Chapter 33

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1 And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.

2 And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose vp from Seir vnto them, hee shined foorth from mount Paran, and hee came with ten thousands of Saints: from his Right hand went a fierie Law for them.

3 Yea hee loued the people; all his Saints are in thy hand: and they sate downe at thy feete; euery one shall receiue of thy wordes.

4 Moses commaunded vs a Law, euen the inheritance of the Congregation of Iacob.

5 And hee was King in Iesurun, when the heads of the people, and the Tribes of Israel were gathered together.

6 Let Reuben liue, and not die, and let not his men be few.

7 And this is the blessing of Iudah: and he said, Heare, Lord, the voice of Iudah, and bring him vnto his people: let his hands bee sufficient for him, and bee thou an helpe to him from his enemies.

8 And of Leui hee said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou diddest prooue at Massah, & with whom thou didst striue at the waters of Meribah:

9 Who said vnto his father & to his mother, I haue not seene him, neither did hee acknowledge his brethren; nor knew his owne children: for they haue obserued thy word, and kept thy Couenant.

10 They shal teach Iacob thy iudgments, and Israel thy Lawe: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice vpon thine Altar.

11 Blesse, Lord, his substance, and accept the worke of his handes, smite thorow the loines of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not againe.

12 And of Beniamin he said, The beloued of the Lord shall dwell in safetie by him, and the Lord shall couer him all the day long, and he shall dwell betweene his shoulders.

13 And of Ioseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heauen, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath;

14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sunne, and for the precious things put forth by the moone,

15 And for the chiefe things of the ancient mountaines, and for the precious things of the lasting hils,

16 And for the precious things of the earth, and fulnesse thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come vpon the head of Ioseph, and vpon the top of the head of him that was separated frō his brethren.

17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullocke, & his hornes are like the hornes of Unicornes: with them he shall push the people together, to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

18 And of Zebulun he said, Reioyce, Zebulun, in thy going out; and Issachar, in thy tents.

19 They shall call the people vnto the mountaine, there they shal offer sacrifices of righteousnesse: for they shall sucke of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.

20 And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lyon, and teareth the arme with the crowne of the head.

21 And he prouided the first part for himselfe, because there, in a portion of the lawgiuer was he seated, and hee came with the heads of the people, he executed the iustice of the Lord, and his iudgments with Israel.

22 And of Dan he said, Dan is a Lyons whelpe: hee shall leape from Bashan.

23 And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with fauour, and full with the blessing of the Lord: possesse thou the West and the South.

24 And of Asher hee said, let Asher be blessed with children, Let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oile.

25 Thy shooes shall bee yron and brasse, and as thy dayes, so shall thy strength bee.

26 There is none like vnto the God of Iesurun, who rideth vpon the heauen in thy helpe, and in his excellencie on the skie.

27 The eternall God is thy refuge, and vnderneath are the euerlasting armes: and he shall thrust out the enemie from before thee, and shall say, Destroy them.

28 Israel then shall dwell in safetie alone: the fountaine of Iacob shalbe vpon a land of corne and wine, also his heauens shall drop downe deaw.

29 Happy art thou, O Israel: Who is like vnto thee, O people! saued by the Lord, the shield of thy helpe, and who is the sword of thy excellencie: and thine enemies shal be found liars vnto thee, and thou shalt tread vpon their high places.

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Commentary for Deuteronomy 33

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

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 favour of God; and those shall have it, who reckon that in having it they have enough, and desire no more.

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.

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.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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