Other Translations of Genesis 49:3-24
King James Version
3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: 4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments instruments...: or, their swords are weapons of violence of cruelty are in their habitations. 6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. 7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. 9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
13 Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. 14 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: 15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute. 16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder an adder: Heb. an arrow snake in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. 18 I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord. 19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. 20 Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. 21 Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.
22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches branches: Heb. daughters run over the wall: 23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: 24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
English Standard Version
3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. 4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it--he went up to my couch!
5 "Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords. 6 Let my soul come not into their council; O my glory, be not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen. 7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.
8 "Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons shall bow down before you. 9 Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him;By a slight revocalization; a slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Targum) until he comes to whom it belongs; Hebrew until Shiloh comes, or until he comes to Shiloh and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. 11 Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.
13 "Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon. 14 "Issachar is a strong donkey, crouching between the sheepfolds.Or between its saddlebags 15 He saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant, so he bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant at forced labor. 16 "Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse's heels so that his rider falls backward. 18 I wait for your salvation, O Lord. 19 "Raiders shall raid Gad,Gad sounds like the Hebrew for raiders and raid but he shall raid at their heels. 20 "Asher's food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies. 21 "Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns.Or he gives beautiful words, or that bears fawns of the fold
22 "Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall.Or Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey beside a spring, his wild colts beside the wall 23 The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, 24 yet his bow remained unmoved; his armsHebrew the arms of his hands were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd,Or by the name of the Shepherd the Stone of Israel),
3 Reuben, you're my firstborn, my strength, first proof of my manhood, at the top in honor and at the top in power, 4 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 Simeon and Levi are two of a kind, ready to fight at the drop of a hat. 6 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. 7 A 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 You, Judah, your brothers will praise you: Your fingers on your enemies' throat, while your brothers honor you. 9 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? 10 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. 11 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, 12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.
13 Zebulun settles down on the seashore; he's a safe harbor for ships, right alongside Sidon. 14 Issachar is one tough donkey crouching between the corrals; 15 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 Dan will handle matters of justice for his people; he will hold his own just fine among the tribes of Israel. 17 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. 18 I wait in hope for your salvation, God. 19 Gad will be attacked by bandits, but he will trip them up. 20 Asher will become famous for rich foods, candies and sweets fit for kings. 21 Naphtali is a deer running free that gives birth to lovely fawns.
22 Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey by a spring, spirited donkeys on a hill. 23 The archers with malice attacked, shooting their hate-tipped arrows; 24 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.
New King James Version
3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, My might and the beginning of my strength, The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. 4 Unstable as water, you shall not excel, Because you went up to your father's bed; Then you defiled it-- He went up to my couch.
5 "Simeon and Levi are brothers; Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. 6 Let not my soul enter their council; Let not my honor be united to their assembly; For in their anger they slew a man, And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. 7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob And scatter them in Israel.
8 "Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father's children shall bow down before you. 9 Judah is a lion's whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. 11 Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey's colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.
13 "Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea; He shall become a haven for ships, And his border shall adjoin Sidon. 14 "Issachar is a strong donkey, Lying down between two burdens; 15 He saw that rest was good, And that the land was pleasant; He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden, And became a band of slaves. 16 "Dan shall judge his people As one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, A viper by the path, That bites the horse's heels So that its rider shall fall backward. 18 I have waited for your salvation, O Lord! 19 "Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him, But he shall triumph at last. 20 "Bread from Asher shall be rich, And he shall yield royal dainties. 21 "Naphtali is a deer let loose; He uses beautiful words.
22 "Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall. 23 The archers have bitterly grieved him, Shot at him and hated him. 24 But his bow remained in strength, And the arms of his hands were made strong By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
New Living Translation
3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength, the child of my vigorous youth. You are first in rank and first in power. 4 But you are as unruly as a flood, and you will be first no longer. For you went to bed with my wife; you defiled my marriage couch.
5 "Simeon and Levi are two of a kind; their weapons are instruments of violence. 6 May I never join in their meetings; may I never be a party to their plans. For in their anger they murdered men, and they crippled oxen just for sport. 7 A curse on their anger, for it is fierce; a curse on their wrath, for it is cruel. I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob; I will disperse them throughout Israel.
8 "Judah, your brothers will praise you. You will grasp your enemies by the neck. All your relatives will bow before you. 9 Judah, my son, is a young lion that has finished eating its prey. Like a lion he crouches and lies down; like a lioness-who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor. 11 He ties his foal to a grapevine, the colt of his donkey to a choice vine. He washes his clothes in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk.
13 "Zebulun will settle by the seashore and will be a harbor for ships; his borders will extend to Sidon. 14 "Issachar is a sturdy donkey, resting between two saddlepacks. 15 When he sees how good the countryside is and how pleasant the land, he will bend his shoulder to the load and submit himself to hard labor. 16 "Dan will govern his people, like any other tribe in Israel. 17 Dan will be a snake beside the road, a poisonous viper along the path that bites the horse's hooves so its rider is thrown off. 18 I trust in you for salvation, O Lord ! 19 "Gad will be attacked by marauding bands, but he will attack them when they retreat. 20 "Asher will dine on rich foods and produce food fit for kings. 21 "Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns.
22 "Joseph is the foal of a wild donkey, the foal of a wild donkey at a spring- one of the wild donkeys on the ridge. 23 Archers attacked him savagely; they shot at him and harassed him. 24 But his bow remained taut, and his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
Matthew Henry's Commentary on Genesis 49:3-24
Commentary on Genesis 49:3-7
(Read Genesis 49:3-7)
Reuben was the first-born; but by gross sin, he forfeited the birthright. The character of Reuben is, that he was unstable as water. Men do not thrive, because they do not fix. Reuben's sin left a lasting infamy upon his family. Let us never do evil, then we need not fear being told of it. Simeon and Levi were passionate and revengeful. The murder of the Shechemites is a proof of this. Jacob protested against that barbarous act. Our soul is our honour; by its powers we are distinguished from, and raised above, the beasts that perish. We ought, from our hearts, to abhor all bloody and mischievous men. Cursed be their anger. Jacob does not curse their persons, but their lusts. I will divide them. The sentence as it respects Levi was turned into a blessing. This tribe performed an acceptable service in their zeal against the worshippers of the golden calf, Exodus 32. Being set apart to God as priests, they were in that character scattered through the nation of Israel.
Commentary on Genesis 49:8-12
(Read Genesis 49:8-12)
Judah's name signifies praise. God was praised for him, Isaiah 55:1.
Commentary on Genesis 49:13-18
(Read Genesis 49:13-18)
Concerning Zebulun: if prophecy says, Zebulun shall be a haven of ships, be sure Providence will so plant him. God appoints the bounds of our habitation. It is our wisdom and duty to accommodate ourselves to our lot, and to improve it; if Zebulun dwell at the heaven of the sea, let him be for a haven of ships. Concerning Issachar: he saw that the land was pleasant, yielding not only pleasant prospects, but pleasant fruits to recompense his toils. Let us, with an eye of faith, see the heavenly rest to be good, and that land of promise to be pleasant; this will make our present services easy. Dan should, by art, and policy, and surprise, gain advantages against his enemies, like a serpent biting the heel of the traveller. Jacob, almost spent, and ready to faint, relieves himself with those words, "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord!" The salvation he waited for was Christ, the promised Seed; now that he was going to be gathered to his people, he breathes after Him to whom the gathering of the people shall be. He declared plainly that he sought heaven, the better country, Hebrews 11:13,14. Now he is going to enjoy the salvation, he comforts himself that he had waited for the salvation. Christ, as our way to heaven, is to be waited on; and heaven, as our rest in Christ, is to be waited for. It is the comfort of a dying saint thus to have waited for the salvation of the Lord; for then he shall have what he has been waiting for.
Commentary on Genesis 49:19-21
(Read Genesis 49:19-21)
Concerning Gad, Jacob alludes to his name, which signifies a troop, and foresees the character of that tribe. The cause of God and his people, though for a time it may seem to be baffled and run down, will be victorious at last. It represents the Christian's conflict. Grace in the soul is often foiled in its conflicts; troops of corruption overcome it, but the cause is God's, and grace will in the end come off conqueror, yea, more than conqueror, Romans 8:37. Asher should be a rich tribe. His inheritance bordered upon Carmel, which was fruitful to a proverb. Naphtali, is a hind let loose. We may consider it as a description of the character of this tribe. Unlike the laborious ox and ass; desirous of ease and liberty; active, but more noted for quick despatch than steady labour and perseverance. Like the suppliant who, with goodly words, craves mercy. Let not those of different tempers and gifts censure or envy one another.
Commentary on Genesis 49:22-27
(Read Genesis 49:22-27)
The blessing of Joseph is very full. What Jacob says of him, is history as well as prophecy. Jacob reminds him of the difficulties and fiery darts of temptations he had formerly struggled through. His faith did not fail, but through his trials he bore all his burdens with firmness, and did not do anything unbecoming. All our strength for resisting temptations, and bearing afflictions, comes from God; his grace is sufficient. Joseph became the shepherd of Israel, to take care of his father and family; also the stone of Israel, their foundation and strong support. In this, as in many other things, Joseph was a remarkable type of the Good Shepherd, and tried Corner Stone of the whole church of God. Blessings are promised to Joseph's posterity, typical of the vast and everlasting blessings which come upon the spiritual seed of Christ. Jacob blessed all his sons, but especially Joseph, "who was separated from his brethren." Not only separated in Egypt, but, possessing eminent dignity, and more devoted to God. Of Benjamin it is said, He shall ravin as a wolf. Jacob was guided in what he said by the Spirit of prophecy, and not by natural affection; else he would have spoken with more tenderness of his beloved son Benjamin. Concerning him he only foresees and foretells, that his posterity should be a warlike tribe, strong and daring, and that they should enrich themselves with the spoils of their enemies; that they should be active. Blessed Paul was of this tribe, Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5; he, in the morning of his day, devoured the prey as a persecutor, but in the evening divided the spoils as a preacher; he shared the blessings of Judah's Lion, and assisted in his victories.