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CHAPTER 33 May 16 
The Blessing of Moses
This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. 2He said, Yahweh came from Sinai and rose from Seir to them. He shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with ten thousands of holy ones. At His right hand was a fiery law for them. 3Yes, He loved the people. All His saints are in Your hand. They sat down at Your feet; each receives Your words. 4Moses commanded us a law, an inheritance for the assembly of Jacob. 5He was king in Jeshurun when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together. 6Let Reuben live, and not die, nor let his men be few. 7This is for Judah. 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. 8Of Levi he said, Your Thummim and your Urim are with your holy one whom You proved at Massah, with whom You strove at the waters of Meribah; 9who 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. 10They shall teach Jacob Your ordinances, and Israel Your law. They shall put incense before You and whole burnt offering on Your altar. 11Yahweh, 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, so that they will not rise again. 12Of 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. 13Of 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, 14for the precious things of the fruits of the sun, for the precious things of the growth of the moons, 15for the chief things of the ancient mountains, for the precious things of the everlasting hills, 16for the precious things of the earth and its fullness, the good will of Him who was manifested in the bush. Let this come on the head of Joseph, on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers. 17The firstborn of his herd, majesty is his. His horns are the horns of the wild ox; with them he shall push all the peoples to the ends of the land. They are the ten thousands of Ephraim; they are the thousands of Manasseh. 18Of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, and Issachar, in your tents. 19They 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. 20Of Gad he said, He who enlarges Gad is blessed. He dwells as a lioness and tears the arm, yes the crown of the head. 21He 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. 22Of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s cub that leaps out of Bashan. 23Of Naphtali he said, Naphtali, satisfied with favour, full of the blessing of Yahweh, possess the west and the south. 24Of Asher he said, May Asher be blessed with children. Let him be acceptable to his brothers; let him dip his foot in oil. 25Your bars shall be iron and brass. As your days, so your strength will be. 26There is none like God, Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens for your help, in His excellence on the skies. 27The eternal God is your dwelling place. Underneath are the everlasting arms. He thrusts out the enemy from before you and said ‘Destroy!’ 28Israel shall dwell in safety alone, the fountain of Jacob in a land of grain and new wine. Yes, His heavens drop down dew. 29You are happy, Israel. Who is like you, a people saved by Yahweh, the shield of your help, the sword of your excellence! Your enemies shall submit themselves to you; you shall tread on their high places.


33:9 These words are alluded to by Jesus in explaining why He felt closer to those who listened to His word than to His natural family (Mk. 3:21,31-35; Mt. 12:46-50). He read these same words that we do. To feel this closely to those who are, like us, God’s spiritual children, can seem an impossible challenge at times; especially in family-based societies where life is one endless social club.
33:20 He who enlarges Gad- If Israel had been obedient, their borders could have been enlarged (12:2). It seems God would have done this especially for Gad, even for the sake of one faithful man. Yet there’s no evidence it ever happened; another potential set up which was left unfulfilled because of the chronic lack of vision and satisfied-with-what-I-have attitude of God’s people.
33:29 You shall tread on their high places- Moses’ very last words are a reference to the idolatrous “high places”, which the prophets lament were a spiritual snare to Israel. Moses’ final wish and knowledge was that ultimately, Israel would quit with idolatry and be Yahweh’s alone. Seeing that he had predicted their spiritual failures, Moses perhaps had his eye on the day when finally God’s people shall conquer all their temptations, even if only a minority of those with whom God works actually get there in the end, all the same, a minority will, and they will be God’s true Israel.