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And Jacob called his sons and said, “Come together that I may tell you what is to befall you in days to come.
Assemble and hearken, 0 sons of Jacob;
Hearken to Israel your father:
Reuben you are my first-born,
My might and first fruit of my vigor,
Exceeding in rank
And exceeding in honor.
Unstable as water, you shall excel no longer;
For when you mounted your father’s bed,
You brought disgrace–my couch he mounted!
Simeon and Levi are a pair;
Their weapons are tools of lawlessness.
Let not my person be included in their council,
Let not my being be counted in their assembly.
For when angry they slay men,
And when pleased they maim oxen.
Cursed be their anger so fierce,
And their wrath so relentless.
I will divide them in Jacob,
Scatter them in Israel.
You, O Judah, your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the nape of your foes;
Your father’s sons shall bow low to you.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
On prey, my son, have you grown.
He crouches, lies down like a lion,
Like the king of beasts–who dare rouse him?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet;
So that tribute shall come to him
And the homage of peoples be his.
He tethers his ass to a vine,
His ass’s foal to a choice vine;
He washes his garment in wine,
His robe in blood of grapes.
His eyes are darker than wine;
His teeth are whiter than milk.
Zebulun shall dwell by the seashore;
He shall be a haven for ships,
And his flank shall rest on Sidon.
Issachar is a strong-boned ass,
Crouching among the sheepfolds.
When he saw how good was security, And how pleasant was the country,
He bent his shoulder to the burden,
And became a tolling serf.
Dan shall govern his people,
As one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan shall be a serpent by the road,
A viper by the path,
That bites the horse’s heels
So that his rider is thrown backward.
I wait for Your deliverance, 0 LORD!
From Parshat Va-Yehi. From THE TANAKH: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Copyright 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society. Used by permission.

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