Genesis 49; Genesis 50; Matthew 13:31-58

1 Jacob called for his sons and said, "Gather around, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the future: 2 "Come together and listen, sons of Jacob. Listen to your father Israel. 3 "Reuben, my first-born, you are my strength And the first child of my manhood, The proudest and strongest of all my sons. 4 You are like a raging flood, But you will not be the most important, For you slept with my concubine And dishonored your father's bed. 5 "Simeon and Levi are brothers. They use their weapons to commit violence. 6 I will not join in their secret talks, Nor will I take part in their meetings, For they killed people in anger And they crippled bulls for sport. 7 A curse be on their anger, because it is so fierce, And on their fury, because it is so cruel. I will scatter them throughout the land of Israel. I will disperse them among its people. 8 "Judah, your brothers will praise you. You hold your enemies by the neck. Your brothers will bow down before you. 9 Judah is like a lion, Killing his victim and returning to his den, Stretching out and lying down. No one dares disturb him. 10 Judah will hold the royal scepter, And his descendants will always rule. Nations will bring him tribute And bow in obedience before him. 11 He ties his young donkey to a grapevine, To the very best of the vines. He washes his clothes in blood-red wine. 12 His eyes are bloodshot from drinking wine, His teeth white from drinking milk. 13 "Zebulun will live beside the sea. His shore will be a haven for ships. His territory will reach as far as Sidon. 14 "Issachar is no better than a donkey That lies stretched out between its saddlebags. 15 But he sees that the resting place is good And that the land is delightful. So he bends his back to carry the load And is forced to work as a slave. 16 "Dan will be a ruler for his people. They will be like the other tribes of Israel. 17 Dan will be a snake at the side of the road, A poisonous snake beside the path, That strikes at the horse's heel, So that the rider is thrown off backward. 18 "I wait for your deliverance, Lord. 19 "Gad will be attacked by a band of robbers, But he will turn and pursue them. 20 "Asher's land will produce rich food. He will provide food fit for a king. 21 "Naphtali is a deer that runs free, Who bears lovely fawns. 22 "Joseph is like a wild donkey by a spring, A wild colt on a hillside. 23 His enemies attack him fiercely And pursue him with their bows and arrows. 24 But his bow remains steady, And his arms are made strong By the power of the Mighty God of Jacob, By the Shepherd, the Protector of Israel. 25 It is your father's God who helps you, The Almighty God who blesses you With blessings of rain from above And of deep waters from beneath the ground, Blessings of many cattle and children, 26 Blessings of grain and flowers, Blessings of ancient mountains, Delightful things from everlasting hills. May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph, On the brow of the one set apart from his brothers. 27 "Benjamin is like a vicious wolf. Morning and evening he kills and devours." 28 These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said as he spoke a suitable word of farewell to each son. 29 Then Jacob commanded his sons, "Now that I am going to join my people in death, bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 at Machpelah east of Mamre in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought this cave and field from Ephron for a burial ground. 31 That is where they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah; that is where they buried Isaac and his wife Rebecca; and that is where I buried Leah. 32 The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites. Bury me there." 33 When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he lay back down and died.
1 Joseph threw himself on his father, crying and kissing his face. 2 Then Joseph gave orders to embalm his father's body. 3 It took forty days, the normal time for embalming. The Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. 4 When the time of mourning was over, Joseph said to the king's officials, "Please take this message to the king: 5 "When my father was about to die, he made me promise him that I would bury him in the tomb which he had prepared in the land of Canaan. So please let me go and bury my father, and then I will come back.' " 6 The king answered, "Go and bury your father, as you promised you would." 7 So Joseph went to bury his father. All the king's officials, the senior men of his court, and all the leading men of Egypt went with Joseph. 8 His family, his brothers, and the rest of his father's family all went with him. Only their small children and their sheep, goats, and cattle stayed in the region of Goshen. 9 Men in chariots and men on horseback also went with him; it was a huge group. 10 When they came to the threshing place at Atad east of the Jordan, they mourned loudly for a long time, and Joseph performed mourning ceremonies for seven days. 11 When the citizens of Canaan saw those people mourning at Atad, they said, "What a solemn ceremony of mourning the Egyptians are holding!" That is why the place was named Abel Mizraim. 12 So Jacob's sons did as he had commanded them; 13 they carried his body to Canaan and buried it in the cave at Machpelah east of Mamre in the field which Abraham had bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial ground. 14 After Joseph had buried his father, he returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone with him for the funeral. 15 After the death of their father, Joseph's brothers said, "What if Joseph still hates us and plans to pay us back for all the harm we did to him?" 16 So they sent a message to Joseph: "Before our father died, 17 he told us to ask you, "Please forgive the crime your brothers committed when they wronged you.' Now please forgive us the wrong that we, the servants of your father's God, have done." Joseph cried when he received this message. 18 Then his brothers themselves came and bowed down before him. "Here we are before you as your slaves," they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid; I can't put myself in the place of God. 20 You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened. 21 You have nothing to fear. I will take care of you and your children." So he reassured them with kind words that touched their hearts. 22 Joseph continued to live in Egypt with his father's family; he was a hundred and ten years old when he died. 23 He lived to see Ephraim's children and grandchildren. He also lived to receive the children of Machir son of Manasseh into the family. 24 He said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will certainly take care of you and lead you out of this land to the land he solemnly promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." 25 Then Joseph asked his people to make a vow. "Promise me," he said, "that when God leads you to that land, you will take my body with you." 26 So Joseph died in Egypt at the age of a hundred and ten. They embalmed his body and put it in a coffin.
31 Jesus told them another parable: "The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up, it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nests in its branches." 33 Jesus told them still another parable: "The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with a bushel of flour until the whole batch of dough rises." 34 Jesus used parables to tell all these things to the crowds; he would not say a thing to them without using a parable. 35 He did this to make come true what the prophet had said, "I will use parables when I speak to them; I will tell them things unknown since the creation of the world." 36 When Jesus had left the crowd and gone indoors, his disciples came to him and said, "Tell us what the parable about the weeds in the field means." 37 Jesus answered, "The man who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world; the good seed is the people who belong to the Kingdom; the weeds are the people who belong to the Evil One; 39 and the enemy who sowed the weeds is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvest workers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire, so the same thing will happen at the end of the age: 41 the Son of Man will send out his angels to gather up out of his Kingdom all those who cause people to sin and all others who do evil things, 42 and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and gnash their teeth. 43 Then God's people will shine like the sun in their Father's Kingdom. Listen, then, if you have ears! 44 "The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man happens to find a treasure hidden in a field. He covers it up again, and is so happy that he goes and sells everything he has, and then goes back and buys that field. 45 "Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man is looking for fine pearls, 46 and when he finds one that is unusually fine, he goes and sells everything he has, and buys that pearl. 47 "Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this. Some fishermen throw their net out in the lake and catch all kinds of fish. 48 When the net is full, they pull it to shore and sit down to divide the fish: the good ones go into the buckets, the worthless ones are thrown away. 49 It will be like this at the end of the age: the angels will go out and gather up the evil people from among the good 50 and will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and gnash their teeth. 51 "Do you understand these things?" Jesus asked them. "Yes," they answered. 52 So he replied, "This means, then, that every teacher of the Law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of heaven is like a homeowner who takes new and old things out of his storage room." 53 When Jesus finished telling these parables, he left that place 54 and went back to his hometown. He taught in the synagogue, and those who heard him were amazed. "Where did he get such wisdom?" they asked. "And what about his miracles? 55 Isn't he the carpenter's son? Isn't Mary his mother, and aren't James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? 56 Aren't all his sisters living here? Where did he get all this?" 57 And so they rejected him. Jesus said to them, "A prophet is respected everywhere except in his hometown and by his own family." 58 Because they did not have faith, he did not perform many miracles there.
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