The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Genesis
Then Jacob summoned all his sons to him; Gather about me, he said, to hear what awaits you in the days still to come;
gather about me, sons of Jacob, and listen; it is Israel, your father, who speaks.
Thou, Ruben, art my first-born, my pride, my manhood’s first-fruits; thine was the privilege, thine the right to rule,
but all went to waste like water. Never mayst thou thrive, thou who wouldst lie between thy father’s sheets, and defile his bed.
Simeon and Levi are brothers indeed, warriors both, and ready tools of violence.
Never may this soul of mine take part in their conspiracy, this heart be of their company; raging, they slew their enemy, recklessly they broke down a city wall.✻
A curse on this unrelenting rage of theirs, this bitter spite! I will distribute them here and there in Jacob, I will scatter them throughout Israel.
But thou, Juda, shalt win the praise of thy brethren; with thy hand on the necks of thy enemies, thou shalt be reverenced by thy own father’s sons.
Juda is like a lion’s whelp; on the hills, my son, thou roamest after thy prey; like a lion couched in his lair, a lioness that none dares provoke.
Juda shall not want a branch from his stem,✻ a prince drawn from his stock, until the day when he comes who is to be sent to us, he, the hope of the nations.
To what tree will he tie his mount; the ass he rides on? The vine for him, the vineyard for him; when he washes his garments, it shall be in wine, all his vesture shall be dyed with the blood of grapes.
Fairer than wine his eyes shall be, his teeth whiter than milk.✻
Zabulon shall dwell by the sea shore, where the ships find harbour, at Sidon’s gates.
Issachar lies secure within its own confines, like some beast of burden that has great strength;
so pleasant he finds his resting-place, so fair his land, that he is willing to bow under the yoke, and pay tribute to others.
But Dan shall administer his own laws, like any other tribe of Israel;
Dan is like a snake by the road side, an adder on the path, to bite the horse’s heels, and make him throw the rider backwards.
I will wait patiently, Lord, for the deliverance thou canst bring me.✻
Gad shall be at the mercy of armed men, till he goes armed in his turn.
Rich in wheat shall Aser’s lands be; he shall send out delicacies for the tables of kings.
Nephthali is like a roe-deer that goes free, bringing a message of gladness.✻
Joseph grows upward, upward still, fair to view; see how the maidens pass to and fro on the city walls!✻
Sorely his enemies harass him with the darts they throw, unrelenting in their hatred,
but his bow rests in the strength that does not fail him; the power of the God who rules in Jacob gives free play to hand and arm. From Joseph one shall arise, who will be the shepherd and the corner-stone of Israel.
The God of thy father shall bring thee aid; the Almighty shall bless thee with all the blessings that lie stored in heaven above, or in the depth beneath us, all the blessings that enrich breast and womb.
This blessing which thy father gives thee draws strength from all the blessings which his own fathers bequeathed; they shall not cease till he comes, whom the everlasting hills await. May they all rest on Joseph’s head, rest on his brow, who is separated, like a Nazirite, from his brethren.
As for Benjamin, he is like a ravening wolf, that must devour his own prey in the morning, and have plunder still to divide at nightfall.
All these names are perpetuated in the twelve tribes of Israel; and these are the words in which their father blessed them one by one, giving each the blessing that was due to him.
Then he laid a charge upon them; I must die, he said, and become a part of my people; bury me with my fathers in the double cave on the land that belonged once to Ephron the Hethite,
the cave that looks towards Mambre, in the land of Chanaan. It was this cave that Abraham bought, with the ground it stands in, from Ephron the Hethite, to make his tomb there.
There they buried him, and his wife Sara with him; there, too, Isaac lies buried with his wife Rebecca; there Lia, too, was laid.
So he made an end of giving the directions he would have his sons observe; then lay his full length on the bed, and died, and became a part of his people.
The Holy Bible