Deuteronomy - 33:1-29

Moses' Blessing on the Tribes

      1 This is the blessing, with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. 2 He said, "Yahweh came from Sinai, And rose from Seir to them. He shone forth from Mount Paran. He came from the ten thousands of holy ones. At his right hand was a fiery law for them. 3 Yes, he loves the people. All his saints are in your hand. They sat down at your feet; (Everyone) shall receive of your words. 4 Moses commanded us a law, An inheritance for the assembly of Jacob. 5 He was king in Jeshurun, When the heads of the people were gathered, All the tribes of Israel together. 6 "Let Reuben live, and not die; Nor let his men be few." 7 This is (the blessing) of Judah: and he said, "Hear, Yahweh, the voice of Judah. Bring him in to his people. With his hands he contended for himself. You shall be a help against his adversaries." 8 Of Levi he said, "Your Thummim and your Urim are with your godly one, whom you proved at Massah, with whom you strove at the waters of Meribah; 9 who said of his father, and of his mother, 'I have not seen him;' Neither did he acknowledge his brothers, Nor did he know his own children: For they have observed your word, and keep your covenant. 10 They shall teach Jacob your ordinances, and Israel your law. They shall put incense before you, and whole burnt offering on your altar. 11 Yahweh, bless his substance. Accept the work of his hands. Strike through the hips of those who rise up against him, of those who hate him, that they not rise again." 12 Of Benjamin he said, "The beloved of Yahweh shall dwell in safety by him. He covers him all the day long. He dwells between his shoulders." 13 Of Joseph he said, "His land is blessed by Yahweh, for the precious things of the heavens, for the dew, for the deep that couches beneath, 14 for the precious things of the fruits of the sun, for the precious things of the growth of the moons, 15 for the chief things of the ancient mountains, for the precious things of the everlasting hills, 16 for the precious things of the earth and its fullness, the good will of him who lived in the bush. Let (the blessing) come on the head of Joseph, On the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers. 17 The firstborn of his herd, majesty is his. His horns are the horns of the wild ox. With them he shall push the peoples all of them, (even) the ends of the earth: They are the ten thousands of Ephraim. They are the thousands of Manasseh." 18 Of Zebulun he said, "Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out; and Issachar, in your tents. 19 They shall call the peoples to the mountain. There they will offer sacrifices of righteousness, for they shall draw out the abundance of the seas, the hidden treasures of the sand." 20 Of Gad he said, "He who enlarges Gad is blessed. He dwells as a lioness, and tears the arm, yes, the crown of the head. 21 He provided the first part for himself, for there was the lawgiver's portion reserved. He came (with) the heads of the people. He executed the righteousness of Yahweh, His ordinances with Israel." 22 Of Dan he said, "Dan is a lion's cub that leaps out of Bashan." 23 Of Naphtali he said, "Naphtali, satisfied with favor, full of the blessing of Yahweh, Possess the west and the south." 24 Of Asher he said, "Asher is blessed with children. Let him be acceptable to his brothers. Let him dip his foot in oil. 25 Your bars shall be iron and brass. As your days, so your strength will be. 26 "There is none like God, Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens for your help, In his excellency on the skies. 27 The eternal God is (your) dwelling place. Underneath are the everlasting arms. He thrust out the enemy from before you, and said, 'Destroy!' 28 Israel dwells in safety; the fountain of Jacob alone, In a land of grain and new wine. Yes, his heavens drop down dew. 29 You are happy, Israel. Who is like you, a people saved by Yahweh, the shield of your help, the sword of your excellency! Your enemies shall submit themselves to you. You shall tread on their high places."

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Explanation and meaning of Deuteronomy 33.

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Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

The Blessing contains:
(1) an Introduction, Deuteronomy 33:1-5;
(2) the Benedictions pronounced on the tribes individually, Deut. 33:6-25;
(3) a Conclusion, Deuteronomy 33:26-29.
It was no doubt spoken by Moses, probably on the same day and to the same assembly as the Song Deut. 32:1-43, as soon as lie received the reviewed notice of his approaching decease Deuteronomy 32:48, and just before he ascended Mount Nebo. Like the Blessing of Jacob Genesis. 49, to, which it has an intimate though independent correspondence throughout, it is the solemn farewell of the earthly head of the race. A comparison with Genesis (see the marginal references) will show how the blessings uttered by Moses over the several tribes partly repeat, partly enlarge and supplement, and sometimes modify or even reverse, the predictions of the dying Jacob.
This chapter, in striking contrast with the last, is pervaded by a tone of happy augury; and the total absence of warning and reproof has been rightly noted as indicating that Moses is here speaking of the ideal Israel, of the people of God as they might and would have been but for their perverseness, rather than foretelling what would in fact be the fate and fortunes of the twelve tribes. As the Song sets forth the calamities with which God's justice will visit Israel's fall, so does the Blessing describe the glory and greatness which would from His mercy crown Israel's faithfulness. The Song and the Blessing are therefore correspondent, and mutually supplementary. The form into which the Blessing is thrown exhibits the several tribes cooperating, each according to its special characteristics and circumstances, for the accomplishment of the national mission.

Moses delivers a prophetical blessing to the children of Israel, Deuteronomy 33:1. The introduction, Deuteronomy 33:2-5. Prophetic declarations concerning Reuben, Deuteronomy 33:6; concerning Judah, Deuteronomy 33:7; concerning Levi, Deuteronomy 33:8-11; concerning Benjamin, Deuteronomy 33:12; concerning Joseph, Deuteronomy 33:13-17; concerning Zebulun, Deuteronomy 33:18, Deuteronomy 33:19; concerning Gad, Deuteronomy 33:20, Deuteronomy 33:21; concerning Daniel, Deuteronomy 33:22; concerning Naphtali, Deuteronomy 33:23; concerning Asher, Deuteronomy 33:24, Deuteronomy 33:25. The glory of the God of Jeshurun, and the glorious privileges of his true followers, Deuteronomy 33:26-29.

This chapter relates the blessings Moses pronounced upon the people of Israel a little before his death; first, in general, on account of their having a law given them in so glorious a manner, Deuteronomy 33:1; then, in particular, each of the tribes distinctly is blessed, Reuben, Deuteronomy 33:6; Judah, Deuteronomy 33:7; Levi, Deuteronomy 33:8; Benjamin, Deuteronomy 33:12; Joseph, Deuteronomy 33:13; Zebulun and Issachar, Deuteronomy 33:18; Gad, Deuteronomy 33:20; Daniel, Deuteronomy 33:22; Naphtali, Deuteronomy 33:23; Asher, Deuteronomy 33:24; and the chapter is concluded with some strong intimations of what God was unto the people of Israel in general, and of what he had done and would do for them; all which are expressive of their great happiness, Deuteronomy 33:26.

(Deuteronomy 33:1-5) The glorious majesty of God.
(v. 6-23) The blessings of the twelve tribes.
(Deuteronomy 33:24, Deuteronomy 33:25) Strength to believers.
(Deuteronomy 33:26-29) The excellency of Israel.

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