling in power.
Unstable as water, you shall not excel any longer,
for you went up upon the bed of your father,
then defiled it. You went up upon my couch!
Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
Let me not come into their council.
Let not my person be joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
and at their pleasure they hamstrung cattle.
Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will divide them in Jacob,
and I will scatter them in Israel.
Judah, as for you, your brothers shall praise you.
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies.
The sons of your father shall bow down to you.
Judah is a lion’s cub.
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bowed down; he crouched like a lion and as a lioness.
Who shall rouse him?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff between his feet,
until Shiloh comes.
And to him shall be the obedience of nations.
Binding his donkey to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his clothing in the wine
and his garment in the blood of grapes.
The eyes are darker than wine,
and the teeth whiter than milk.
Zebulun shall settle by the shore of the sea.
He shall become a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
Issachar is a strong donkey,
crouching between the sheepfolds.
He saw a resting place that was good,
and land that was pleasant.
So he bowed his shoulder to the burden
and became a servant of forced labor.
Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan shall be a serpent on the way,
a viper on the road
that bites the heels of a horse,
so that its rider falls backward.
I wait for your salvation, O Yahweh.
Bandits shall attack Gad,
but he shall attack their heels.
Asher’s food is delicious,
and he shall provide from the king’s delicacies.
Naphtali is a doe running free
that puts forth beautiful words.
Joseph is the bough of a fruitful vine,
a fruitful bough by a spring.
His branches climb over the wall.
The archers fiercely attacked him.
They shot arrows at him and were hostile to him.
But his bow remained in a steady position;
his arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.
From there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
Because of the God of your father he will help you
and by Shaddai he will bless you
with the blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and the womb.
The blessings of your father
are superior to the blessings of my ancestors,
to the bounty of the everlasting hills.
May they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the forehead of the prince of his brothers.
Benjamin is a devouring wolf,
devouring the prey in the morning,
and dividing the plunder in the evening.
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, each according to their blessing. Then he instructed them and said to them, "I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me among my ancestors in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah that is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife. And there I buried Leah— the purchase of the field and the cave which was in it from the Hittites." When Jacob finished instructing his sons he drew his feet up to the bed. Then he took his last breath and was gathered to his people.
Then Joseph fell on the face of his father and wept upon him and kissed him. And Joseph instructed his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Forty days were required for it, for thus are the days required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days. When the days of his weeping had passed, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, "If I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the hearing of Pharaoh, saying, ‘My father made me swear, saying, "Behold, I am about to die. In the tomb that I have hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan—there you must bury me." So then, please let me go up and let me bury my father; then I will return.’" Then Pharaoh said, "Go up and bury your father as he made you swear." So Joseph went up to bury his father. And all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, went up with him, with all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and the household of his father. They left only their little children and their flocks and their herds in the land of Goshen. And there also went up with him chariots and horsemen. The company was very great. When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which was beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and sorrowful wailing. And he made a mourning ceremony for his father seven days. And when the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land, saw the mourning ceremony at the threshing floor of Atad they said, "This is a severe mourning for the Egyptians." Therefore its name was called Abel-Mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan. Thus his sons did to him just as he had instructed them. And his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which field Abraham had bought as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite before Mamre. And after burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
And when the brothers of Joseph saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hold a grudge against us and pay us back dearly for all the evil that we did to him." So they sent word to Joseph saying, "Your father commanded us before his death, saying, "Thus you must say to Joseph, ‘O, please now forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did evil to you.’ So now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers went also and fell before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants." Then Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you planned evil against me, but God planned it for good, in order to do this—to keep many people alive—as it is today. So then, do not be afraid. I myself will provide for you and your little ones. And he consoled them and spoke kindly to them.
So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and the house of his father. And Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation. Moreover, the children of Makir, son of Manasseh, were born on the knees of Joseph. And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will certainly visit you and bring you up from this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall bring up my bones from here." So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old. They embalmed him and he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
Now I say, for as long a time as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he is master of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the time set by his father. So also we, when we were children, we were enslaved under the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time came, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order that he might redeem those under the law, in order that we might receive the adoption. And because you are sons, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, "Abba! (Father!)," so that you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, also an heir through God.
But at that time when you did not know God, you were enslaved to the things which by nature are not gods. But now, because you have come to know God, or rather have come to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental spirits? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again? You carefully observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest perhaps I have labored for you in vain! I ask you, brothers, become like me, because I also have become like you. You have done me no wrong!
But you know that because of an illness of the flesh I proclaimed the gospel to you the first time. And you did not despise or disdain what was a trial for you in my flesh, but you welcomed me like an angel of God, like Christ Jesus. So where is your blessing? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me! So then, have I become your enemy by being truthful to you? They zealously seek you, not commendably, but they want to exclude you, in order that you may seek them zealously. But it is good to be sought zealously in good at all times, and not only when I am present with you. My children, for whom I am having birth pains again, until Christ is formed in you! But I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone because I am perplexed about you.
Tell me, you who are wanting to be under the law, do you not understand the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the female slave and one by the free woman. But the one by the female slave was born according to human descent, and the one by the free woman through the promise, which things are spoken allegorically, for these women are two covenants, one from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery, who is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is a slave with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, which is our mother. For it is written,
"Rejoice, O barren woman, who does not give birth to children;
burst out and shout, you who do not have birth pains,
because many are the children of the desolate woman,
even more than those of the one who has a husband."
But you, brothers, are children of the promise, just as Isaac. But just as at that time the child born according to human descent persecuted the child born according to the Spirit, so also now. But what does the scripture say? "Drive out the female slave and her son, for the son of the female slave will never inherit with the son" of the free woman. Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the female slave but of the free woman.