Deuteronomy 33

1 This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. 2 He said, “The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir to them. He shone 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. Each receives 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 for Judah. He said, “Hear, LORD, 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 About Levi he said, “Your Thummim and your Urim are with your godly one, whom you proved at Massah, with whom you contended at the waters of Meribah. 9 He said of his father, and of his mother, ‘I have not seen him.’ He didn’t 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 LORD, bless his skills. 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 About Benjamin he said, “The beloved of the LORD will dwell in safety by him. He covers him all day long. He dwells between his shoulders.” 13 About Joseph he said, “His land is blessed by the LORD, 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 that the moon can yield, 15 for the best 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 this come on the head of Joseph, on the crown of the head of him who was separated from his brothers. 17 The firstborn of his herd, majesty is his. His horns are the horns of the wild ox. With them he will push all the peoples, to the ends of the earth. They are the ten thousands of Ephraim. They are the thousands of Manasseh.” 18 About Zebulun he said, “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out; and Issachar, in your tents. 19 They will call the peoples to the mountain. There they will offer sacrifices of righteousness, for they will draw out the abundance of the seas, the hidden treasures of the sand.” 20 About 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 the lawgiver’s portion reserved was reserved for him. He came with the heads of the people. He executed the righteousness of the LORD, his ordinances with Israel.” 22 About Dan he said, “Dan is a lion’s cub that leaps out of Bashan.” 23 About Naphtali he said, “Naphtali, satisfied with favor, full of the LORD’s blessing, possess the west and the south.” 24 About 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 will be iron and brass. As your days, so your strength will be. 26 “There is no one 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 the LORD, the shield of your help, the sword of your excellency? Your enemies will submit themselves to you. You will tread on their high places.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–5

To all his precepts, warnings, and prophecies, Moses added a solemn blessing. He begins with a description of the glorious appearances of God, in giving the law. His law works like fire. If received, it is melting, warming, purifying, and burns up the dross of corruption; if rejected, it hardens, sears, pains, and destroys. The Holy Spirit came down in cloven tongues, as of fire; for the gospel also is a fiery law. The law of God written in the heart, is a certain proof of the love of God shed abroad there: we must reckon His law one of the gifts of his grace.

Verses 6–23

The order in which the tribes are here blessed, is not the same as is observed elsewhere. The blessing of Judah may refer to the whole tribe in general, or to David as a type of Christ. Moses largely blesses the tribe of Levi. Acceptance with God is what we should all aim at, and desire, in all our devotions, whether men accept us or not, 2Co 5:9. This prayer is a prophecy, that God will keep up a ministry in his church to the end of time. The tribe of Benjamin had their inheritance close to mount Zion. To be situated near the ordinances, is a precious gift from the Lord, a privilege not to be exchanged for any worldly advantage, or indulgence. We should thankfully receive the earthly blessings sent to us, through the successive seasons. But those good gifts which come down from the Father of lights, through the rising of the Sun of righteousness, and the pouring out of his Spirit like the rain which makes fruitful, are infinitely more precious, as the tokens of his special love. The precious things here prayed for, are figures of spiritual blessing in heavenly things by Christ, the gifts, graces, and comforts of the Spirit. When Moses prays for the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush, he refers to the covenant, on which all our hopes of God’s favour must be founded. The providence of God appoints men’s habitations, and wisely disposes men to different employments for the public good. Whatever our place and business are, it is our wisdom and duty to apply thereto; and it is happiness to be well pleased therewith. We should not only invite others to the service of God, but abound in it. The blessing of Naphtali. The favour of God is the only favour satisfying to the soul. Those are happy indeed, who have the favor of God; and those shall have it, who reckon that in having it they have enough, and desire no more.

Verses 24–25

All shall be sanctified to true believers; if their way be rough, their feet shall be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. As thy days, so shall thy strength be. The “day” is often in Scripture put for the events of the day; it is a promise that God would graciously and constantly support under trials and troubles, whatever they were. It is a promise sure to all the spiritual seed of Abraham. Have they work allotted? They shall have strength to do it. Have they burdens appointed? They shall have strength, and never be tempted above what they are able to bear.

Verses 26–29

None had such a God as Israel. There is no people like the Israel of God. What is here said of the church of Israel is to be applied to the spiritual church. Never were people so well seated and sheltered. Those who make God their habitation, shall have all the comforts and benefits of a habitation in him, Ps 91:1. Never were people so well supported and borne up. How low soever the people of God are at any time brought, everlasting arms are underneath them, to keep the spirit from sinking, from fainting, and their faith from failing. Divine grace is sufficient for them, 2Co 12:9. Never were people so well commanded. Thus believers are more than conquerors over their spiritual enemies, through Christ that loved them. Never were people so well secured and protected. Israel shall dwell in safety alone. All who keep close to God, shall be kept safe by him. Never were people so well provided for. Every true Israelite looks with faith to the better country, the heavenly Canaan, which is filled with better things than corn and wine. Never were people so well helped. If in danger of any harm, or in want of any good, they had an eternal God to go to. Nothing could hurt those whom God helped, nor was it possible the people should perish who were saved by the Lord. Never were people so well armed. Those in whose hearts is the excellency of holiness, are defended by the whole armour of God, Eph 6. Never were people so well assured of victory over their enemies. Thus shall the God of peace tread Satan under the feet of all believers, and shall do it shortly, Ro 16:20. May God help us to seek and to set our affections on the things above; and to turn our souls from earthly perishing objects; that we may not have our lot with Israel’s foes in the regions of darkness and despair, but with the Israel of God, in the realms of love and eternal happiness.

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