Jacob's final days

Genesis 47:28-50:3 MSG
(counting...)
GE 35:22

27-28And so Israel settled down in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property and flourished. They became a large company of people. Jacob lived in Egypt for seventeen years. In all, he lived 147 years.

29-30When the time came for Israel to die, he called his son Joseph and said, "Do me this favor. Put your hand under my thigh, a sign that you're loyal and true to me to the end. Don't bury me in Egypt. When I lie down with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me alongside them."

"I will," he said. "I'll do what you've asked."

31Israel said, "Promise me." Joseph promised.

Israel bowed his head in submission and gratitude from his bed.

1-2Some time after this conversation, Joseph was told, "Your father is ill." He took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and went to Jacob. When Jacob was told, "Your son Joseph has come," he roused himself and sat up in bed.

3-7Jacob said to Joseph, "The Strong God appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. He said, 'I'm going to make you prosperous and numerous, turn you into a congregation of tribes; and I'll turn this land over to your children coming after you as a permanent inheritance.' I'm adopting your two sons who were born to you here in Egypt before I joined you; they have equal status with Reuben and Simeon. But any children born after them are yours; they will come after their brothers in matters of inheritance. I want it this way because, as I was returning from Paddan, your mother Rachel, to my deep sorrow, died as we were on our way through Canaan when we were only a short distance from Ephrath, now called Bethlehem."

8Just then Jacob noticed Joseph's sons and said, "Who are these?"

9-11Joseph told his father, "They are my sons whom God gave to me in this place."

"Bring them to me," he said, "so I can bless them." Israel's eyesight was poor from old age; he was nearly blind. So Joseph brought them up close. Old Israel kissed and embraced them and then said to Joseph, "I never expected to see your face again, and now God has let me see your children as well!"

12-16Joseph took them from Israel's knees and bowed respectfully, his face to the ground. Then Joseph took the two boys, Ephraim with his right hand setting him to Israel's left, and Manasseh with his left hand setting him to Israel's right, and stood them before him. But Israel crossed his arms and put his right hand on the head of Ephraim who was the younger and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, the firstborn. Then he blessed them:

The God before whom walked

my fathers Abraham and Isaac,

The God who has been my shepherd

all my life long to this very day,

The Angel who delivered me from every evil,

Bless the boys.

May my name be echoed in their lives,

and the names of Abraham and Isaac, my fathers,

And may they grow

covering the Earth with their children.

17-18When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim's head, he thought he had made a mistake, so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's, saying, "That's the wrong head, Father; the other one is the firstborn; place your right hand on his head."

19-20But his father wouldn't do it. He said, "I know, my son; but I know what I'm doing. He also will develop into a people, and he also will be great. But his younger brother will be even greater and his descendants will enrich nations." Then he blessed them both:

Israel will use your names to give blessings:

May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.

In that he made it explicit: he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

21-22Israel then said to Joseph, "I'm about to die. God be with you and give you safe passage back to the land of your fathers. As for me, I'm presenting you, as the first among your brothers, the ridge of land I took from Amorites with my sword and bow."

1Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather around. I want to tell you what you can expect in the days to come."

2Come together, listen sons of Jacob,

listen to Israel your father.

3-4Reuben, you're my firstborn,

my strength, first proof of my manhood,

at the top in honor and at the top in power,

But like a bucket of water spilled,

you'll be at the top no more,

Because you climbed into your father's marriage bed,

mounting that couch, and you defiled it.

5-6Simeon and Levi are two of a kind,

ready to fight at the drop of a hat.

I don't want anything to do with their vendettas,

want no part in their bitter feuds;

They kill men in fits of temper,

slash oxen on a whim.

7A curse on their uncontrolled anger,

on their indiscriminate wrath.

I'll throw them out with the trash;

I'll shred and scatter them like confetti throughout Israel.

8-12You, Judah, your brothers will praise you:

Your fingers on your enemies' throat,

while your brothers honor you.

You're a lion's cub, Judah,

home fresh from the kill, my son.

Look at him, crouched like a lion, king of beasts;

who dares mess with him?

The scepter shall not leave Judah;

he'll keep a firm grip on the command staff

Until the ultimate ruler comes

and the nations obey him.

He'll tie up his donkey to the grapevine,

his purebred prize to a sturdy branch.

He will wash his shirt in wine

and his cloak in the blood of grapes,

His eyes will be darker than wine,

his teeth whiter than milk.

13Zebulun settles down on the seashore;

he's a safe harbor for ships,

right alongside Sidon.

14-15Issachar is one tough donkey

crouching between the corrals;

When he saw how good the place was,

how pleasant the country,

He gave up his freedom

and went to work as a slave.

16-17Dan will handle matters of justice for his people;

he will hold his own just fine among the tribes of Israel.

Dan is only a small snake in the grass,

a lethal serpent in ambush by the road

When he strikes a horse in the heel,

and brings its huge rider crashing down.

18I wait in hope

for your salvation, God.

19Gad will be attacked by bandits,

but he will trip them up.

20Asher will become famous for rich foods,

candies and sweets fit for kings.

21-26Naphtali is a deer running free

that gives birth to lovely fawns.

Joseph is a wild donkey,

a wild donkey by a spring,

spirited donkeys on a hill.

The archers with malice attacked,

shooting their hate-tipped arrows;

But he held steady under fire,

his bow firm, his arms limber,

With the backing of the Champion of Jacob,

the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.

The God of your father—may he help you!

And may The Strong God—may he give you his blessings,

Blessings tumbling out of the skies,

blessings bursting up from the Earth—

blessings of breasts and womb.

May the blessings of your father

exceed the blessings of the ancient mountains,

surpass the delights of the eternal hills;

May they rest on the head of Joseph,

on the brow of the one consecrated among his brothers.

27Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;

all morning he gorges on his kill,

at evening divides up what's left over.

28All these are the tribes of Israel, the twelve tribes. And this is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each one with his own special farewell blessing.

29-32Then he instructed them: "I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave in the field of Machpelah facing Mamre in the land of Canaan, the field Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial plot. Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried there; Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried there; I also buried Leah there. The field and the cave were bought from the Hittites."

33Jacob finished instructing his sons, pulled his feet into bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.

1Joseph threw himself on his father, wept over him, and kissed him.

2-3Joseph then instructed the physicians in his employ to embalm his father. The physicians embalmed Israel. The embalming took forty days, the period required for embalming. There was public mourning by the Egyptians for seventy days.


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