1 Then Jacob called all his sons to him. He said, “All my sons, come here to me. I will tell you what will happen in the future. 2 “Come together and listen, sons of Jacob. Listen to Israel, your father.” 3 “Reuben, my first son, you are my first child, the first proof of my power as a man. You were the most honored and powerful of all my sons. 4 But your passion was like a flood you couldn’t control. So you will not remain my most honored son. You climbed into your father’s bed and slept with one of his wives. You brought shame to my bed, to the bed you lay on.” 5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers. They love to fight with their swords. 6 They planned evil things in secret. My soul wants no part in their plans. I will not accept their secret meetings. They killed men when they were angry. And they hurt animals only for fun. 7 Their anger is a curse. It is too strong. They are too cruel when they are mad. They will not get their own land in the land of Jacob. They will be spread throughout Israel.” 8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you. You will defeat your enemies. Your brothers will bow down to you. 9 Judah is like a lion. My son, you are like a lion standing over the animal it killed. Judah is like a lion. He lies down to rest, and no one is brave enough to disturb him. 10 Men from Judah’s family will be kings. The sign that his family rules will not leave his family, before the real king comes. Then many people will obey and serve him. 11 He ties his donkey to a grapevine. He ties his young donkey to the best grapevines. He uses the best wine to wash his clothes. 12 His eyes are red from drinking wine. His teeth are white from drinking milk.” 13 “Zebulun will live near the sea. His seacoast will be a safe place for ships. His land will continue as far as the city of Sidon.” 14 “Issachar is like a donkey who has worked too hard. He will lie down after carrying a heavy load. 15 He will see his resting place is good. He will see his land is pleasant. Then he will agree to carry heavy loads. He will agree to work as a slave.” 16 “Dan will judge his own people, like the other families of Israel. 17 Dan will be like a snake at the side of the road. He will be like a dangerous snake lying near the path. That snake bites a horse’s foot, and the rider falls to the ground. 18 “Lord, I am waiting for your salvation.” 19 “A group of robbers will attack Gad. But Gad will chase them away.” 20 “Asher’s land will grow much good food. He will have food fit for a king!” 21 “Naphtali is like a deer running free, and his words like their beautiful babies.” 22 “Joseph is very successful. Joseph is like a vine covered with fruit, like a vine growing by a spring, like a vine growing along a fence. 23 Many people turned and fought against him. People with arrows became his enemies. 24 But he won the fight with his mighty bow and his skillful arms. He gets power from the Mighty One of Jacob, from the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 from the God of your father. God blesses you. “May God All-Powerful bless you and give you blessings from the sky above, and blessings from the deep below. May he give you blessings from breast and womb. 26 My parents had many good things happen to them. And I, your father, was blessed even more. Your brothers left you with nothing. But now I pile all my blessings on you, as high as a mountain.” 27 “Benjamin is like a hungry wolf. In the morning he kills and eats. In the evening he shares what is left.” 28 Those are the twelve families of Israel. And those are the things their father said to them. He gave each son a blessing that was right for him. 29 Then Israel gave them a command. He said, “When I die, I want to be with my people. I want to be buried with my ancestors in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30 That cave is in the field of Machpelah near Mamre. It is in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought that field from Ephron so that he could have a burying place. 31 Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried in that cave. Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried in that cave. I buried my wife Leah in that cave. 32 That cave is in the field that was bought from the Hittite people.” 33 After Jacob finished talking to his sons, he lay down, put his feet back on the bed and died.