The Magical Posdiction Powers of Nostradumbass: Genesis 49

Jacob’s superpowers grow stronger the closer he gets to death. He’s like Superman arriving in our heliosphere. Except this story, unlike that one, is nonfictional and utterly, inerrantly true. Duh.

He starts out Chapter 49 with a humble pronouncement:

1 Be gathered together, and I declare to you that which doth happen with you in the latter end of the days.

Come here children, I’m going to tell you the future. Sounds plausible. He’s also in full Kanye mode, not only referring to himself in the third person, but by two different names. Fucking diva.

`Be assembled, and hear, sons of Jacob, And hearken unto Israel your father.

With that, he launches into a weird, artificial poetic recitation about each of his sons. I doubt a 140-something year old senile man could spontaneously spout coherent poetic verse, so it should be as obvious to everyone as it is to me that this is what is known in literary criticism as “total bullshit.” It fairly screams oral tradition written down hundreds of years later. Here’s a breakdown of the “predictions” that (A) had already happened by the time this was written down, and (2) are highly symbolic etiological representations of the political landscape contemporary with its authorship:

Reuben: You fucked my wife on my bed and couch. That’s not a prediction, just fuck you.

Simeon and Levi: You guys are violent assholes, so I am going to destroy you.

Judah: You are the shit. Keep up the good work, you fucking prince.

Zebulun: You have never figured prominently into any story so…why don’t you go to the ocean or some shit.

Issacher: You’re going to be a slave, worked like a donkey. So fuck you too.

Dan: You’re going to be the first Jewish lawyer, as sneaky as a snake.

Gad, Asher, and Naphtali: Remind me again who you are? I am a senile old fuck.

Joseph: You are still my favorite. You other brothers catch that? I still like Joseph the best. So basically, fuck all of you, I’m giving him all of my blessings.

Benjamin: I used to like you the best but that was only when I though Joseph was dead, so fuck off.

It’s a touching scene between father and son and son and stolen grandsons and son and son and son and son and son and plural wives and sex slaves. A tender family moment where the head of the family tells most of his sons that they can eat a dick because he only likes two of them. After that, the old man finally dies, but not before he gives more instructions about where he wants to be buried. Imbedded in the burial instruction is a strange milestone: the first use of the first person:

30 in the cave which [is] in the field of Machpelah, which [is] on the front of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place;

31 (there they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah);

Who the fuck is I? No one to this point has claimed authorship, and the entire Bible has been in omniscient third person narration, and then the author makes his big reveal in a parenthetical. Very, very weird.

GENESIS 49

And Jacob calleth unto his sons and saith, `Be gathered together, and I declare to you that which doth happen with you in the latter end of the days.

`Be assembled, and hear, sons of Jacob, And hearken unto Israel your father.

Reuben! my first-born thou, My power, and beginning of my strength, The abundance of exaltation, And the abundance of strength;

Unstable as water, thou art not abundant; For thou hast gone up thy father’s bed; Then thou hast polluted: My couch he went up!

Simeon and Levi [are] brethren! Instruments of violence — their espousals!

Into their secret, come not, O my soul! Unto their assembly be not united, O mine honour; For in their anger they slew a man, And in their self-will eradicated a prince.

Cursed [is] their anger, for [it is] fierce, And their wrath, for [it is] sharp; I divide them in Jacob, And I scatter them in Israel.

Judah! thou — thy brethren praise thee! Thy hand [is] on the neck of thine enemies, Sons of thy father bow themselves to thee.

A lion’s whelp [is] Judah, For prey, my son, thou hast gone up; He hath bent, he hath crouched as a lion, And as a lioness; who causeth him to arise?

10 The sceptre turneth not aside from Judah, And a lawgiver from between his feet, Till his Seed come; And his [is] the obedience of peoples.

11 Binding to the vine his ass, And to the choice vine the colt of his ass, He hath washed in wine his clothing, And in the blood of grapes his covering;

12 Red [are] eyes with wine, And white [are] teeth with milk!

13 Zebulun at a haven of the seas doth dwell, And he [is] for a haven of ships; And his side [is] unto Zidon.

14 Issacher [is] a strong ass, Crouching between the two folds;

15 And he seeth rest that [it is] good, And the land that [it is] pleasant, And he inclineth his shoulder to bear, And is to tribute a servant.

16 Dan doth judge his people, As one of the tribes of Israel;

17 Dan is a serpent by the way, An adder by the path, Which is biting the horse’s heels, And its rider falleth backward.

18 For Thy salvation I have waited, Jehovah!

19 Gad! a troop assaulteth him, But he assaulteth last.

20 Out of Asher his bread [is] fat; And he giveth dainties of a king.

21 Naphtali [is] a hind sent away, Who is giving beauteous young ones.

22 Joseph [is] a fruitful son; A fruitful son by a fountain, Daughters step over the wall;

23 And embitter him — yea, they have striven, Yea, hate him do archers;

24 And his bow abideth in strength, And strengthened are the arms of his hands By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, Whence is a shepherd, a son of Israel.

25 By the God of thy father who helpeth thee, And the Mighty One who blesseth thee, Blessings of the heavens from above, Blessings of the deep lying under, Blessings of breasts and womb; —

26 Thy father’s blessings have been mighty Above the blessings of my progenitors, Unto the limit of the heights age-during They are for the head of Joseph, And for the crown of the one Separate [from] his brethren.

27 Benjamin! a wolf teareth; In the morning he eateth prey, And at evening he apportioneth spoil.’

28 All these [are] the twelve tribes of Israel, and this [is] that which their father hath spoken unto them, and he blesseth them; each according to his blessing he hath blessed them.

29 And he commandeth them, and saith unto them, `I am being gathered unto my people; bury me by my fathers, at the cave which [is] in the field of Ephron the Hittite;

30 in the cave which [is] in the field of Machpelah, which [is] on the front of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place;

31 (there they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah);

32 the purchase of the field and of the cave which [is] in it, [is] from Sons of Heth.’

33 And Jacob finisheth commanding his sons, and gathereth up his feet unto the bed, and expireth, and is gathered unto his people.

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