It is a very desirable thing to have an interest in prayers of those who are about to depart for heaven.
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 up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
4 Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.
5 And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.
6 ¶ Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.
7 ¶ And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.
8 ¶ And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;
9 Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.
10 They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.
11 Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.
12 ¶ And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.
13 ¶ And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,
15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.
17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: 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, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.
19 They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck 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 lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.
21 And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.
22 ¶ And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.
23 ¶ And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.
24 ¶ And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.
25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
26 ¶ There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
Deuteronomy 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Deuteronomy 33:1-17 – The Blessing of the Chosen People
The glorious nature of God is the opening theme here. The reference is to the giving of the Law when, amid fire and the mediation of angels, God descended on Sinai, Psalm 18:7-9; Habakkuk 3:3-4. Oh, that we, too, may sit as pupils in God’s school and receive His words, Deuteronomy 33:3.
Though Reuben could not excel, he was not forgotten. Simeon is omitted because of Numbers 25:14. Judah was to receive prosperity in prayer, in work and in war. Some render the benediction thus: “Bring him in safety from his wars!” But our warfare is different, Ephesians 6:12.
Levi receives special blessing. “Thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one” (Deuteronomy 33:8). This is the white diamond-stone flashing with God’s “Yes” or dimming with His “No,” Revelation 2:17. Exodus 32:26 was never forgotten. See Matthew 25:37. But God forgets our sins, Hebrews 8:12. Benjamin’s portion may be yours. The precious things of Joseph’s heritage pale to insignificance when contrasted with the riches of God’s grace, Ephesians 1:18. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Deuteronomy 33:8—Thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one.
What a contrast between the blessings of Jacob and of Moses! In Jacob’s farewell charge, we find the ominous words, “Cursed be Levi”; and he foretells that this tribe should be divided and scattered in Israel. But here the curse is turned into a blessing; and the scattering is transformed into a holy ministry for the whole of Israel, “They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law”. See to what a place of privilege they are exalted! “They shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar” (Deuteronomy 33:10).
If ever there was an illustration of the power we have to turn a curse into a blessing, it is here. Step by step the results of that awful sin, for which Jacob cursed his sons, are changed into benedictions. Where sin abounded, grace has much more abounded; indeed, it has reigned, it has broken out into radiant and royal glory. Do not sit down hopeless, because of the consequences of an early sin that threaten to follow thee to thy grave. Thou mayest yet get honey out of the lion’s carcase.
The way to this was by entire devotion to the call of God. After the sin of the golden calf, Levi said of his father and of his mother, I have not seen them; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor know his children. The cause of God, which Aaron had so ruthlessly betrayed, was dearer to him than the tenderest ties of blood. So he came into God’s secret counsels of love, and knew the Urim and Thummim answers of the One whom he loved. “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him” (Psalm 25:14). It is only to those with whom He dwells that He can communicate His blessed will and purposes. Oh, may such bliss be mine! —Our Daily Homily
Deuteronomy 33:18-29 – Israel’s Happy Future Promised
Zebulun and Issachar, sons of Leah, were neighbors in Canaan, and, being on the seaboard, became wealthy by commerce. The calling of the peoples may refer to the Gentile proselytes who were influenced by these tribes, I Kings 5:1-6; Mark 7:26.
The blessing of the other tribes is suggested by their position in Canaan: Gad, the leader of the west; Dan standing on the southern frontier, like a lion at bay; Naphtali, possessing the sea of Galilee; Asher on the northwest, with mountain, barriers against invasion. “Iron and brass!”
Let your soul dwell in the timeless, changeless, tireless God. There is none like Him. He will ride through heaven to help you, will thrust out the enemies that resist your progress, will be your fountain and dew, your corn and wine, and will place beneath you arms as tender as they are loving. However low you fall, they will always be underneath. As your day, so your strength! —Through the Bible Day by Day