Deuteronomy 33:23-29 (Moses Blesses Israel, Part IV)

Deuteronomy 33:23-29
Moses Blesses Israel, Part IV

For many years of my life, I would go to Massachusetts during the summer for a vacation with the family. I haven’t been in several years because there just isn’t time for me to tend to the church and take the time off that I used to take.

In fact, I’m in what I would call a “comfortable rut.” Every Monday is pretty much exactly like every other Monday. The same is true with Tuesday and so on. The less change I have, the happier I am. And the more I am doing things for the church, the more content I am.

But I remember one year while in Massachusetts, I was reading and found a newspaper commentary from the 1800s. In it, there was a survey of all of the favorite verses from the Bible as submitted to the paper by vote that year.

I was curious which verse it would be… John 3:16? Something from the psalms? Philippians 4:5-7? John 16:33? Romans 8:28. I could have sat there and thought up 100 verses that might have been the favorite verse to get people through their day and ground them in their spiritual lives. My first 100 guesses would have been wrong. So would my next hundred guesses.

Text Verse: “The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

Well, there you go. The most cherished verse from the Bible in the mid-1800s. Who would have thought? It is not a verse that I have ever heard on any list of favorite verses at any time. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone quote it, ever, until Berk did in a Bible study a week ago.

But after that day in Massachusetts, I have always cherished it as a favorite. It is a wonderful set of words in the English, which more or less paraphrase the Hebrew. In fact, I put the verse on one of my favorite sunrise photos and have it hanging in the back kitchen.

It is a verse I have patiently waited to include in a sermon for over ten years now. It carries the weight in my mind of knowing it has impacted so many lives in our history. That means a lot to me.

The Bible is simply filled with beauty and with verses that cause us to dig deeply to mine out precious treasure. What a treasure we have been given in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Blessing to Naphtali and Asher (verses 23-25)

23 And of Naphtali he said:

u-l’naphtali amar – “And to Naphtali he said.” Naphtali is the second son born to Rachel’s handmaid Bilhah and sixth son born to Jacob. His older brother born to Bilhah, Dan, has already received his blessing, and his land is at the headwaters of the Jordan River, just north of Naphtali.

The record of Naphtali’s birth is found in Genesis 30 –

“And Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali.” Genesis 30:7, 8

Naphtali means “My Wrestling.” Naphtali’s inheritance is located on the west side of the Jordan including all of the Sea of Galilee. It extends all the way to the northern border of Canaan, and it is to the east of the inheritance of Asher the final son to be named in these blessings. He is bordered on the south by Issachar and Zebulun.

As such, the continued pattern from the east to the west and from the south to the north of Jerusalem continues in the blessing upon Naphtali.

It cannot be that this pattern was known to Moses at the time because the division of the land will not be completed until Joshua 19, and so either these blessings were written long after it is claimed they were, by someone other than Moses, or they are divinely inspired by God and through Moses to reflect this carefully revealed order. To Naphtali, Moses next says…

23 (con’t) “O Naphtali, satisfied with favor,

Naphtali seva ratson – “Naphtali sated favor.” It is as if he sits down to an enormous meal of God’s favor and becomes plump, filled with the goodness bestowed upon him. The hand of the Lord will bless the land, even to overflowing, with goodness. Of this land, and before Israel had resettled it, Robinson said that it is “an undulating tableland arable and everywhere tilled, with swelling hills … covered with shrubs and trees.”

The words of Moses continue with a parallel thought to increase the wonder of what he will receive…

23 (con’t) And full of the blessing of the Lord,

u-male birkat Yehovah– “And full blessing Yehovah.” The words turn the previous clause into a superlative. Not only is Naphtali to be sated with favor, but that sating will be because of the blessing of the Lord.

One could not imagine a more pleasant and jam-packed description of the abundance of goodness that will come upon him. And more, he shall…

23 (con’t) Possess the west and the south.”

yam v’darom yerasha – “West and south he shall inherit.” The word yam has two specific meanings. First, it means “sea,” as in the Sea of Galilee or the Mediterranean Sea. Secondly, it means “west” because the west of Canaan is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea.

The layout of the land itself provides the secondary meanings of the directions of the compass. And this is because of the layout of the temple which is from east to west. As the Most Holy Place is to the west, it is the direction of the sea in relation to Canaan.

And so, the translation of yam as either “sea” or “west” must be determined based on the designation of the inheritance. As noted, the eastern border of Naphtali rests upon the west bank of the Jordan River, including the entire western bank of the Sea of Galilee.

Thus, this could be speaking of the “west” in reference to the sea itself. Or it could be speaking of the “sea” because the word yam, or sea is used elsewhere to describe the Sea of Galilee, and they shall possess the western side of it. As such, it is hard to tell which meaning is being referred to.

The next word, darom, or south, is now introduced into Scripture. It is seen four times in poetic verses and then 13 times in Ezekiel, especially in relation to the future temple he envisions. It is from the same root as deror, which signifies release or liberty. The root means “to move rapidly.”

I don’t want to press the meaning too much, but it could be that this then refers to the north end of the inheritance which is the south end of Dan’s which was the previous blessing given by Moses. That is where the Jordan River issues forth from.

And more, it could mean the south end of Naphtali’s inheritance that borders the Jordan, which is where the river continues to move south, as the waters release from the Sea of Galilee. As such, inheriting the “south” would speak of both – the south of Dan and the south of the Sea of Galilee.

As the Jordan is the border of Canaan proper, it appears that the word yam may be a pun to convey both “sea” and “west,” meaning the “west” bank of the Sea of Galilee and the west bank of the Jordan River. Hence, it is not speaking of the western border of Naphtali, but the eastern border of it, which is the western bank of the sea and river.

The reason for all the detail is because it is in this area that Jesus accomplished a large part of His ministry. It would then explain the ultimate meaning for the words “sated” and “full.” It may have been true that the land provided many material blessings which filled the tribe, but ultimately, the inheritance of this tribe received the greatest of all blessings when Christ came and ministered in this region –

“Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

15 ‘The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.’” Matthew 4:12-16

As it is assumed that many of the apostles found their home in Naphtali, possessing the west and the south takes on an entirely different connotation. They went throughout the land of Israel, generally to the west and the south sharing the gospel and bringing those who heeded to be a part of the possession of the Lord.

And to Naphtali he said:
(a) Naphtali *sated favor
(a) And *full blessing Yehovah
(b) West and south he shall inherit

With this blessing complete, we come to the final blessing of Moses upon the tribes of Israel, that of Asher…

24 And of Asher he said:

u-l’asher amar – “And to Asher he said.” Asher is the second son born to Leah’s handmaid Zilpah and the eighth son born to Jacob. His older brother born to Bilhah, Gad, has already received his blessing, and his land is east of the Jordan River.

The record of Asher’s birth is found in Genesis 30 –

“And Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 Then Leah said, “I am happy, for the daughters will call me blessed.” So she called his name Asher.” Genesis 30:12, 13

Asher means Happy (Blessed). Asher’s inheritance is located to the very northeast border of the land of Canaan. His eastern border is along the side of Naphtali and extends down to the border of Zebulun. His southern border merges with Zebulun and the western tribe of Manasseh. His northern border is the northern border of Canaan. His western border is the Mediterranean Sea. To Asher, Moses next says…

24 (con’t) “Asher is most blessed of sons;

barukh mibanim Asher – “Blessed from sons Asher.” The meaning is either “Asher is blessed with children,” “Asher is blessed by the sons (of Israel),” or “Asher is blessed above the sons (of Israel).” The only other time that the term mibanim, or “from sons,” is seen in Scripture in Isaiah –

“Even to them I will give in My house
And within My walls a place and a name
Better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
That shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 56:5

That is a comparative statement, and so, I would conclude that Moses is saying he will be blessed above the other sons of Israel. Next…

24 (con’t) Let him be favored by his brothers,

Apart from the words to Reuben, the only jussive in the entire chapter is seen in these words: yehi retsui ekhav – “May he be accepted his brothers.” Being a jussive, it is an indirect command – “MAY he be…”

It is hard to imagine why he would say this as a type of command unless it is because Asher’s allotment will be so far north and west from where the temple will ultimately be located that he could otherwise be ignored by the other tribes. For this, or some other reason, Moses directs the other sons in showing favor to him.

24 (con’t) And let him dip his foot in oil.

v’tovel ba’shemen raglo – “And let him dip in the oil his foot.” The oil being referred to is that of the olive. The area where Asher settled would have a remarkable abundance of olives.

When olive oil is abundant, it would be used to anoint oneself, especially upon the head. But Moses calls for such a blessing upon Asher that he would have enough oil to even anoint his foot. It is a way of saying, “Let him be blessed with such abundance, even from head to toe.”

Having said this, it is because of this verse that Zion Oil and Gas is not only drilling elsewhere in Israel, but also in the area of Asher. The owner believes that this could be a prophetic picture of immense reserves of oil under the foot of Asher’s land.

25 Your sandals shall be iron and bronze;

There are two vying translations of these words: barzel u-nekhoshet minalekha – “Iron and bronze your sandals,” or “Iron and bronze your bars.” The word minal is found only here in Scripture. It comes from naal, to bar, bolt, or lock.

However, it is not that simple because the word is also translated as “shoe” (implying a sandal). That is found, for example, in 2 Chronicles 28 –

“Then the men who were designated by name rose up and took the captives, and from the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them, dressed them and gave them sandals, gave them food and drink, and anointed them; and they let all the feeble ones ride on donkeys. So they brought them to their brethren at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.” 2 Chronicles 28:15

One might originally think that “bars” would make more sense. It would imply security to have bars of iron and bronze. However, the verse is probably parallel to the previous clause. He set his foot in oil and he has sandals of iron and bronze.

Of these metals, iron represents strength, be it in binding together, in government, in hard service, or in bondage. Bronze represents judgment. Thus, this is a way of saying that he will walk with strength and in a circumspect manner.

25 (con’t) As your days, so shall your strength be.

This is one tough set of words: u-keyamekha dabeekha – “And according to your days, your saunter.” Here is a word found only once in the Bible, dove. It is from an unused root, but it is akin davav, to glide or to move gently. From that word comes the word dov, or bear, because when he walks, he glides easily over the terrain.

Because of the difficulty of the word, almost all translations go with the Greek translation and say “strength.” My guess is the Greek translators had no idea what to say and just said strength. The NASB departed from strength and said, “your leisurely walk.” That is probably closer to the intent, but it is somewhat of a paraphrase. To match the thought, but also the simplicity of the Hebrew, I say “saunter.”

In other words, the entire verse is one united thought –

Iron and bronze your sandals.
And according to your days, your saunter.

Asher will saunter through life (his days) with strength and in a circumspect manner. I am convinced enough of this to tell you that you can pen it into the margin of your Bible with a note that this is probably the true intent of Moses’ words.

And to Asher he said:
(a) Blessed from sons Asher.
(a) May he be accepted his brothers.
(b) And let him dip in the oil +his foot.

(a) Iron and bronze +your sandals.
(b) And according to your days, your saunter.

With that now complete, so are the blessings upon the tribes. From there Moses will next complete his words to Israel. The next four verses are the last words recorded from him…

There is none like the God, our God
He rides upon the heavens to help us
He protects us in every place that we trod
He is our Lord, the Christ, Jesus

Who is like Him with the everlasting arms?
And who causes us to in safety dwell?
He keeps us from troubles, and He saves us from harms
He has rescued us from the pit of eternal hell

There is none like the God, our God
A place of trust and hope He is for us
To His excellent majesty we shout and applaud
He is our Lord, our Savior, our Joy – He is Jesus!

II. Underneath Are the Everlasting Arms (verses 26-29)

26 There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,

This is not simply a statement of fact about the Lord, but a statement about “the God” which is directed to Israel: aiyn ka’el Yeshurun – “None according to the God, O Yeshurun.” Moses is telling Israel that Yehovah is THE GOD and that there is none like (according to) Him.

His nature and His being are completely unique. Moses is appealing for them to hear this, to grasp it, and to accept it for their own gaining of understanding and wisdom. It is He alone…

26 (con’t) Who rides the heavens to help you,

rokev shamayim b’ezrekha – “Rides heavens in your help.” It is an expression that has been seen, such as in the pillar of cloud and fire, and it is an expression that will continue to be seen, such as in the chariots of the Lord that are mentioned repeatedly in various ways and contexts in the Old Testament.

It is also an expression of the comings and goings of the Lord as He ascends and descends in both testaments of Scripture, culminating in the greatest expression of this on Israel’s behalf –

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.” Revelation 19:11-14

26 (con’t) And in His excellency on the clouds.

u-b’gaavato sekhaqim – “And in His exaltation clouds.” Here are two new words. The first is gaavah. It is from gaah, to rise up. Hence, it speaks of His state of majesty or grandeur.

The next word is shakhaq, meaning dust or cloud. It comes from a verb of the same spelling which means to pulverize. As such, it is more than just the skies, but billowing of particles in them, as clouds. Probably the best mental image of these words now would be John’s words which describe the coming of Christ –

“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” Revelation 1:7

In His riding through the heavens, it is as if clouds billow around His splendor and majesty. What Moses has done with the speaking of this verse is to unite it with the opening words of the chapter –

(v5) And He was in Jeshurun King.
In gathering leaders people together.
Tribes Israel.

(v26) None according to the God, O Yeshurun.
Rides heavens in your help.
And in His exaltation clouds.

The blessing upon the individual tribes has to be considered in relation to what leads into them and what follows them. Without the Lord, there would be no blessing. But because He is the Lord, and because Israel is His people, He will never utterly forsake them. Rather…

27 The eternal God is your refuge,

meonah elohe qedem – “Dwelling God ancient.” It is a phrase filled with mental images. There is another new word, meonah – it is the feminine form of maon, or “habitation,” and it carries the same meaning. A habitation is a place of dwelling, rest, refuge, and so on.

Along with that, Moses describes the Lord with the word qedem. It means “east,” and it signifies aforetime because the sun rises in the east, coming from seemingly nowhere. Hence, it refers to that which is out of sight and unknowable – eternity past.

It is similar to the term Daniel uses when he calls Him the Ancient of Days. What Moses is saying is that the Lord, the God of Old, is a habitation. He has always been there, and He is a place of safety, security, and rest. To complement that, he next says…

27 (con’t) And underneath are the everlasting arms;

u-mi’takhat zeroth olam – “And from under arms everlasting.” To our minds, the Lord is seen to have come from seemingly nowhere. He has always been there, even to the most ancient time, and in this indescribable existence, there is support with arms that continue on until a point that cannot be mentally grasped.

The word olam does not necessarily mean everlasting, but to a point which is concealed and unknowable. In the case of God, it thus must mean “everlasting.” There is no beginning to the support and there is no end to it. The arms are there, never failing to provide security to His people. And with those arms…

27 (con’t) He will thrust out the enemy from before you,

v’garesh mi’panekha oyev – “And He casts out from your face enemy.” The arm symbolizes power and exertion, but also reach. The Lord has the power to support His people, but He also extends that power to remove the enemies of His people, casting those enemies out of their presence.

Everything about what is said anticipates total assurance for His people, Israel. He will protect them, but against His enemies, there will be no hope…

27 (con’t) And will say, ‘Destroy!’

vayomer hashmed – “And says, ‘Destroy!’” Both the word of the previous clause, “enemy,” and the verb here are singular. It may be that this is referring to any enemy at any time. But it could be what Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians.

I would think that this must ultimately be referring to death, the enemy that has been here since the beginning, and who will continue until the time of the end. He is the final enemy to be destroyed –

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:22-26

28 Then Israel shall dwell in safety,

vayishkon Yisrael betakh – “And shall dwell Israel security.” The conjunction is “and” not “then.” There is no reason to assume that what is said here is a consequence of the previous verse, although that would certainly be the case.

Rather, Moses is stating what will be for the tribes of Israel. They will dwell in safety. But it can only be referring to when they are right with Him. There is a state of confidence and safety that will exist because of their relationship with Him. It is an ideal set forth.

It is a goal that was attained at the time of Solomon, and it is one that will be realized in the millennium. When they are in a right standing with the Lord, this is the anticipated result. They will be in the land in safety…

28 (con’t) The fountain of Jacob alone,

badad en yaaqov – “Alone fountain Jacob.” The word badad, or “alone,” is placed by some with the preceding clause and by some with this one –

And Israel shall dwell in security alone
The fountain of Jacob / In a land of…

And Israel shall dwell in security
Alone the fountain of Jacob / In a land of…

I would think the latter is correct. Thus, the two clauses would be in parallel –

(a) And *Israel shall dwell ^in security
(a) ^Alone *the fountain of Jacob / In a land of…

Either way, the thought is that of Jacob not being pestered by those who would do him harm. The term, “the fountain of Jacob,” is a reference to those who issue from him.

As such, it is saying that he will be as a spring that goes forth, unmixed with, and without the taint of, other people groups. Israel the people is the fountain of Jacob. They will live alone…

28 (con’t) In a land of grain and new wine;

el erets dagan v’tirosh – “Unto land grain and new wine.” The words speak of both abundance and consistency. There must be rain for these things to come, and so there is consistency of rain. But new wine speaks to that which is constant as well.

If it is a land being described as one of new wine, then there must always be wine that is new. Hence, there is a continuous stream of it coming forth. It would then be considered a place of constant blessing.

28 (con’t) His heavens shall also drop dew.

aph shama yaarphu tal – “Yea, his heavens shall drop dew.” The word “heavens” is third person masculine singular – “his heavens.” But who is this referring to? The entire verse has been about Israel. As such, it is speaking of Israel, not the Lord.

The meaning is that the heavens above his land are his heavens. The heavens above Israel are destined to drop dew upon him, even if the heavens elsewhere do not drop dew upon those inhabitants. That is actually anticipated in the book of Zechariah when referring to the millennial reign of Christ –

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zechariah 14:16-19

Israel’s heavens will never fail to provide that which brings abundance and constant newness to the land, meaning the drop of the dew. Moses introduced the word araph, or drop, in verse 32:2. He now retires the word as well, this being the second and last time it is found in the Bible.

With the many promised blessings noted upon both the individual tribes and the nation as a whole, Moses now begins the last verse containing his words in Scripture…

29 Happy are you, O Israel!

ashrekha Yisrael – “Happy you, Israel.” It is a new word in Scripture, esher. It is from the same root as the name Asher. It signifies both “happy,” and “blessed.”

If it were in another form, I would say that “blessed” would convey the idea better. However, Moses is using it as an interjection.

As such, it is as if he is speaking in elation rather than merely as a statement of fact. You can almost see the joy exuding from him as he raises his hands and says, “HAPPY you, Israel!” With that exclamation, he then asks a question that begs a negative response…

29 (con’t) Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord,

mi kamokha am novosha b’Yehovah – “Who like you, people saved in Yehovah?” Moses calls forth the words and was probably hoping to hear every voice around him say, “NOBODY!”

There is none like the God of Israel, and because Israel is His people, there is also none like him. With that understood, Moses notes that he is a people saved not merely by the Lord, but in Him. This signifies a salvation that is both intimate and eternal.

It is the term Paul uses again and again to describe the position of those “in Christ.” They are saved by Him so that they are saved in Him. Christ did the work, bringing us into Himself. It is both an intimate and an eternal salvation.

29 (con’t) The shield of your help

magen ezrekha – “Shield your help.” The shield is a defensive weapon. The meaning, then, is that the Lord is there to defend Israel.

As all of the words are in the second person, this does not mean that the Lord is a shield to everyone of Israel, but He is a shield for Israel. The people, as a collective, will never be overrun and destroyed because the Lord is there to defend them. Also…

29 (con’t) And the sword of your majesty!

v’asher kherev gaavatekha – “And who sword your exultation.” It is the same word introduced in verse 26. There it spoke of the exaltation of the Lord. Now the same word refers to the Lord as the sword of Israel’s exultation. He is to be Israel’s place of boasting, his Source of pride, and his place of highest rejoicing because the Lord is the sword of Israel’s exultation.

Because of this shield and sword…

29 (con’t) Your enemies shall submit to you,

v’yikahashu oyevekha lak – “And shall yield your enemies to you.” Whether through death or subservience, the enemies of Israel will be unable to stand against him because the Lord is with him. There will be a complete yielding of themselves before the rushing onslaught. Moses says that it shall be so, and then he utters his final words of the Torah…

*29 (fin) And you shall tread down their high places.”

v’atah al bamotemo tidrok – “And you upon their high places shall tread.” The high places speak of the commanding positions, the strongholds, and the temples. It signifies the complete ruin of the enemy, including their high places of idolatry and false worship.

Ultimately, this then speaks not only of Israel who will occupy Canaan, but of the true Israel, Jesus. What they will failingly do in Canaan is what Christ will do entirely. He will bring to an end all authority, all power, and all dissent against God, even to the master of all those things, Satan. As Paul says in Romans, “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20).

These words complete all spoken utterances from Moses. Chapter 34 will detail his end, but there will be no words from him. His first words came in Exodus 2 when he was forty years old. After another forty years, he was called by the Lord to lead Israel out of bondage and into the land of promise.

However, that will not come to pass. Instead, his successor, Joshua, will be the one to bring them in. There is a lesson in that for Israel, and there is a lesson in that for us as well. The law, pictured by Moses, cannot enter the inheritance, nor can it lead anyone into it.

It was given as a stepping-stone to Israel and as a lesson for us. What we need is something greater than the law can give to fallen, fallible man. We need the perfection of God. The law cannot provide that. It can only show us that we do not possess it, nor can we attain it through our own effort.

But the perfection of the law can be bestowed upon us if we accept what the giving of the law was intended for us to learn. Moses will be taken to the top of a mountain, and he will see the land of promise before him, but he will not go in.

We have a choice: will we follow in the example of Moses, trust in our own efforts, and die outside of the promise, or will we trust in God who alone can bring us in? He sent Jesus from Himself. Christ came, He lived under the law, He fulfilled the law, and He entered into His glory.

And He offers us Himself so that we can also enter into His glory. Moses accomplished his duties, and he will receive his reward, but as a typological representation of the law, he provides us with the warning – “Don’t trust in me. Trust in the Lord! He can bring you in, and He will bring you in, if you just have faith.” The words of Moses are ended. The word of the Lord and the Word of God are eternal.

Closing Verse: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5

The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth come through Jesus Christ. Let us be sure to get our theological boxes straight. It’s important.

Next Week: Deuteronomy 34:1-12 Moses will die in Moab and be buried without any fanfare. As for Canaan, Moses… (You Shall Not Cross Over There) (104th and final Deuteronomy sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Moses Blesses Israel, Part IV

And of Naphtali he said:
“O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, delights in your mouth
And full of the blessing of the Lord
Possess the west and the south

And of Asher he said:
Asher is most blessed of sons
Happy is he with his spoil
Let him be favored by his brothers
And let him dip his foot in oil

Your sandals shall be iron and bronze, strong and mighty
As your days, so shall your strength be

“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun
Who rides the heavens to help you
And in His excellency on the clouds
He is faithful and He is true

The eternal God is your refuge
And underneath are the everlasting arms
He will thrust out the enemy from before you
And will say, ‘Destroy! To them shall come many harms

Then Israel shall dwell in safety
The fountain of Jacob alone, it is true
In a land of grain and new wine
His heavens shall also drop dew

Happy are you, O Israel!
Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord?
The shield of your help
And of your majesty the sword!

Your enemies shall submit to you, when they see your faces
And you shall tread down their high places

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…










23 And of Naphtali he said:

“O Naphtali, satisfied with favor,
And full of the blessing of the Lord,
Possess the west and the south.”

24 And of Asher he said:

“Asher is most blessed of sons;
Let him be favored by his brothers,
And let him dip his foot in oil.
25 Your sandals shall be iron and bronze;
As your days, so shall your strength be.

26 There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.
27 The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, ‘Destroy!’
28 Then Israel shall dwell in safety,
The fountain of Jacob alone,
In a land of grain and new wine;
His heavens shall also drop dew.
29 Happy are you, O Israel!
Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord,
The shield of your help
And the sword of your majesty!
Your enemies shall submit to you,
And you shall tread down their high places.”





Deuteronomy 33:18-22 (Moses Blesses Israel, Part III)

Deuteronomy 33:18-22
Moses Blesses Israel, Part III

The blessings of the individual tribes continue now with four more short blessings. The first two finish up the tribes of Jacob’s wives, Leah and Rachel. They then move to the sons of the handmaids, two of which will be seen today, and the other two will be in the final sermon of the chapter

Other than falling into the order of the sons of the wives and then the handmaids, the order seems rather obscure. The actual birth order goes Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph (Manasseh, Ephraim), Benjamin.

The order of blessing now lists the sons in order of wives and then handmaids, but not necessarily in birth order.

Reuben (1)
Judah (4) (inclusive of Simeon (2))
Levi (3)
Benjamin (12)
Joseph (11) (Ephraim and Manasseh are reversed)
Zebulun (10)

Gad (7)
Dan (5)
Naphtali (6)
Asher (8)

As such, the order doesn’t really make much numerical sense. But as I have said, the layout closely matches a somewhat circular pattern around Jerusalem where the temple is located. The progression is generally from east to west and south to north, but it also considers which tribe is of the wives and which are of the handmaids.

The order goes first to land outside of Canaan with the son of the wives (namely Leah). Then it essentially goes from south to north with the sons of the wives. Manasseh (a son of Joseph whose mother is Rachel), however, has land on both sides of the Jorden River which is dealt with together. When the sons of the wives are completed, it then goes east of the Jordan again to pick up the first of the sons of the handmaids.

From there, Dan is named, but Dan is said by Moses to “leap from Bashan.” That is all the way to the very north of Israel, and so one might wonder why he is mentioned next. It is because he was first allocated land to the west of Canaan, midway up the land near Benjamin and Ephraim.

However, the land he acquires in the north is situated where the Jordan issues from. As such, naming him before the other two tribes who descend from the handmaids makes complete sense. From there, the final two sons of the handmaids are the furthest north and west.

And so, the pattern essentially follows both a geographic surrounding of Jerusalem while also accounting for who was born to a wife of Jacob and who was born to a handmaid. It really is a unique and interesting pattern to consider, which only came to me while typing these sermons.

Other than being interesting and definitely a pattern in how it comes about, if you accept predictive prophecy, it shows that Moses’ blessing is inspired by the Lord. This is because Moses only knew where the division of land for the three tribes east of the Jordan would be.

Nothing else was known to him because the other divisions would only come after the land was occupied by Israel.

Text Verse: “And He brought them to His holy border,
This mountain which His right hand had acquired.
55 He also drove out the nations before them,
Allotted them an inheritance by survey,
And made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents.” Psalm 78:54, 54

Other than being a definite pattern, and that it was laid out by Moses before it came about, I’m not personally sure what to make of it. But the fact that the tribes are laid out in this way based on the blessing of Moses inspires me, as do so many other curiosities in Scripture.

There may be a deeper meaning. For example, the directions in the Bible each have meaning. The east is that which is before in time, like the rising of the sun which comes first. The west is that which is after, as in the place where the setting of the sun is.

The east is also the place of exile. Man was cast out of the garden with cherubim placed at the east. That matches the layout of the temple which is laid out east to west and which must be accessed from the east. Outside of the most holy place, cherubim were woven into the veil, on the east and facing east.

The west is where the Lord dwells. It is that which is arrived at last. As such, the tabernacle is a picture of the way one goes – from east, outside of God’s favor (before), to west, union with the Lord (after). It is a journey where one returns to the presence of the Lord. It is the consummation of the trek man has been on since the fall, and it is one that is realized in the coming of Christ.

Because Jerusalem is north of the equator, the south – which is the right hand and that which is greater – is more illuminated. The left is that which is north, and which is increasingly dark and obscure. As such, one can see that Judah (Praise), which encompasses the land to the south (right) of the temple, is at the prominent position, the right hand.

This is the tribe Jesus came from. He who is the Praise of God now sits at the right hand, the position of prominence and authority of God. And yet, Benjamin, whose name means “Son of the Right Hand,” is to the north side of the temple area.

Thus, the idea of the right hand – that which is prominent and possesses authority – literally encompasses the area of the temple. These things are all a part of how God laid out the tribes through the blessing of Moses upon them.

To fully flesh out all the meaning that could be derived from these individual placements would be an immense and hugely rewarding study. There is just too much evidence for these things to be coincidence. There is marvelous beauty in everything seen, and it was all prophesied to be as it is even before Israel entered the land.

Many great things such as these are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Blessings to Zebulun and Issachar (verses 18 & 19)

18 And of Zebulun he said:

v’lizvulun amar – “And to Zebulun he said.” Zebulun is the sixth and final son born to Jacob’s wife Leah and the tenth born to Jacob. He has another brother, Issachar, who was born to Leah before he was. And yet, both Jacob and Moses first bless Zebulun before Issachar.

The record of Zebulun’s birth is found in Genesis 30 –

“Then Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. And Leah said, ‘God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons.’ So she called his name Zebulun.” Genesis 30:19, 20

Zebulun means Glorious Dwelling Place, and so Leah’s words at his birth, and the words of Jacob when he blessed him in Genesis 49, both make a play on his name. Using the thought of dwelling, Jacob said, “Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea.”

Zebulun’s inheritance is located north of the tribe of those of Manasseh who are situated within the borders of Canaan. As such, the pattern of the order of the tribes surrounding Jerusalem in a somewhat discernible manner continues.

However, as noted in the introduction, because of Manasseh and Dan occupying more than one plot of land, this is not a hard and fast pattern, but it is surprising that the order of blessing continues, so far, to come as the tribes are further from the location of Jerusalem. To Zebulun Moses proclaims…

18 (con’t) “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,

It is exactingly translated: semakh zevulun b’tsetekha – “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out.” The meaning of this is a blessing of trade and commerce and of skill and ability in war, both of which are used concerning the word yatsa, or “going out,” elsewhere.

The original borders of Zebulun, according to the division of land recorded in Joshua 19, does not include any sea borders. And yet, when Jacob blessed him, he said –

“Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea;
He shall become a haven for ships,
And his border shall adjoin Sidon.” Genesis 49:13

In those words, the word “sea” is plural. Literally, it says zebulun lekhoph yammim yishkon – “Zebulun at the shore of the seas shall dwell.” What it implies is that this tribe would fill the land between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea, or at least they would have access to them.

In the next clause, the Hebrew literally says, “And he to a shore of ships.” Even if he had no direct access to a shore, his inheritance included access to a shore where ships are unloaded. Actually, this is twofold in nature. The first is seen in Issachar’s coming blessing.

Because Zebulun is blessed before his older brother Issachar, it implies that the land of Issachar is jointly used by Zebulun who has been given priority over Issachar. This is the case in both the blessing of Jacob and of Moses.

This explains the reason for the blessing of both Jacob and Moses upon Zebulun before Issachar, even though Issachar was born first. Zebulun could gain access to the Sea of Galilee by traveling through the inheritance of Issachar.

However, he not only had access there, but also through Sidon, the land to the north, outside of Canaan. Sidon was the firstborn of Canaan. His territory was at the northerly end of the land of Canaan and is known for its prominent cities of Tyre and Sidon, cities still known and occupied at Jesus’ time. The city of Sidon was at the extreme northern border between Canaan and Lebanon, quite a long way from Zebulun.

But the larger territory was known for the city. This is just like the city of Tokyo in the prefecture of Tokyo. Tokyo city is just a small place, but the prefecture is large. The use of the name of the city for the larger territory is seen in the gospel of Luke –

“But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.” Luke 4:25, 26

The name Sidon means “catching fish” or “plenty of fish.” Because the name Sidon was also given in Jacob’s prophecy, the Bible confirms that Zebulun will have a portion of coastal territory for its use. But, as noted a minute ago, the term “goings out” is also used in referring to warfare.

Zebulun is noted for its skill in warfare in Judges 4 and 5, especially as is recorded in the Song of Deborah. As such, Moses prophesies over Zebulun and blesses him in this manner. Next…

18 (con’t) And Issachar in your tents!

Again, the translation is correct: v’yisakar b’ohalekha – “And Issachar in your tents!” Issachar is the fifth son born to Leah and the ninth born to Jacob.

Issachar’s land is just to the east of Zebulun and a little closer to Jerusalem, but that doesn’t really harm the pattern of the tribes encircling the temple. Rather, it actually highlights it because of their situation in relation to Gad who will next be named. The record of Issachar’s birth is found in Genesis 30 –

“Now Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, ‘Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.’
15 But she said to her, ‘Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?’
And Rachel said, ‘Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.’
16 When Jacob came out of the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, ‘You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.’ And he lay with her that night.
17 And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, ‘God has given me my wages, because I have given my maid to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar.’” Genesis 30:14-18

His name means “He is Wages.” As for Moses’ blessing, dwelling in one’s tent gives the sense of peace, quietude, and contentment. The sentiment of Moses is not unlike portions of the blessing of Jacob upon this fifth son of Leah –

“Issachar is a strong donkey,
Lying down between two burdens;
15 He saw that rest was good,
And that the land was pleasant;
He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden,
And became a band of slaves.” Genesis 49:14, 15

In the blessing of these two sons, one can see the contrasting parallel –

(a) *+Zebulun, in your going out,
(a) *And -Issachar in your tents!

The rejoicing applies to both. For Zebulun, it is the bustle of commercial life, trade, shipping, warfare, and so on. For Issachar, it is the quiet pursuit of agriculture and home life. For both, Moses continues…

19 They shall call the peoples to the mountain;

amim har yiqrau– “Peoples mountain they call.” The idea of these words is that from this area, there shall be a call to the sacred mountain, the mountain of the Lord. This is literally fulfilled in the words of Isaiah concerning the ministry of Christ –

“Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.” Isaiah 9:1, 2

This is cited in Matthew 4 as a direct reference to the ministry of the gospel going forth in this area. Because Issachar is blessed with Zebulun, they are, therefore, implicitly included in what is said by Isaiah.

Even though Jesus’ earthly ministry was specifically only to the people of Israel, it extended to Gentiles at times, and eventually, the New Covenant went out to all peoples. This is certainly the reference here. As such…

19 (con’t) There they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness;

sham yizbekhu zivkhe tsedeq – “There they offer sacrifices righteous.” The sacrifices of the righteous are not simply sacrifices upon the altar. David, Isaiah, and others confirm this –

“Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.” Psalm 51:14-19

Only when the heart is right are sacrifices considered righteous. If the previous clause is referring to the ministry of Christ, this one – which is set in parallel – must as well. It is what Paul refers to in several ways, such as –

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

The “great light” of Isaiah 9, the spreading of the gospel in Galilee of the Gentiles, leads to the righteous sacrifices being acceptable to God as they are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Next, Moses notes…

19 (con’t) For they shall partake of the abundance of the seas

ki shepha yamim yinaqu – “For abundance seas they suck.” The word shepha, or abundance, is found only here in Scripture. It is from an unused root meaning to abound. It is referring to the two seas which lay on either side, Galilee and the Mediterranean.

Due to their closeness, they would benefit from that which is derived from them. The word yanaq means “to suck,” but it is consistently used of nursing a child, as when babes are suckled.

Because the seas in both directions lead to interaction with Gentiles, I would say this continues to refer to the ministry of Christ expanding to them, something that occurred in the gospels, and which has continued for millennia. Further…

19 (con’t) And of treasures hidden in the sand.”

It is a very complicated clause, maybe the most complicated. The first two words are plural verbs forming a play on words: u-sephune temune khol – “And concealed hidden sand.” Another unique word is seen here, saphan. It comes from a root meaning to conceal, and so it refers to hiding.

Next, the word “and” is tied to the thought, “For they suck.” Thus, it is saying that they will partake of that thing which is hidden and concealed in the sand. But even the word “sand” is to be taken in connection with the words hidden and concealed.

As such, the whole thought reads something like: “And they will suck of the most hidden things.” And so, this is a direct reference to the words of Jesus, and of the continued words of the apostles –

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 22 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.’” Luke 10:21, 22


“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3

(a) Peoples mountain they call.
(a) There they offer sacrifices righteous.
(b) For *abundance seas they suck.
(b) And *concealed hidden sand.

Apart from the teachings of the Lord, including the gospel, the words have such a dubious meaning that they could mean almost anything. But in light of the gospel, they make complete sense. Especially when Jesus compares those who receive His words to babes. Next, we will see Gad and Dan…

When I bless you, you shall be blessed
And upon you shall come the blessings I state
When it is for comfort, you shall not be hard pressed
And when it is for love, there shall be no hate

With My blessing you will be blessed
You shall abound in the good things I proclaim
You need do nothing to receive it, you need take no test
My blessing is grace that stems from My name

Listen to My blessing and know it is true
It shall come pass, the words that I proclaim
The blessings I state shall come upon you
Because My blessing is grace that stems from My name

II. The Blessings to Gad and Dan (verses 20-22)

20 And of Gad he said:

u-l’gad amar – “And to Gad he said.” Gad is the first son born to Leah’s handmaid Zilpah and the seventh born to Jacob. Gad is east of Issachar and also east of the Jordan. The land extends from the Sea of Galilee almost to the Dead Sea, across from Benjamin. As such, it provides a buffer to the east for Jerusalem.

The record of his birth is noted in Genesis 30 –

“When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took Zilpah her maid and gave her to Jacob as wife. 10 And Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, ‘A troop comes!” So she called his name Gad.” Genesis 30:9-11

Gad can mean “A Troop,” but it also means “Good Fortune.” Of him, Moses says…

20 (con’t) “Blessed is he who enlarges Gad;

barukh markhiv gad – “Blessed he enlarges Gad.” Gad settled east of the Jordan and in a very large parcel. The thought of saying, “Blessed is he who enlarges Gad,” is referring to what has already happened, even though it is stated as if it is ongoing. The Lord provided a great expanse for Gad, and so Gad is enlarged into the future as he fills that expanse, continuing to subdue it.

20 (con’t) He dwells as a lion,

kelaviy shaken – “As lion he dwells.” This is referring to his residence in the land given to him. Despite it being already apportioned out to him by the Lord, it still had inhabitants in it from the nations who had settled it long before.

Therefore, to dwell as a lion means that he is ready to pounce, taking dominion over that which belongs to him. That then leads to the next thought…

20 (con’t) And tears the arm and the crown of his head.

v’taraph zeroa aph qadeqod – “And has torn arm, yea, crown of head.” The arm is the symbol of strength. The crown of the head symbolizes leadership and command. The symbolism, then, is that of Gad dwelling in his land, ever ready to enlarge his dominion over the area that he has already been provided.

Blessed he enlarges Gad. (The ultimate Force behind Gad’s enlargement. He is the Enlarger)
(a) *As lion +he dwells.
(a) *And +he has torn arm, yea, crown of head.

Though this speaks of Gad and his dominion, it ultimately surely anticipates Christ who is equated to a lion (even if from Judah) who destroyed the strength and the authority of the devil.

21 He provided the first part for himself,

v’yar reshit lo – “And he saw first to himself.” To “see” signifies to attend to, as in “See to it yourself.” Hence, this is referring to the land that was subdued east of the Jordan, even before entering Canaan.

When it was seen, Gad wanted it and determined to have it for his possession. This is what is being referred to. Next…

21 (con’t) Because a lawgiver’s portion was reserved there.

khelqat mekhoqeq saphun – “Portion lawgiver covered.” Here is a new word, saphan. It signifies to cover, such as in paneling a house. It is the root of the unique word saphan just introduced in verse 19. It is assumed here that the lawgiver is Moses. As such, it would then mean that the portion of land granted by Moses to Gad is preserved for Gad.

21 (con’t) He came with the heads of the people;

v’yete rashe am – “And he comes heads people.” This is referring to the agreement made allowing Gad and the other tribes to remain in the land east of the Jordan –

“So Moses gave command concerning them to Eleazar the priest, to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel. 29 And Moses said to them: ‘If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben cross over the Jordan with you, every man armed for battle before the Lord, and the land is subdued before you, then you shall give them the land of Gilead as a possession. 30 But if they do not cross over armed with you, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.’” Numbers 32:28-30

The conditions were agreed upon, and thus Gad, named first in regard to these tribes, was to lead the people in the conquest of Canaan.

21 (con’t) He administered the justice of the Lord,

sidqat Yehovah asah – “Justice Yehovah he has done.” The thought is to be considered with the next clause…

21 (con’t) And His judgments with Israel.”

u-mishpata im Yisrael – “And His judgments with Israel.” This and the previous clause could mean one of two things. Either he executed the justice and judgments of the Lord upon Canaan, or he complied with the justice and judgments of the Lord that were set in the conditions for him to return to his land.

Either way, the two clauses are referring to Gad’s obedience in going forth with Israel in order to secure their own possession in the land east of the Jordan.

(a) And he saw first to himself
(a) Portion lawgiver covered

(a) And he comes heads people
(b) +Justice Yehovah *he has done
(b) *And +His judgments with Israel

22 And of Dan he said:

u-l’dan amar – “And to Dan he said.” Dan is the first son born to Rachel’s handmaid Bilhah and the fifth born to Jacob. Dan’s allotment was originally West of Ephraim, and so it would seem that the pattern of the tribes encircling the area of Jerusalem is disturbed in his placement, but that would be incorrect.

Rather, Dan fills in the area westward, even to the Mediterranean Sea, but Dan eventually moved to the extreme north of the land in an area where the Jordan River begins, just below Mount Hermon. It straddles that, and so it meets together with the half-tribe of Manasseh to the east and Naphtali to the west.

As such, it is fitting that Dan is now mentioned, rather than where it was originally allocated land as noted in Joshua.

The record of his birth is found in Genesis 30 –

“Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or else I die!’
And Jacob’s anger was aroused against Rachel, and he said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?’
So she said, ‘Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, and she will bear a child on my knees, that I also may have children by her.’ Then she gave him Bilhah her maid as wife, and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, ‘God has judged my case; and He has also heard my voice and given me a son.’ Therefore she called his name Dan.’” Genesis 30:1-6

Dan means “Judge.” Of him, Moses says…

22 (con’t) “Dan is a lion’s whelp;

dan gur aryeh – “Dan whelp lion.” There is a play on words in this that is not yet evident. Moses is equating Dan with a lion, prophetically indicating both where and how he would settle. And this, despite the allocation for land originally given in Joshua. That is next seen with the words..

22 (con’t)He shall leap from Bashan.”


yezaneq min ha’bashan – “He leaps from the Bashan.” Here is a word found only this once in the Bible, zanaq. It comes from a root meaning to draw together the feet as an animal would when it is about to dart upon prey. Hence, it means to spring forward.

Moses identifies Dan with the Bashan, the area to the extreme north of the land, and – as I noted – it straddles the area that leads into the Jordan River. But more, when Moses goes to view the land before he dies, this is recorded there –

“And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan.” Deuteronomy 34:1

Despite the lot for Dan being drawn in a completely different area, it was already known that Dan would settle to the far north, even beyond the land of Gilead. The lengthy record of the events of them moving to this area is found in Judges 18. Toward the end of the chapter, it says –

“So they took the things Micah had made, and the priest who had belonged to him, and went to Laish, to a people quiet and secure; and they struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. 28 There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no ties with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to Beth Rehob. So they rebuilt the city and dwelt there. 29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel. However, the name of the city formerly was Laish.” Judges 18:27-29

The name Laish means “Lion.” Dan sprang forth upon Laish (Lion), just as a lion springs forth. Hence, Moses is making a prophetic pun upon what would occur in the future as Dan took its place to the far north.

With the short blessing complete, one can see the simple a/b structure of it –

(a) Dan whelp lion.
(b) He leaps from the Bashan.

Because of the obvious fulfillment of the words of Moses, liberal scholars take this – along with many other words of the blessings – as having been written many generations later. That is completely dismissive of the idea that God could inspire his prophets to proclaim the future.

As such, it is dismissive of the fact that this is God’s word. If these things were written later, then they would be the writings of man without God’s inspiration. And if this is so, then the Bible is simply a collection of man’s writings without any spiritual value at all, because man is – after all – a corrupt, fallen being.

But the writings here in Deuteronomy are God’s inspired words. I have personally never seen any study on the layout of these tribes as I mentioned them to you at the beginning of the sermon, and yet they form a definite and distinct pattern.

Therefore, it is its own confirmation that these are the words of Moses as inspired by the Lord. They were not written later in order to fulfill some sort of pre-set, or man-determined pattern. If they were, the pattern would have been noted and everyone would know about it.

And this is the same with dozens of other patterns that we have drawn out from the text as we have proceeded through the books of Moses. Whether they are geographical, ancestorial, numerical, word-based (such as chiasms), or other types of patterns, we have come across so many that have never been seen before that it is beyond credulity that they came about by mere chance.

And yet, as far as I know, there is no historical record of them having been noted by anyone else. This means that they were probably never seen before by anyone. And yet, they are there, and they are unmistakable.

And because many of them overlap with other things that also form patterns, they could not have been inserted later. They had to be there all along. Chiasms, for example, may overlap many verses that are prophetic in nature. If those prophetic verses were inserted later, as scholars who deny prophecy claim, then the chiasm would not exist.

Understanding these things, we have to either accept that this is truly the word of God, telling in advance what will come to pass before it happens, or this book is the greatest aberration in the history of the universe, because things that could not otherwise exist in it do, in fact, exist.

Where will you place your faith? If this book is not the word of God, then everything it says about Jesus – everything – is false. This is because Jesus Himself clearly stated that this is, in fact, the word of God and that it testifies to who He is.

One cannot logically say, “I accept the premise of the New Testament and I believe in Jesus and yet I do not accept as inspired the words of the Old Testament.” The thinking is confused, erratic, and clearly unclear.

It is no different than someone saying, I believe in Jesus and yet I do not believe that He is the only way to be reconciled to God. That is a logical contradiction because Jesus Himself said that He is the only way to be reconciled to God.

If you don’t believe what He says, then you don’t believe Him. And if He is a liar, then why – tell me why! – you would want to believe in Him. If you want to follow a god who lies to you, I can direct you to lots of other gods. You can pick any of them and you will get exactly what you are looking for.

But if you want to follow the God who is truthful because He is the Truth, I can only direct you to one God. He is the God of the Bible, and He is the embodiment of truth. And because Scripture is given by Him and tells us about Him, you can be fully confident that Scripture is absolute truth.

Be sound in your thinking, be confident in your theology, and be right in your doctrine. Come to the Source of all wisdom and truth. Come to Jesus, the Word of God.

Closing Verse: “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Luke 24:44, 45

Next Week: Deuteronomy 33:23-29 Moses is almost through blessing, but there is still a little more… (Moses Blesses Israel, Part IV) (103rd Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Moses Blesses Israel, Part III

And of Zebulun he said:
Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out
And Issachar in your tents! Give a shout!

They shall call the peoples to the mountain
There they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness in the land
For they shall partake of the abundance of the seas
And of treasures hidden in the sand

And of Gad he said:
“Blessed is he who enlarges Gad
He dwells as a lion in his spread
And tears the arm
And the crown of his head

He provided the first part for himself
Because a lawgiver’s portion was reserved there
He came with the heads of the people, so to you I tell
He administered the justice of the LORD
And His judgments with Israel

And of Dan he said:
“Dan is a lion’s whelp going on and on
He shall leap from Bashan

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…














18 And 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 shall offer sacrifices of righteousness;
For they shall partake of the abundance of the seas
And of treasures hidden in the sand.”

20 And of Gad he said:

“Blessed is he who enlarges Gad;
He dwells as a lion,
And tears the arm and the crown of his head.
21 He provided the first part for himself,
Because a lawgiver’s portion was reserved there.
He came with the heads of the people;
He administered 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.”




Genesis 10,21-32 (Die Völkertafel Teil 3 – die Söhne von Sem)

Genesis 10,21-32 (Die Völkertafel Teil 3 – die Söhne von Sem)

In einer der ersten Predigten, die ich je gehalten habe, habe ich das Vorwort der „Gideon’s New Testament Bible“ zitiert. Es ist gut, von Zeit zu Zeit daran erinnert zu werden, und deshalb möchte ich es heute noch einmal zitieren. Achte darauf, wie der anonyme Autor die Bibel und ihre Bedeutung für uns so feinfühlig und doch treffend beschreibt –

„Die Bibel enthält die Gedanken Gottes, den Zustand des Menschen, den Weg des Heils, das Verhängnis der Sünder und das Glück der Gläubigen. Ihre Lehren sind heilig, ihre Gebote sind verbindlich, ihre Geschichten sind wahr und ihre Entscheidungen sind unumstößlich. Lies sie, um weise zu sein, glaube sie, um sicher zu sein, und praktiziere sie, um heilig zu sein. Sie enthält Licht, um dich zu leiten, Nahrung, um dich zu unterstützen, und Trost, um dich aufzumuntern. Es ist die Karte des Reisenden, der Stab des Pilgers, der Kompass des Piloten, das Schwert des Soldaten und die Charta des Christen. Hier wird das Paradies wiederhergestellt, der Himmel geöffnet und die Pforten der Hölle aufgedeckt. Christus ist das große Thema, unser Wohl ist das Ziel und die Herrlichkeit Gottes ist der Zweck. Sie sollte das Gedächtnis füllen, das Herz beherrschen und die Füße leiten. Lies sie langsam, häufig und unter Gebet. Es ist eine Fundgrube des Reichtums, ein Paradies der Herrlichkeit und ein Fluss der Freude. Ihr Inhalt wird dir im Leben gegeben, wird beim Gericht geöffnet und bleibt für immer in Erinnerung. Dieses Buch bringt die höchste Verantwortung mit sich, wird die größte Mühe belohnen und wird alle verurteilen, die sich an seinem heiligen Inhalt vergreifen.“

Wunderschöne Worte, die von einer kontemplativen Seele stammen. Einer, die die Größe des Wortes Gottes und die Tiefe, in die es eindringt, klar erkannt hat… den wahren Geist Gottes und das wahre Herz Christi.


Ich habe mich entschlossen, dies heute zu zitieren, weil die Bibel verschiedene Dinge offenbart, die uns zu verschiedenen Zeiten unseres Lebens auf unserem Weg beeinflussen können. Sie ist mit vielen wichtigen Themenbereichen gefüllt, und einer davon ist einer, an dem alle Christen festhalten sollten. Und das ist natürlich das große Thema, Jesus Christus.

Von den ersten Worten der Bibel bis hin zum letzten Satz steht Jesus Christus im Mittelpunkt. Er ist das Zentrum und der Mittelpunkt unseres Glaubens und Er ist derjenige, der uns den unsichtbaren Schöpfer offenbart.

Wenn wir die Geschichten der Bibel durchgehen, gibt es bestimmte Arten, wie Gott sich offenbart. Wenn wir während unseres Studiums nach diesen verschiedenen Schlüsseln Ausschau halten, können wir sehen, wie er jeden neuen Abschnitt, der uns begegnet, öffnet.

Ich nenne das “progressive Offenbarung”. Mit anderen Worten: Gott offenbart sich schrittweise und prägnant auf eine Weise, die selbst komplexe Sachverhalte verständlich macht.

Schritt für Schritt begeben wir uns auf eine Reise, wenn wir die Bibel lesen, und so wie wir eine Tür nach der anderen öffnen, um der mittleren Kammer eines Gebäudes immer näher zu kommen, so öffnen wir beim Lesen der Bibel eine Tür nach der anderen, bis wir das Herz Gottes und die innersten Vorgänge in Seinem Geist erreichen.

In dieser fortschreitenden Offenbarung gibt es eine besondere Art und Weise, wie Gott Sein Tun konkretisiert und uns zu Jesus Christus führt. Ich bin einige Predigtnotizen eines Mannes namens Ray Stedman durchgegangen, und er hat einen Begriff verwendet, der einen bestimmten Weg der Offenbarung sehr schön zusammenfasst, und deshalb übernehme ich ihn gerne in meine eigene Ausdrucksweise.

Er nennt es “Gottes Trichter”. Wie du sicher weißt, wird ein Trichter verwendet, um den Weg einer Flüssigkeit, eines Pulvers, von Kieselsteinen oder Sand oder was auch immer zu verengen. Mit einem Trichter lenkt man etwas, das breit und unhandlich ist, in eine bestimmte und sichere Bahn.

Gott benutzt in weiten Teilen des Alten Testaments ein trichterförmiges Muster, um unsere Aufmerksamkeit auf ein bestimmtes Ereignis und eine bestimmte Person in der menschlichen Geschichte zu lenken.

Auf dem Weg dorthin zweigt er immer wieder von der Hauptgeschichte ab, wie zum Beispiel in Genesis 4, als Kain und sein Geschlecht erwähnt werden. Aber nach den Abzweigungen kehrt die Geschichte zum Hauptstrang zurück und geht weiter… den Trichter hinunter.

Mit der Sintflut ließen wir die alte Welt hinter uns und begannen das neue Abenteuer mit Noah und seinen drei Söhnen – Sem, Ham und Japheth. Dann ging die Geschichte in einen Zweig über das, was Ham seinem Vater angetan hat, und dann zu Noah, der einen Fluch und Segen aussprach.

Danach kamen wir hier zu Kapitel 10 und haben über zwei Zweige gelesen, Japheth und dann Ham. Jetzt kehrt Gott mit Noahs zweitem Sohn, Sem, zum Trichter zurück.

Erinnere dich an diese Art von Muster, wenn du die Bibel liest, und du wirst sehen, wie Zweige erwähnt werden, wenn sie sich irgendwie auf den Trichter auswirken, und dann wird zum Trichter zurückgekehrt. Schließlich wird der Trichter zu König David und Gottes Verheißung an ihn über ein ewiges Königtum durch einen seiner Nachkommen führen, eine Verheißung, die unseren heutigen Textvers bildet.


„Wenn deine Zeit abgelaufen ist und du gestorben bist, werde ich dir einen deiner eigenen Nachkommen auf dem Thron folgen lassen und seine Herrschaft festigen. Der wird dann ein Haus für meinen Namen bauen. Und seinem Königtum werde ich ewigen Bestand geben. Ich werde sein Vater sein, und er soll mir Sohn sein. Wenn er Unrecht begeht, werde ich ihn mit menschlicher Rute und auf menschliche Weise züchtigen. Aber meine Gnade entziehe ich ihm nicht, wie ich sie Saul entzog, den ich vor dir beseitigt habe. Dein Königshaus und deine Königsherrschaft sollen für immer vor mir Bestand haben. Dein Thron steht fest auf ewig.“
Samuel 7,12-16

Möge Gott heute durch Sein Wort zu uns sprechen, und möge Sein glorreicher Name immer gepriesen werden.

I. Gepriesen sei der HERR

Der Trichter, der zu Jesus führt, begann bei Adam, ging dann über seinen Sohn Seth, und wir sind ihm bis zu Noah gefolgt, und jetzt wird er sich wieder zu Sem verengen. Als Noah seinen Fluch und seinen Segen aussprach, war es Sem, der den geistlichen Segen und den Vorrang vor dem Rest von Noahs Nachkommenschaft erhielt.

„Verflucht sei Kanaan! Ein Knecht der Knechte sei er seinen Brüdern!“ Und weiter sprach er: „Gepriesen sei der Herr, der Gott Sems, und Kanaan sei sein Knecht! Gott breite Japhet aus und lasse ihn wohnen in den Zelten Sems, und Kanaan sei sein Knecht!“
Genesis 9,26-27

In einer früheren Predigt haben wir gesehen, wie Noahs Worte hier in jedem Fall wahr geworden sind. Und es ist die Linie von Sem, die zu Abraham, Isaak, Jakob, Juda und dann zu David führt. Der Trichter verengt sich, und bei jedem Schritt kommen Zweige hinzu und verschwinden wieder, aber die Hauptlinie bleibt immer erhalten.

Warum sind diese Informationen so wichtig und wie nehmen wir sie auf? Was ist der Sinn dieser Vorgehensweise? Ich denke, die Frage, die wir uns stellen könnten, lautet: “Wählt Gott willkürlich Menschen aus und lehnt andere ab … zeigt er Bevorzugung, wenn Er Seinen Trichter verengt?

Die Antwort ist nicht so einfach wie ein Ja oder ein Nein. Gott hat einen Plan, die Welt mit sich selbst zu versöhnen, und Er tut es durch echte Menschen, die wirklich gelebt haben. Aber auf dem Weg dorthin gibt Er uns Einblicke in den menschlichen Zustand und in das, was Ihm gefällt und was Ihm nicht gefällt.

Wenn wir zum Buch Rut kommen, werden wir eine Geschichte über eine echte menschliche Familie sehen, die echte Tragödien und echte Freuden erlebt. Eine der Hauptfiguren des Buches, Rut, steht außerhalb des Stammbaums Israels, und doch wird sie in diesen hineingebracht und wird schließlich eine Vorfahrin von Jesus.

Gab es in ihrem Fall also eine Bevorzugung? Nein. Es gab eine Antwort auf den Glauben, genauso wie es eine Antwort auf Abels Glauben gab und eine Ablehnung von Kain, der keinen Glauben hatte. Gleichzeitig gibt es auch in der Bibel eine Art von Bevorzugung von Menschen.

Sobald Gott seinen Bund mit einer Gruppe von Menschen, wie den Söhnen Israels, geschlossen hat, haben sie Anteil an den Segnungen dieses Bundes, unabhängig davon, ob sie individuell gläubig sind oder nicht. Der Regen fiel auf die ungehorsamen Söhne Israels und bewässerte ihre Ernten genauso wie auf die gehorsamen Söhne. Ebenso würden die Ungehorsamen oft denselben Schutz erhalten wie die Gehorsamen.

Heute gibt es in Israel Menschen, die sich auf Jesus berufen haben, und solche, die es nicht getan haben. Einige von ihnen werden es tun, andere werden es nicht tun. Aber Gott hat sie alle in ihr Land zurückgebracht und sie alle profitieren von Seiner Gnade. Im physischen Sinne scheint Gott also eine Bevorzugung zu zeigen, aber im geistlichen Sinne muss jeder einzeln zu Ihm kommen, durch den Glauben.

Aber stell dir vor, es ist für alle Menschen auf der Erde dasselbe. Keiner von uns verdient es, überhaupt geboren zu werden. Manche von uns werden in netten Familien geboren und manche in schlechten. Einige von uns werden an einem schönen Ort wie Siesta Key geboren und andere an Orten wie Nowheres’ville, USA. Die Welt mag willkürlich und ungerecht erscheinen, aber der Prediger sagt: –

„Wieder sah ich, wie es unter der Sonne zugeht. Nicht die Schnellen gewinnen den Lauf und nicht die Helden den Kampf, auch nicht die Weisen das Brot, die Klugen den Reichtum und die Einsichtigen Gunst. Denn Zeit und Zufall trifft sie alle. Außerdem kennt der Mensch nicht seine Zeit. Wie die Fische ins tückische Netz geraten, die Vögel in der Falle gefangen werden, so verstricken sich die Menschen zur Zeit des Unglücks, wenn es plötzlich über sie kommt.“
Prediger 9,11+12

Zeit und Zufall… das ist es, wo wir stehen, auch wenn diese Zeit und dieser Zufall von Gott gelenkt wird. Mit anderen Worten: Die auserwählte Linie, der Trichter Gottes, der nach Israel führt, ist ein Mikrokosmos der Welt im Allgemeinen.

Ob Jude oder Nichtjude, wenn wir uns Gott nicht durch den Glauben nähern, haben wir letztlich keinen wirklichen Anteil oder kein Erbe in Ihm, sondern nur die vorübergehenden irdischen Segnungen, die mit dem Tod vergehen. Paulus erklärt dies im Galaterbrief und benutzt Abraham, den Mann des Glaubens, als ein Beispiel für diesen Glauben, der zu Gunst führt.

„Denn durch den Glauben an Jesus Christus seid ihr mündige Kinder Gottes geworden. Denn ihr alle, soweit ihr in Christus hineingetaucht worden seid, seid ja mit Christus bekleidet. Da gibt es keine Juden oder Nichtjuden mehr, Sklaven oder Freie, Männer oder Frauen, denn durch eure Verbindung mit Jesus Christus seid ihr alle zu Einem geworden. Wenn ihr aber Christus gehört, seid ihr Abrahams Nachkommen und habt Anspruch auf das zugesagte Erbe.“
Galater 3,26-29

II. Von Sem bis Eber

In Kapitel 9 haben wir uns diesen Vers angesehen –

Die Söhne Noahs, die aus der Arche gingen, waren Sem, Ham und Japheth. Und Ham war der Vater von Kanaan. Diese drei waren die Söhne Noahs, und von ihnen wurde die ganze Erde bevölkert.
Genesis 9,18-19

Als wir dort waren, bat ich dich, den Teil zu beachten, in dem es heißt: “Ham war der Vater von Kanaan”. Bis zu diesem Zeitpunkt war niemand mit dem Namen Kanaan erwähnt worden, und so bekamen wir einen Hinweis darauf, dass er später in der Bibel ein zentraler Punkt werden würde.

Wir werden das Gleiche noch einmal erleben –

21 Auch Sem wurden Kinder geboren, ihm, dem Vater aller Söhne Ebers, dem älteren Bruder Japhets.

In der Völkertafel wurde die Linie von Japheth und Ham behandelt. Nun wendet sie sich Sem zu, dem Sohn mit dem geistlichen Segen, der von Noah kam, und der Linie, die Teil von Gottes Trichter ist. Und das erste, was wir in dieser von Gott erwählten Linie von Sem sehen, ist die Erwähnung von Eber – der bis zu diesem Punkt überhaupt nicht erwähnt wurde.

So ungewöhnlich es auch erscheinen mag, Eber ist eigentlich der Ururenkel Sems. Und trotzdem wird er zur gleichen Zeit wie die Söhne Sems erwähnt – einer von 70 Namen, die in der Völkertafel stehen.

Diesem Schlüssel folgend können wir feststellen, dass Eber wieder erwähnt wird und dass er in der Geschichte eine Bedeutung haben wird, da Gottes Trichter auf Christus gerichtet ist. Eber bedeutet “jenseits” oder als Verb: „passieren“ oder „überqueren“. Dieser Name wird später in der Bibel wichtig werden.

In dem Vers, den wir gerade lesen, heißt es auch, dass Sem “der Bruder von Jafet, dem Älteren” ist. Eine Sache, die ich bei Bibelstudien empfehle, ist, die Leute verschiedene Übersetzungen mitbringen zu lassen, und wenn sie einen Unterschied zu dem, was vorgelesen wird, bemerken, sollten sie ihn benennen.

In diesem Vers heißt es in der NASB: “Auch Sem, dem Vater aller Kinder Ebers und dem älteren Bruder Japheths, wurden Kinder geboren.” Das ist eine falsche Übersetzung, denn Sem ist jünger, nicht älter als Japheth. Achte auf die Details…

In Genesis 11 heißt es, dass Sem nach der Flut 102 Jahre alt war. Noah hatte seinen ersten Sohn mit 500 Jahren und die Flut dauerte nur ein Jahr. Das bedeutet, dass der Erstgeborene Japheth war. Kleinigkeiten wie diese mögen unwichtig erscheinen, aber das sind sie nicht, wenn wir uns ansehen, wie und warum die Dinge in der Bibel geschehen.

Der Unterschied, ob Sem der Erstgeborene ist oder nicht, ist wichtig, weil er unter die Lehre der göttlichen Erwählung fällt. Gott hat den Erstgeborenen übergangen, um Seinen Trichter durch Seine auserwählte Linie fortzusetzen, unabhängig von der Reihenfolge der Geburt.

22 Die Söhne Sems waren Elam, Assur, Arpachschad, Lud und Aram.

Sem bedeutet “Name” oder “Ruhm”. Er ist der Vater aller semitischen Völker der Welt. Dazu gehören heute Juden, Araber und andere. Wenn wir den Begriff Antisemitismus hören, wird er in der Regel auf jüdische Menschen angewendet, aber er ist viel umfassender als das.

Nach Sem werden in der Bibel seine fünf Söhne erwähnt. Der erste von ihnen ist Elam, was “Ewigkeit” bedeutet. Seine Linie hat zu den Elamiten und Persern der heutigen Welt geführt.

Asshur wird als nächstes erwähnt. Sein Name bedeutet “ein Schritt” oder “stark” und er hat zu den Assyrern und Nordirakern des Nahen Ostens geführt.

Der nächste Sohn ist Arpachschad, was so viel bedeutet wie “Ich werde versagen wie die Brust”. Seine Nachkommen wurden zu den im Alten Testament erwähnten Chaldäern, den Südirakern, den Hebräern, Moabitern, Jordaniern und anderen Bevölkerungsgruppen in diesem Gebiet.

Der vierte erwähnte Sohn ist Lud, was “Streit” bedeutet. Sie sind einige der Gruppen in Kleinasien und Nordafrika geworden.

Und der letzte Sohn, der hier erwähnt wird, ist Aram, was “erhaben” bedeutet. Sie sind das Volk um Syrien, den Libanon und einige andere Orte im Nahen Osten, Afrika usw.

Alle diese Menschen stammen von Sem ab und sind auch heute noch auf der Weltbühne sehr aktiv. Von Sem stammen die drei großen monotheistischen Religionen der Welt ab – das Christentum, das Judentum und der Islam.

23 Arams Söhne hießen Uz, Hul, Geter und Masch.

In 1. Chronik 1,17 werden diese vier Söhne von Aram als Söhne von Sem aufgeführt. Einer der Söhne, Uz, ist sicherlich ein Vorfahre von Hiob aus dem Buch Hiob, denn in Hiob 1,1 lesen wir dies –

„Es war ein Mann im Land Uz, der hieß Hiob; der war ein untadeliger und rechtschaffener Mann, der Gott fürchtete und das Böse mied.“
Hiob 1,1

Es ist nicht mit Sicherheit bekannt, wer das Buch Hiob geschrieben hat, aber wenn es von ihm oder jemandem aus seinem Stamm geschrieben wurde, dann ist es ein seltenes Werk in der Bibel, denn dieses Buch und nur ein paar andere wurden von Nicht-Juden geschrieben.

Wir wissen, dass Lukas kein Jude war, und doch hat er sowohl das Lukasevangelium als auch die Apostelgeschichte geschrieben. Diese beiden Bücher machen fast ein Drittel des Neuen Testaments aus, was seine Schriften außergewöhnlich macht.

Damit du weißt, woran du erkennen kannst, dass Lukas kein Jude war, gibt Paulus in Kapitel 4 des Kolosserbriefs eine Liste von Personen an und sagt dann Folgendes –

„…und Jesus, der Justus genannt wird, die aus der Beschneidung sind. Diese allein sind meine Mitarbeiter für das Reich Gottes, die mir zum Trost geworden sind.“
Kolosser 4,11

Erst nachdem er dies gesagt hat, erwähnt er Lukas und andere, was bedeutet, dass Lukas nicht zur Beschneidung gehörte, also kein Jude war.

III. Die Völker Sems

24 Arpachschad war der Vater von Schelach und Schelach der Vater von Eber.

Hier werden wir nun sehen, wo Gottes Trichter von Sem zu seinem Sohn Arphaxad und dann die Linie hinunter führt. Zuerst wurden die Söhne Sems erwähnt und danach kam der Nebenzweig, nämlich die Söhne von Sems Sohn Aram. Sie wurden ausdrücklich erwähnt, weil die Söhne Arams auf den späteren Seiten der Bibel eine große Rolle spielen, da sie mit der auserwählten Linie Israels interagieren.

25 Eber wurden zwei Söhne geboren. Der eine hieß Peleg, Teilung, weil zu seiner Zeit die Erde geteilt wurde, und der andere Joktan.

Wir halten bei diesem Vers an, um einen der Söhne Ebers zu erwähnen, nämlich Peleg. Im Gegensatz zu den anderen Namen in diesem Bericht wird Peleg mit einer spezifischen Information erwähnt – “denn in seinen Tagen wurde die Erde geteilt.” Das muss einen Grund haben, und der Grund kann nur eines bedeuten. Schauen wir uns ein paar Möglichkeiten an und sehen wir, welche richtig ist.

Die erste ist, dass die Erde geteilt wurde, d.h. die physische Erde und die Kontinente. Dies ist eine sehr populäre Ansicht über Peleg. Du hast sicher schon von der Kontinentalverschiebung gehört. Diese Ansicht wird von vielen Menschen vertreten, die sagen, dass es das ist, was hier gemeint ist. Die Landmassen teilten sich und die Menschen wurden entsprechend getrennt.

Für diese Ansicht spricht, dass Peleg im Hebräischen “Teilung” bedeutet, im Griechischen aber “Meer”. Daraus leitet sich das Wort Archipel ab. Die Griechen nannten das Ägäische Meer “Archipel” oder das erste Meer und leiteten den Namen von diesem Mann, Peleg, ab.

Die zweite Möglichkeit ist, dass die Erde nach Menschengruppen und nicht nach geografischen Gesichtspunkten aufgeteilt wurde. Was ist richtig und können wir das wirklich sagen? Peleg ist der Ur-Ur-Ur-Enkel Sems und wurde 100 Jahre nach der Sintflut geboren, also im Jahr 1758 Anno Mundi.

Wir wissen dies aus dem Bericht in Genesis Kapitel 11, in dem die Generationen von Sem aufgezeichnet werden. Zwischen Kapitel 10 und dem Stammbaum Sems liegt jedoch der Turmbau zu Babel, den wir nächste Woche betrachten werden. Dieser Bericht ist speziell dort platziert, um uns die Aufteilung der Menschen nach Sprachen zu zeigen.

Mit anderen Worten, die Teilung der Erde, als Peleg erwähnt wird, spricht von der Aufteilung in einzelne Sprachen, und das ist der Grund, warum die Berichte in der Reihenfolge stehen, in der sie stehen. Auch hier offenbart uns Gott nach und nach, was geschieht und warum.

Der Turmbau zu Babel fand zu Pelegs Lebzeiten statt, und die Völker der Erde wurden damals entsprechend geteilt. Peleg bedeutet “Teilung” und der Name seines Bruders Joktan bedeutet “klein”.

26 Und Joktan zeugte Almodad, Scheleph, Hazarmawet und Jerach,
27 Hadoram, Usal und Dikla,
28 Obal, Abimael und Scheba,
29 Ophir, Hawila und Jobab; alle diese sind Söhne Joktans.
30 Und ihre Wohnsitze erstreckten sich von Mescha an, bis man nach Sephar kommt, zum östlichen Gebirge. 

Diese Menschen sind östlich des Landes Israel zu finden. Sie siedelten in Arabien, im Jemen und sogar entlang des Indischen Ozeans bis nach Indien. Letzte Woche haben wir von Scheba und Dedan, den Söhnen Hams, gehört. In diesem Vers heute hören wir von einer anderen Scheba.

Es ist nicht hundertprozentig sicher, wer der Vorfahre der berühmten Königin von Scheba ist, die Salomo besuchte. Es könnte sein, dass der Name aufgrund der Vermischung zwischen den Linien von Sem und Ham hier als Nachfahre der anderen Scheba wiederverwendet wird.

31 Das sind die Söhne Sems nach ihren Sippen und Sprachen, in ihren Ländern und Völkerschaften.

Vorhin habe ich gesagt, dass die Linie Sems in Kapitel 11 wieder auftauchen wird. Damit soll der Trichter Gottes gezeigt werden, der von Sem hinunter zu Abraham, dem Mann des Glaubens, führt. Er wird das Beispiel für die Rechtfertigung durch den Glauben nach den Schriften des Paulus sein.

Gott hat durch die Zeit und die Geschichte gewirkt und langsam Seinen wunderbaren Plan entfaltet, und wir überspringen oder übergehen schnell jeden Schritt zu unserem eigenen großen Verlust. Selbst mit den vielen Details, die wir uns angesehen haben, haben wir die riesige Menge an Informationen über diese vielen Menschen in Genesis Kapitel 10 nur gestreift.

Trotzdem sind wir jetzt beim letzten Vers des Kapitels und beim letzten Vers für den heutigen Tag –

32 Das sind die Sippen der Söhne Noahs nach ihrer Abstammung in ihren Völkern; und von ihnen haben sich nach der Sintflut die Völker auf der Erde verteilt.

Noah taucht in Genesis 5,29 auf, und hier ist nun das letzte Mal, dass wir von ihm hören, bis er viel später in der Bibel in kurzen Berichten erwähnt wird. Er hat seine Zeit abgesessen und verschwindet nun still und leise von der Bildfläche in einem Vers, der eher von seinen Söhnen als von ihm selbst handelt.

Er wird im Buch der 1. Chronik, bei Jesaja und Hesekiel und dann bei Jesus, dann dem Autor des Hebräerbriefs und bei Petrus erwähnt. Noah war ein Mann des Glaubens und ein treuer Mann, und er wird von Gott in Seinem Wort als solcher gewürdigt.

Letztendlich ist die Lektion von Noah eine, die wir uns alle zu Herzen nehmen sollten. Gott liebt die Menschen auf der Welt und Er wird sich sorgfältig und zärtlich um sie kümmern, wenn sie Ihn treu anrufen und Ihm für ihre Sicherheit und Rettung vertrauen.

Von Noah bis zur Erwähnung seiner Söhne sehen wir einen Übergang und in diesem Übergang liegt eine Teilung der Welt. Alle Menschen stammen von Noah ab, und von ihm nehmen wir einen von drei Wegen – durch Sem, den geistlichen Sohn, durch Ham, den Sohn der physischen Leistung, oder durch Japheth, den intellektuellen Sohn.

Nun möchte ich mich den Schriften von Ray Stedman zuwenden und seine Überlegungen zu diesen drei Themen zitieren und darlegen, wie sie sich auf uns als Einzelpersonen und Mitglieder der menschlichen Rasse beziehen. Eine Rasse von Menschen, die nach Gottes Bild und zu Seiner Ehre geschaffen wurde –

“Es gibt drei Bereiche der Menschheit, so wie es drei Bereiche im Menschen, in euch, gibt. Jede dieser Abteilungen ist dafür verantwortlich, eines der Grundbedürfnisse des Menschen zu befriedigen – geistlich, körperlich und intellektuell. In jedem von uns finden sich diese drei Bereiche wieder. Jeder von uns hat die Fähigkeit zu beten, jeder von uns hat die Fähigkeit zu denken und jeder von uns hat die Fähigkeit zu schaffen. Dies sind die Dinge, die uns von den Tieren unterscheiden. Dies ist das Bild Gottes im Menschen.

Jedes von ihnen muss in perfektem Gleichgewicht gehalten werden. Die Welt befindet sich in einem Zustand der Verwirrung, Unsicherheit und Verzweiflung, weil das von Gott gewollte Gleichgewicht unerfüllt geblieben ist. So befindest du dich in deinem individuellen Leben in einem Zustand der Verwirrung, Verzweiflung, Frustration, Schwäche oder was auch immer es sein mag, weil du es versäumt hast, die dreifachen Fähigkeiten deiner eigenen Natur zu erfüllen. Das kannst du nur tun, wenn du sie in vollkommener Harmonie miteinander hältst.

Es ist falsch, den Menschen als grundlegend geistlich zu betrachten. Er ist auch intellektuell und körperlich. Es ist falsch, ihn als im Wesentlichen körperlich zu betrachten und die sportlichen Fähigkeiten unter Vernachlässigung der anderen zu entwickeln; er ist auch geistlich und intellektuell. Interessant ist, dass in der Bibel das Intellektuelle an letzter Stelle steht. Wenn die Reihenfolge der Schrift sowohl für den Einzelnen als auch für die Rasse gilt, dann ist auch die Reihenfolge in uns Sem, Ham und Japheth. Erst das Geistliche, dann das Körperliche, dann das Intellektuelle.

In dieser Ordnung findet die Menschheit ihre vollständige Erfüllung. Wenn wir uns selbst verstehen, werden wir auch die Welt um uns herum verstehen. Die Herrlichkeit des Evangeliums besteht darin, dass es sich genau unter diesen Bedingungen an die Menschheit wendet. Wir finden uns selbst in der Erfüllung, in der Begeisterung, in einem dramatischen Gefühl, das zu sein, wozu wir bestimmt sind, wenn wir unser Leben Gott durch Jesus Christus öffnen und dies zu unserer ersten Priorität machen; dann entwickeln wir das physische Leben, kümmern uns um physische Bedürfnisse, physische Anforderungen; und indem diese beiden zusammenarbeiten, entwickeln wir den Intellekt zu einem Verständnis unserer selbst…”

Vielen Dank, Ray Stedman.

Nun, da wir am Ende des Berichts über Noah und die Tafel der Völker angelangt sind, möchte ich dir noch einmal einen Gesamtüberblick über den Fluch und den Segen Noahs geben. Das wurde mir klar, als ich eine frühere Predigt vorbereitete. Dadurch wird deutlich, wie sich diese Dinge buchstäblich auf den Seiten und im Layout der Bibel erfüllt haben.

Im Wesentlichen handelt es sich im Alten Testament um Informationen, die Gott dem jüdischen Volk gegeben hat. Obwohl die Genesis vor der Berufung Israels steht, ist sie Teil der Tora oder der fünf Bücher Mose, die am Berg Sinai empfangen wurden. Das ganze Alte Testament hindurch steht Israel im Mittelpunkt der Geschichte, die zu Jesus führt.

Und dann sehen wir in den ersten drei Evangelien, wie Jesus das Alte Testament stellvertretend für uns erfüllt. Mit anderen Worten: Was dort gesagt wird, ist unter dem Alten Testament geschrieben und richtet sich an das jüdische Volk, nicht an die Gemeinde. Erst in der Nacht der Kreuzigung hat Jesus den Neuen Bund in Seinem Blut begründet.

Im Neuen Testament bezeichnet Paulus die Gemeinde und unser Leben in Christus als “ein Geheimnis”, das zuvor nicht offenbart worden war. Das Johannesevangelium, obwohl es größtenteils unter den Begriffen des Alten Bundes geschrieben wurde, enthält eine Mischung aus Altem und Neuem Testament und bildet somit einen Übergang zum Verständnis von Christus und der Gemeinde.

Nach Johannes folgt die Apostelgeschichte, die diesen Übergang vervollständigt. Wo beginnt die Apostelgeschichte? In Jerusalem. Und wo endet sie? In Rom. Die ersten 12 Kapitel der Apostelgeschichte können mit dem Untertitel „Petrusgeschichte“ (Die Taten des Petrus) versehen werden, die Kapitel 13 bis 28 mit dem Untertitel „Paulusgeschichte“ (Die Taten des Paulus).

Ich werde dir einige Parallelen dazu aus der Apostelgeschichte zeigen. Gott hat diese Parallelen gesetzt, um uns den Übergang von Petrus, dem Judenapostel, zu Paulus, dem Heidenapostel, zu zeigen.

  1. Petrus’ Wirken begann durch den Heiligen Geist (2)
  2. Paulus’ Wirken begann durch den Heiligen Geist (13)


  1. Petrus wurde für betrunken gehalten und erklärt sich dann (2)
  2. Paulus wurde für verrückt gehalten und erklärt sich dann (26)


  1. Mit Petrus’ erster Predigt beginnt ein neuer Abschnitt des Buches (2)
  2. Mit Paulus’ erster Predigt beginnt ein neuer Abschnitt des Buches (13)


  1. Petrus hat eine Zeit der Arbeit, des Predigens und dann der Verfolgung (2-11)
  2. Paulus hat eine Zeit der Arbeit, des Predigens und dann der Verfolgung (13-19)


  1. Petrus hat Schwierigkeiten, nachdem er einen von Geburt an lahmen Mann geheilt hat (3)
  2. Paulus hat Schwierigkeiten, nachdem er einen von Geburt an lahmen Mann geheilt hat (14)


  1. Petrus sagt: “Silber und Gold habe ich nicht” (3)
  2. Paulus sagt: “Ich habe niemandes Silber oder Gold begehrt” (20)


  1. Der Schatten des Petrus heilt (5)
  2. Das Taschentuch des Paulus heilt (19)


  1. Petrus wird im Tempel verhaftet und zum Sanhedrin gebracht (4, 5)
  2. Paulus wird im Tempel verhaftet und vor den Sanhedrin gebracht (21-23)


  1. Petrus konfrontiert Simon, den Zauberer (8)
  2. Paulus konfrontiert Elymas, den Zauberer (13)


  1. Petrus treibt Dämonen aus (5)
  2. Paulus treibt Dämonen aus (16)


  1. Petrus weckt Tabitha von den Toten auf (9)
  2. Paulus weckt Eutychus von den Toten auf (20)


  1. Petrus legt die Hände auf, um den Geist zu empfangen (8)
  2. Paulus legt die Hände auf, um den Geist zu empfangen (19)


  1. Petrus betete an (10)
  2. Paulus betete an (14)


  1. Petrus wird inhaftiert und entkommt auf wundersame Weise (12)
  2. Paulus wird inhaftiert und entkommt auf wundersame Weise (16)


  1. Ein Engel stand Petrus zur Seite (12)
  2. Ein Engel stand Paulus zur Seite (27)


  1. Petrus wird durch eine Vision berufen, in Cäsarea zu predigen (10)
  2. Paulus wird durch eine Vision berufen, in Mazedonien zu predigen (16)


  1. Petrus’ Erfolg ruft jüdische Eifersucht hervor (5)
  2. Paulus’ Erfolg ruft jüdische Eifersucht hervor (13)


  1. Petrus heilt den bettlägerigen Aeneas (9)
  2. Paulus heilt den bettlägerigen Vater des Publius (28)


  1. Petrus ordiniert Diakone (6)
  2. Paulus ordiniert Älteste (14)


  1. Petrus ist ” erfüllt mit dem Geist ” (4)
  2. Paulus ist “erfüllt mit dem Geist” (13)


Neben diesen vielen Parallelen sagt Paulus in seinen Schriften viermal, dass er der Apostel für die Heiden ist, und zweimal, dass Petrus der Apostel für die Juden ist.

Gleich nach der Apostelgeschichte ist der erste Brief der Römerbrief. Der Staffelstab wird von Sem an Japheth weitergegeben, der ihn 2000 Jahre lang tragen wird, während Israel für die Ablehnung seines Messias bestraft wird. Der letzte von Paulus unterzeichnete Brief ist Philemon, auf den wiederum… der Hebräerbrief folgt.

Der Brief ist an das hebräische Volk gerichtet. Danach folgt Jakobus, der an die 12 verstreuten Stämme – das jüdische Volk – geschrieben ist. Unmittelbar nach Jakobus folgen die beiden Briefe des Petrus, der an “die Pilger in der Zerstreuung” schreibt. Er schreibt sogar von Rom aus, wo die Apostelgeschichte aufhört.

Nach diesen Briefen werden die drei Briefe des Johannes vorgestellt, die dem gleichen Muster folgen wie sein Evangelium – eine Mischung aus alttestamentlichen und neutestamentlichen Konzepten, die einen Übergang zum Verständnis von Christus und der Gemeinde bilden.

Danach folgt der Judasbrief, der fast eine Zusammenfassung des 2. Petrusbriefes ist und der über die gleichen Themen spricht. Schließlich das Buch der Offenbarung, das in den ersten drei Kapiteln an die Gemeinde und in den Kapiteln 4-19 an Israel gerichtet ist.

Ab dem Zeitpunkt der Wiederkunft Jesu in Kapitel 19 sehen wir die Verschmelzung der beiden Teile zu einem einzigen während der tausendjährigen Herrschaft von Jerusalem aus und dann im ewigen Zustand.

Mit anderen Worten: Wenn man sich das Gesamtbild der Bibel vor Augen hält und dann Noahs Segen für seine Söhne betrachtet, ist es Japheth, der in den Zelten Sems wohnt. Das bedeutet, dass Japheth das gleiche geistliche Erbe wie Sem haben würde. Und das hat er – seit 2000 Jahren. Aber in den Zelten von jemandem zu wohnen bedeutet, dass man von ihm umschlossen ist.

Sem ist der Bannerträger des geistlichen Erbes von der Genesis bis zur ersten Hälfte der Apostelgeschichte. Von der Apostelgeschichte, Kapitel 13, bis Philemon trägt Jafet das geistliche Erbe. Doch ab dem Hebräerbrief wird das geistliche Banner wieder an Sem zurückgegeben.

Und dies wird sich bei der Entrückung der Gemeinde buchstäblich erfüllen, wenn Israel, das von Sem abstammt, wieder der geistige Mittelpunkt der Welt sein wird. Wir sehen bereits, wie sich die Welt darauf einstellt.

All dies geht auf den Segen zurück, den ein Mann seinen drei Söhnen im grundlegenden Buch der Bibel erteilt hat. Es ist eine erstaunliche und schöne Geschichte in der sich entfaltenden Offenbarung von Gottes ewigem Wort.

Die Linie Sems

Auch Sem wurden Kinder geboren
Der der Vater aller Kinder Ebers ist geworden

Von ihm würde Jesus schließlich abstammen
Dem älteren Bruder Sems gab man Japhet als Vornamen

Die Söhne Sems waren Elam, Assur, Arphaxad, Lud und Aram.
Und die Söhne von Aram waren Uz, Hul, Gether und Mash
Die Araber stammen von diesen Jungen ab, einige haben ihren eigenen Harem
Und andere geben heute Schekel aus, das ist die Form des israelischen Geldes in Cash

Arphaxad zeugte Salah, und Salah zeugte Eber
Und Eber wurden auch Peleg und Joktan geboren
Peleg ist ein Name, der hoffentlich in unseren Köpfen verweilt,
Denn zu Pelegs Zeiten wurde die Erde aufgeteilt.

Joktan zeugte 13 Söhne, eine ganze Reihe, wohlan!
Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, und auch Hadoram
Auch Uzal, Diklah, Obal und Abimael waren von seinem Samen
Und Scheba, Ophir, Havila und Jobab vervollständigen die ganze Schar mit ihren Namen.

Diese 13 waren die Söhne Joktans, die ihn sicher einiges kosten
Und sie wohnten von Mescha bis Sephar, den Bergen im Osten.
Von diesen Söhnen Sems sind noch einige Linien erhalten
nach ihren Völkern, die vom größten bis zum kleinsten sich entfalten

Und so beenden wir die Aufzählung des Stammbaums von Noahs Blut
Alle sorgfältig aufgezählt nach ihren Geschlechtern unter einem Hut
Von ihnen wurden die Menschen nach der Sintflut geteilt, das stimmt
Alle von diesen Söhnen, die zu den Völkern der Welt geworden sind

Was für ein Vergnügen zu wissen, was Gott getan
Sorgfältig führt Er uns durch viele Generationen dann
Und Er führt Seinen Trichter hin zu Seinem Sohn ohne Hürde
Der der Retter der Nationen werden würde

Oh Großer und mächtiger Gott, überwältigend ist dein Handeln
Hilf uns, in deinem Licht zu wandeln
Auf dem Pfad der Herrlichkeit mögest du uns leiten
Und lass unsere Lippen die Geschichte des Evangeliums verbreiten

Wir wollen dir unser höchstes Lob singen
Denn du hast uns zu deinem Lob und zu deiner Herrlichkeit gemacht
Und so soll auf Erden jedes Lebewesen bringen
die Kunde des Sieges von Jesus, dem König in Seiner Pracht

Halleluja und Amen!

Nächste Woche – 1. Mose 11,1-9, Der Turmbau zu Babel




Deuteronomy 33:12-17 (Moses Blesses Israel, Part II)

Artwork by Doug Kallerson

Deuteronomy 33:12-17
Moses Blesses Israel, Part II

This may seem like a curiosity to you but right now there is an American oil company in Israel, that is drilling for oil in the area referred to in Moses’ words today, and the owner is basing his reasoning on verses from Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33, both from the blessings spoken over Joseph –

“By the God of your father who will help you,
And by the Almighty who will bless you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors,
Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.
They shall be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.” Genesis 49:25, 26


“And of Joseph he said:
“Blessed of the Lord is his land,
With the precious things of heaven, with the dew,
And the deep lying beneath,
14 With the precious fruits of the sun,
With the precious produce of the months,
15 With the best things of the ancient mountains,
With the precious things of the everlasting hills,
16 With the precious things of the earth and its fullness,
And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush.
Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph,” Deuteronomy 33:13-16

Whether you agree with his reasoning or not, the land spoken of by both Jacob and Moses is still there, it is identifiable through historical records, and the company – Zion Oil and Gas – is there drilling wells.

Text Verse: “I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10

Whether you agree with his insights into the prophecies of Jacob and Moses, one thing is for sure: their words, and all the other prophetic oracles of God that are found in the Bible are true and they ultimately lead us to Jesus or at least an understanding of what He has done, is doing, or will do.

We will see more of that in our verses today. As far as Zion Oil and Gas, they put out occasional updates on the status of things. At the time I typed this sermon, their most recent update was as of February 16 –

Dear Zion Supporters and Shareholders,
2022 has kicked off to a fast and exciting start for Zion and its operations team as we prepare to continue developing and testing the MJ-02 well.
We are pleased to announce that all necessary services for completing the well, along with enhancement and reservoir testing, have been secured.
Zion has partnered with some of the leading Petro physicists and stimulation experts in the United States to plan the next phase of the operation.
As Zion continues to navigate manufacturing and logistical delays, the plan is to resume operations in quarter one.
These operations will start with necessary re-certifications and inspection of the rig while also upgrading critical systems that will benefit this operation and allow for enhanced drilling operations in the future.
Upon completing the inspections, upgrades, and rigging up, the crew will complete the final casing and tubular run before moving on to the enhancement and reservoir testing phase.
We continually give thanks to God and our loyal shareholders and supporters who make all this possible.
We will continue to provide material updates when we have relevant information to share with the public.


Rob Dunn

The company is registered with the SEC, it has stocks for purchase, and who knows if they will ever hit the big time. If they do, the stock will probably be worth a lot, but it may not last long. If large amounts of oil show up in Israel, the nations will suddenly find a reason to go in and take things over.

That is always a possibility based on other very clear passages of Scripture. Amazing things such as this possible prophecy of oil in the land of Joseph are based on verses found in God’s superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Blessing to Benjamin (verse 12)

In the previous sermon, Judah – the fourth son of Jacob and Leah – was blessed before Levi, the third son. Simeon was left out of a blessing, probably because he was eventually dispersed in, and assimilated into, Judah.

Now, the two sons of Jacob and his beloved Rachel will be blessed, and they are again out of birth order. Moses first blesses Benjamin and only then will he bless Joseph.

Because Benjamin is blessed before Joseph, critical scholars try to say that this order, and thus the blessing, actually dates to the time of the kings where Benjamin was the tribe of the first king of Israel, Saul. But there is no reason to assume this at all. Judah was already blessed before Levi, and Simeon has been left out of a blessing.

There is more reason to believe that God’s foreknowledge of future events superintends over the blessings given by Moses than that the blessings are some sort of later fabrication.

As for an immediate reason why the blessings are noted as Judah / Levi / Benjamin, it cannot go without notice that the future temple of the Lord will be in Jerusalem.

This then forms a sort of geographical prophecy where Judah is to the south, the temple is in Jerusalem that is on Judah’s northern border, and then Benjamin is on the north of that.

As the temple is identified with those who ministered in it, meaning the priests and the Levites, we can see the pattern found in Moses’ order of blessing from south to north – Judah / Levi / Benjamin.

Later, Judges 1:8 says, “Now the children of Judah fought against Jerusalem and took it; they struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire.” And yet, in the same chapter, it says, “But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day” (Judges 1:21).

Throughout the time of the kings, Jerusalem is said to be in Judah, and yet, again and again, people both from Judah and Benjamin are noted as being in Jerusalem. Further, the geographical overlapping of the two is also noted, even after the exile, such as in Ezra 1 –

“Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:5

But more, I would argue that the entire set of blessings upon the tribes – from Reuben to Asher – form an interesting pattern, a sort of circle around the temple in Jerusalem, in the order in which they are pronounced.

So far, Reuben is east of Jerusalem and outside of Canaan proper. Then it went south to Judah, which is inclusive of Simeon. This would explain why Simeon had no blessing. If the blessings are based upon situation in relation to the temple, and because Simeon is within the boundaries of Judah, then there was no need to give a separate blessing to them.

After Judah, it then went to Levi, emblematic of the temple, then it will next go to Benjamin, the land bordering the north of where the temple is. As such, the next blessing, the blessing of Benjamin, begins with…

12 Of Benjamin he said:

l’binyamin amar – “To Benjamin he said.” Benjamin is the younger of the two sons of Rachel and the twelfth son born to Jacob. Upon him, Moses pronounces that he is…

12  (con’t) “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him,

yedid Yehovah yishkon lavetakh alav – “Beloved Yehovah shall dwell to security upon Him.” The blessing of Benjamin speaks of his geographical situation. The words are difficult and highly debated, but it appears that this is, in fact, referring to Benjamin’s future placement in relation to the House of God. He thus dwells “upon” the Lord.

Lange says it cannot be speaking of this because the words Moses pronounces speak of the state (how) he lives rather than the location (where) he lives. But both can be true at the same time. The where, meaning in relation to the temple, leads to the how, meaning its safety and continuance.

The layout of the tribes provided a sort of buffer around where the temple is located, both in physical geography and in spiritual affiliation.

In his words now, Moses introduces the word yadid. It is an adjective that will be seen nine times, always in poetry. It is from the same root as dod, the noun meaning “beloved.” Benjamin is the beloved of Yehovah.

Benjamin means, “Son of the Right Hand.” As such, there is a definite hint of Jesus who is the Son at the right hand of the Father and who is the Beloved of the Lord. It is He who rests securely upon Him. Next, Moses says of him…

12  (con’t) Who shelters him all the day long;

khopheph alav kal ha’yom – “Covering him all the day.” This is a most rare word, found only here, khaphaph. It is related to yakheph, or barefoot. The foot is uncovered. Here, however, the word is speaking of being covered.

The word itself is closely connected to the word khuppah, which is a canopy for protection and a bridal chamber. Benjamin would be covered at all times in his dwelling. The sentiment of these words appears to be reflected extending into the future of Jerusalem where the word khuppah, or covering is explicitly used when referring to it –

“In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious;
And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing
For those of Israel who have escaped.
And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering [khuppah]. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.” Isaiah 4:2-6

With this understood, Moses speaks on…

12  (con’t) And he shall dwell between His shoulders.”

u-ben kethepha shaken – “And between His shoulders dwells.” Between the shoulders would signify to ride upon the back, and thus to be carried along. Metaphorically, the shoulders are referring to mountain slopes.

As this is speaking of Benjamin, this is taken by many scholars to refer to the two mountain peaks, Zion belonging to Judah, and Moriah in the land of Benjamin. However, that seems to be coopting that which is intended for Judah.

As such, I would think it just as likely, or more so, to be referring to Mount Moriah on the south and Bethel on the north. Mount Moriah is where the temple, the house of God, was erected –

“Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. And he began to build on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign.” 2 Chronicles 3:1, 2

Bethel, on the north, means “House of God.” Thus, the “shoulders” of Benjamin would then be referring to these two locations which include, or which are called, the “House of God.” When looked at on a map, the two locations literally look like the two shoulders of the land. Thus, the blessing is that of a realtor’s dream: location, location, location –

To Benjamin he said.
Beloved Yehovah shall dwell to security upon Him.
Covering him all the day.
And between His shoulder dwells.

The entire prophecy of Benjamin looks to the future concerning Jesus, the Son at God’s right hand, the beloved of the Lord who rests safely upon the Lord, covered by Him, and dwelling in the House of God. Next, Moses turns to Benjamin’s older brother…

I will bless you with a blessing
And you shall be blessed as My words convey
There will be no doubt; there will be no guessing
Things will come to pass just as I say

The future is known because I am already there
If you could understand this, things would go well
I tell in advance because I care
If My words you dismiss, you will pave a path to hell

But if you listen to My words, including this blessing
You will find the way to heaven is opened to you
There will be no doubt and there will be no guessing
Listen to My words which are faithful and true

II. The Blessing to Joseph (verses 13-17)

If you set the blessing of Jacob upon Joseph side by side with the one now from Moses, you will see how closely they parallel one another. I won’t highlight that for you, but if you have the time and motivation, it would be a short and fun project for you to do. With that, we now turn to Moses’ words to this son of Israel…

13 And of Joseph he said:

u-l’yoseph amar – “And to Joseph he said.” Joseph is the older of the two sons of Rachel and the eleventh son born to Jacob. Joseph is actually divided into the tribes of his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.

Ephraim is next north of Benjamin, and Manasseh is both north and then northeast of Ephraim, being divided into two sections that rest on both sides of the Jordan. Thus, the pattern of the order of the tribes surrounding Jerusalem in a somewhat discernible fashion continues with this tribe divided into two tribes. For now, upon Joseph, Moses pronounces that…

13 (con’t) “Blessed of the Lord is his land,

meboreket Yehovah artso – “Blessed Yehovah his land.” The blessing of Joseph pertains predominantly to the land. It is a land that would abound in productivity, and this has been noted as true concerning the areas where Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph who were adopted by Jacob, settled. The land is promised to be blessed…

13 (con’t) With the precious things of heaven, with the dew,

mi’meged shemayim mital – “From preciousness heavens, from dew.” Another new word, meged, is used. It is a noun that will be seen five times in the blessing upon Joseph, and then only three more times, all in the Song of Solomon.

The meaning of it is obscure, but James Strong places it as coming from a root probably meaning “eminent.” As such it is a distinguished thing or something valuable. That which is precious from heaven would be the rains, favorable climate, and so on.

The next word, mital, means “from dew.” However, some manuscripts have one letter changed, making it to say meal, or “from above.” Thus, some translations say this instead.

Either way, the thought is similar, but I would go with “from the dew.” As such, it would then be a separate category. One can see this when is the two are placed side by side –

Blessed Yehovah his land.
From preciousness heavens, from dew. (separate category)
Blessed Yehovah his land.
From preciousness heavens, from above. (second explains first)

Dew comes less from heaven than from the interaction between the immediate ground and the surrounding air as moisture condenses. When taken with the next clause, it being a separate category would then follow through more logically…

13 (con’t) And the deep lying beneath,

u’mi’tehom rovetseth takhath – “And from deep crouching underneath.” The tehom is a void or an abyss. As such, it is where water flows up from underground. Here Moses poetically portrays it as a recumbent animal that crouches below. Combining this with the previous clauses, one can see why I feel “from dew” is the correct meaning –

Blessed Yehovah his land.
From preciousness heavens (water from above), from dew (water from ground level).
And from deep crouching underneath (water from below).

Without water, life dries up and dies. But with water, everything is fruitful and abundant. That is what Moses will confirm concerning the land of Joseph in the next beautifully painted words…

14 With the precious fruits of the sun,

u-mi’meged tevuoth shamesh – “And from preciousness increases sun.” The sun is that which rises from day to day. Throughout the Bible, it is reflective of that state. Thus, it speaks of life being lived one day at a time as each day is “the day.” There is tomorrow, but when it comes, it becomes “the day.”

Each day, the sun will bless Joseph where he will receive abundance in the increases (produce, fruits, crops, etc.) of the day. The words speak of abundance arising from the events of the day…

14 (con’t) With the precious produce of the months,

u-mi’meged geresh yerakhim – “And from preciousness [the] casting moons.” Here is a word found only once in Scripture, geresh. It is a noun coming from the common verb garash which refers to casting out or driving out (such as an enemy), divorcing, and so on. Hence, one can think of expatriating.

The moon here speaks of the months. Each moon is one month, and thus, it speaks of the cycle of the year as it passes. As the various crops produce their fruit, they are said to cast them off. The contrasting parallelism between the clauses is evident –

And from preciousness increases sun. (daily cycle)
And from preciousness [the] casting moons. (monthly cycle)

One can see the workings of the Lord in this where Jesus speaks of each day being sufficient for its own trouble, meaning relying on the produce of the day as each day produces. And yet, He also speaks of the fields being white for harvest, which is a cyclical thing that comes as the months pass.

And more, Jesus is the fulfillment of both the daily sacrifices at the temple as well as each sacrifice that occurs during the months of the year. Now, with the marvelous words of this verse complete, Moses speaks on…

15 With the best things of the ancient mountains,

u-me’rosh harerei qedem – “And from excellency mountains ancient.” Translations will vary widely on this because the words can have several meanings. The word rosh means “head.” As such, it can signify the first, the top, the best, and so on.

The word “ancient” is qedem, which literally means “east,” but east in Scripture also signifies that which is before. The sun rises there. And because it comes from seemingly nowhere, it then speaks of the unknown past – that which is in antiquity, is ancient, is eternal.

I translate it as “excellency” because it is a singular noun, but the word “mountains” is plural. Also, I say “ancient” rather than “east,” otherwise, one might say “top of the mountains of the east,” signifying the mountains of Gilead and Bashan where some of Joseph settled. But more, using excellency will also maintain parallelism with the next clause.

The words now speak of what is derived from these higher areas, be it grasslands for flocks and herds, trees, vines, olives, minerals, and so on. Whatever these elevations uniquely provide, that is the excellency derived from them. Also…

15 (con’t) With the precious things of the everlasting hills,

u-mi’meged givoth olam – “And from preciousness hills antiquity.” It is the same word used three times already in the past two verses, meged, or preciousness. The word givah is a hill, and here it is plural, givoth. And the word olam signifies “to the vanishing point.” Thus, it is an indeterminate amount of time.

In other words, the clause is perfectly parallel to the previous clause –

And from excellency mountains ancient.
And from preciousness hills antiquity.

As for typology, I would say these words look beyond the hills and mountains, here termed Ancient and Antiquity. Though they are old, they didn’t create themselves. Rather, they came from the wisdom of God in creation. If there is an ancient hill, there is One more ancient that created it, meaning He was there before the hill.

As such, it is reflective of the words of James concerning God –

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:16, 17

It is Christ who came from God and who is described with both the word qedem and olam in Micah –

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2

As for Joseph, the high places – the mountains and hills that were founded in the primeval past – will yield that which is excellent and precious for Joseph. And more…

16 With the precious things of the earth and its fullness,

u-mi’meged erets u-meloah – “And from preciousness land and its fullness.” This speaks of the overall favor of the land, whether on mountain, hill, valley, or plain. Where Joseph would settle, in its fullness, there would be abundance. But more…

16 (con’t) And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush.

u-retson shokeni seneh – “And favor Him dwells bush.” Moses returns to his time of calling on Mount Sinai where he met the Lord God who called to him from the bush. It was there that Moses was told that the promise to the fathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – would be realized from Him through Moses.

Just as Israel had received His favor, and just as Moses has been bestowed the good pleasure of the Lord, so this same Source of blessing is now pronounced to come upon Joseph. The clauses are parallel –

And from preciousness land and its fullness.
And favor Him dwells bush.

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, and the Lord dwells in the bush that is on the earth. Moses pronounces that the blessing would come up from the land possessed by the Lord, and out from the Lord of the bush…

16 (con’t) Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph,

tabothah l’rosh Yoseph – “Let come to head Joseph.” The verb is cohortative. Thus, it is like saying, “Let everything come upon the head of Joseph that has just been pronounced.” To have it come upon the head is its own blessing. An example of this is found in the 133rd Psalm –

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.” Psalm 133

A blessing upon the head is one that will then continue down the whole body and even to the feet. The clause is then set parallel to the next one…

16 (con’t) And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.’

u-l’qadeqod nezir ekhav – “And to crown of head Nazirite his brothers.” The nazir signifies someone consecrated, devoted, and so on.

What this seems to be saying is that his brothers devoted him or consecrated him to taking on the bonds of a slave. As such, he was set apart to that. Despite this state, however, Moses asks for all of the blessings pronounced to come upon the very crown of his head.

The clauses form somewhat of a pun and a contrasting parallel. Joseph, or Yoseph, means “He shall add.” And yet, the brothers separated him from themselves –

Let come to head Joseph.
And to crown head Nazirite his brothers.

The four clauses anticipate Christ who is the One to receive the ultimate blessing of the inheritance of the earth from the Lord who dwells in the bush. Further, Joseph anticipates Christ in the meaning of his name.

Yoseph, or “He shall Add” speaks of the One who adds (yasaph) to the people of God through His ministry. But the name is also based on the word asaph, to take away. He is the One who takes away the reproach of His people.

At the same time, He was separated from His brothers being set apart to the bondage of the law in order to free His brothers from it. The totality of Moses’ words speaks of Joseph, but they anticipate Christ. Moses next says…

17 His glory is like a firstborn bull,

bekor shoro hadar lo – “Firstborn his bull magnificence to him.” The object of the words is his (Joseph’s) seed, not Joseph. Some say that this is referring to Ephraim as his firstborn bull.

This is because though not the firstborn, Jacob blessed Ephraim as such, placing him above his brother, Manasseh. When Joseph told Jacob he was blessing the wrong son, Jacob corrected him –

“I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” Genesis 49:19

Ephraim was the one who grew into the most powerful of the sons and who was called melo ha’goyim, or “fullness the nations,” by Jacob. However, I would argue that this bull is referring to both sons – Manasseh, the firstborn, and Ephraim, the second, the one placed as firstborn.

I think this will be evident as we go on. It is the collective, Ephraim and Manasseh, that Moses is saying would be magnificence to Joseph. He next says…

17 (con’t) And his horns like the horns of the wild ox;

v’qarne ra’em qarna – “And horns [wild] ox His horns.” The horn is a symbol of power. It is saying that this bull’s power would be like the horns of the reem, or wild ox. The symbolism is both majestic and terrible.

As a side note for all KJV-only readers, the words here show a mistranslation and a contradiction in that translation. They say, “and his horns are like the horns of unicorns.”

The word “unicorns” is decidedly incorrect. First, there are no such things. But even if the old English word speaks of a rhino or something else with one horn, the Hebrew word is singular – “unicorn.”

And so, no matter what, the translation is wrong because a unicorn has only one horn. Therefore, this is another of the innumerable errors found in that translation. It is just a ridiculously funny one.

As for the words, the two clauses are parallel –

Firstborn his bull magnificence to him.
And horns [wild] ox His horns.

The bull is magnificent, and the horns stand out prominently, further revealing his magnificence. But a bull with two horns is a two-horned bull. The horns then represent the tribes of the two sons…

17 (con’t) Together with the

bahem – “In them.” Despite the division by the NKJV, this word should be a part of the next words. As such…

17 (con’t) He shall push the peoples

bahem amim yenagakh – “In them peoples he butts.” It is referring to the horns of the wild ox. In these two horns, Joseph’s seed would butt the peoples. It is a butting bull, pushing and goring as he goes, constantly moving the peoples back as he progresses, even…

17 (con’t) To the ends of the earth;

yakhdav aphse arets – “Together ends land.” The word “together” is referring to both horns working as one, pushing and thrusting the people to the ends of the land of Canaan. Again, the clauses are parallel –

In them peoples he butts.
Together ends land.

The horn pushes the people, and the horns work together to do so. The bull is the seed of Jacob, the horns represent the divisions, Ephraim and Manasseh working as one to clear the land. From there, the blessing now speaks of the two horns, naming them individually…

17 (con’t) They are the ten thousands of Ephraim,

v’hem rivoth Ephraim – “And they myriads Ephraim.” It refers to the immense size of the tribe. He has grown into a family of giant proportions, filling the land. Next, the second horn is named…

17 (con’t) And they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

v’hem alphe menasheh – “And they thousands Manasseh.” Though smaller by a factor of maybe ten or more, the tribe will be large and strong. Together, the two tribes form from one bull which is the magnificence to Joseph.

Ephraim means, “twice fruitful,” but it also means “ashes.” He pictures Jesus. He is twice fruitful in the land of His affliction, prevailing over the law and thus becoming the Savior of Jew and Gentile, but his work also meant that sin was judged in Him; thus the ashes, a sign of judgment.

Both names have a dual meaning, just as for Joseph. Manasseh means “to forget” but it also means “from a debt.” He pictures Christ who replaces Adam the man who owes a debt but whose debt is forgotten in Christ.

The two together then anticipate the explosive growth of the gospel as it pushes out further and further, even to the ends of the earth. There is both a literal and a symbolic meaning to the blessings of Moses. Each can be seen to anticipate what Christ would do –

Firstborn his bull magnificence to him.
And horns [wild] ox His horns.
In them peoples he butts.
Together ends land.
And they myriads Ephraim.
And they thousands Manasseh.
And to Joseph he said.
Blessed Yehovah his land.
From preciousness heavens, from dew.
And from deep crouching underneath.
And from preciousness increases sun.
And from preciousness casting moons.
And from excellency mountains ancient.
And from preciousness hills antiquity.
And from preciousness land and its fullness.”
And favor Him dwells bush.
Let come to head Joseph.
And to crown of head Nazirite his brothers.
Firstborn his bull magnificence to him.
And horns [wild] ox His horns.
In them peoples he butts.
Together ends land.
And they myriads Ephraim.
And they thousands Manasseh.

Typology is the kind of thing that one must be careful with, and it can be stretched too far if we aren’t careful. In the evaluation of these blessings, I have tried to be conservative in what is presented in this regard.

The literal is obvious. Moses is blessing these tribes in prophetic utterances that will literally take place. He is also doing it in a manner that makes a rather interesting pattern of the tribes around where the temple in Jerusalem is.

But more, the words are certainly anticipating the coming of Christ. Some of the typology is rather obvious. Some of it is a bit more difficult. But in the end, Moses is setting the tribes in their locations and in their circumstances which will continue on for well over a thousand years before Christ comes.

The land will continue to be occupied by Israel until He comes, even if it is ruled by outsiders. And when He came, it was to these twelve tribes. Paul makes this obvious when he spoke to King Agrippa in Acts –

“To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?” Acts 26:7, 8

His words are in the present tense. Twelve tribes were serving God in hopes of attaining the promise. Though they had been jumbled around, dispersed among the nations, and bullied by those around them, the tribes remained, and the hope remained as well.

Christ, the fulfillment of that hope, came, and yet they missed Him. But the promise remains for them, and it will come to its fulfillment when they call out to Him. Until that day, the message – this wonderful message of hope – continues on in the world.

Let us be wise and check out whether it is true. I honestly believe that if you are willing to put in the effort and check, you will come to the conclusion that countless souls around the world have also come to. The hope of Israel, and the blessings they are promised, are realized in Christ.

And for any who will come to Him, he too will share in the commonwealth of Israel. Come to Christ and share in this wonderful state of blessing that the Lord has pronounced in His precious and sacred word.

Closing Verse: “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock;
You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!
Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,
Stir up Your strength,
And come and save us!” Psalm 80:1, 2

Next Week: Deuteronomy 33:18-22 Moses continues to bless, as you will see... (Moses Blesses Israel, Part III) (102nd Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Moses Blesses Israel, Part II

Of Benjamin he said:
The beloved of the LORD
Shall dwell in safety by Him as well
Who shelters him all the day long
And he shall between His shoulders dwell

And of Joseph he said:
“Blessed of the LORD is his land
With the precious things of heaven, with the dew
And the deep lying beneath too

With the precious fruits of the sun
With the precious produce of the months, as the Lord wills
With the best things of the ancient mountains
With the precious things of the everlasting hills

With the precious things of the earth and its fullness
And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush
———-according to His druthers
Let the blessing come on the head of Joseph
And on the crown of the head of him who was
———-separate from his brothers

His glory is like a firstborn bull
And his horns like the horns of the wild ox, such their worth
Together with them
He shall push the peoples
To the ends of the earth

They are the ten thousands of Ephraim
And they are the thousands of Manasseh, what a team!

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

























12 Of Benjamin he said:

“The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him,
Who shelters him all the day long;
And he shall dwell between His shoulders.”

13 And of Joseph he said:

“Blessed of the Lord is his land,
With the precious things of heaven, with the dew,
And the deep lying beneath,
14 With the precious fruits of the sun,
With the precious produce of the months,
15 With the best things of the ancient mountains,
With the precious things of the everlasting hills,
16 With the precious things of the earth and its fullness,
And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush.
Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.’
17 His glory is like a firstborn bull,
And his horns like the horns of the wild ox;
Together with them
He shall push the peoples
To the ends of the earth;
They are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
And they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

Deuteronomy 33:6-11 (Moses Blesses Israel, Part I)

Deuteronomy 33:6-11
Moses Blesses Israel, Part I

In the previous sermon, magnificent and splendid words began the blessing of Israel by Moses. It was as a flower of beauty slowly opening with each word. Today, the petals of this precious rose continue to gradually unfold and present themselves to us.

We will see the rather concise and curt blessing upon Reuben. From there a short, but most majestic blessing will be pronounced upon Judah. And then, words of remembrance, mingled with words of petition, are brought forth from the lips of Moses toward those of his own tribe, Levi.

The words were spoken, they have been recorded, and they remain as a memorial before the Lord as well as an instrument of instruction for Israel and for us.

It is hard to imagine that the Lord would give them, allow them to rest upon the people – through good and bad – and then have the people come to a sudden and crushing end without any hope of restoration or remedy.

But this is what much of the church has decided has occurred. Israel disastrously did not heed, they failed to recognize the time of their visitation, and the Lord cut them off forever. Does that sound like the covenant keeping Lord that we have seen throughout the books of Moses? It doesn’t to me!

Text Verse: “He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.” Luke 1:54, 55

It is true that the covenant of the Lord with Israel through Moses contains many stern warnings and curses, but it also is very precise in how it presents them. We have seen this again and again.

Moses speaks of cutting off the people, but never of cutting off the nation. The continuous movement of the words he has presented, especially in Deuteronomy, have been precisely chosen and laid before us to show that this is not the case.

Moses simply builds upon what the Lord has already said earlier in the law. For today, there is less of that type of speech, and more of a carefully selected line of thought that provides hope and assurance to the individual tribes, while at the same time revealing really marvelous hints and pictures of the coming Messiah.

Woven into the words are also some unique patterns, linguistic nuances, and literary forms to help guide us in the often obscure nature of the words themselves. I do hope you will be pleased and even tickled with how these three blessings unfold. It was a joy to search them out, and now I joyfully present them to you.

Precious and wonderful things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Blessings Upon Reuben and Judah (verses 6 & 7)

“Let Reuben live, and not die,

The words are simple and direct in Reuben’s blessing. And yet, they are also quite complicated and even obscure in meaning. Hence, they are highly debated. In them, there are three jussives – indirect commands or petitions. The first two are found in this clause: yehi Reuven v’al yamot – “May live Reuben and not may die.”

The blessing of Reuben is one of life. The reason for Moses stating this is that, despite being the firstborn, Reuben was already removed from the honor and position of the firstborn because he slept with his father’s concubine, Bilhah. That is found in Genesis 35:22. Upon his death, Jacob’s blessing upon his sons did not reflect favorably upon Reuben –

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
My might and the beginning of my strength,
The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.
Unstable as water, you shall not excel,
Because you went up to your father’s bed;
Then you defiled it
He went up to my couch.” Genesis 49:3, 4

Later, when the rebels came against Moses in the wilderness, some of the main insurgents were of the tribe of Reuben –

“Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben…” Numbers 16:1

Despite their troubled past, Moses’ petition is for Reuben’s continuance, “May live Reuben, and not may die.” However, the next clause is what becomes difficult and debated over…

6 (con’t) Nor let his men be few.”

The third jussive is seen in this clause: vihi metav mispar – “And may his men a number.” Despite being just three words, there are pages of commentary on what Moses is saying. First, the word mispar, or “number,” signifies that which can be counted. If this is an independent clause, the meaning is the same as that found in Deuteronomy 4:27 –

“And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you.”

As such, it is a countable number –

*May live Reuben, and not may die.
*And may his men be few.

But “a number” may be a way of saying an indeterminate number and thus –

*May live Reuben, and not may die.
*And may his men be unnumbered.

Or, if “a number” is tied to the previous words, it would also be a large number because the “not” would carry on to the second clause –

*May live Reuben, and not may die.
*And (not) may his men be few.

And to throw a monkey wrench in that almost nobody would see coming, an ancient Greek translation of this verse inserts the name of Simeon here. This is because there is no other mention of Simeon in the entire blessing of Moses upon the tribes –

*May live Reuben, and not may die.
*And may the men of Simeon be few.

Simply because we are following the Hebrew, and because there is only one negation, I would go with the most literal translation and say that Moses is petitioning that Reuben not be extinguished as a tribe, and – being charitable – he is asking that he become an uncountable number.

The use of three jussives in the verse seems to exclude carrying the word “not” over to the second clause. Moses is directly petitioning with clarity and precision –

May live Reuben and not may die;
And may his men be a number.”

It is, then, a blessing for continuance and a petition for growth without a set limit. As such, Reuben, or “See a Son,” would picture Christ who did live and not die in the sense that He was never cut off because of His own sin. And He has also increased to an innumerable number –

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” Revelation 7:9, 10

Simeon then has no blessing at all. Jacob’s blessing of Simeon was joined with that of Levi –

“Simeon and Levi are brothers;
Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place.
Let not my soul enter their council;
Let not my honor be united to their assembly;
For in their anger they slew a man,
And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox.
Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;
And their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
And scatter them in Israel.” Genesis 49:5-7

Because Simeon was to be divided and scattered, and because his tribe will be assimilated into Judah’s land grant, they would – for all intents and purposes – be assimilated into Judah as well. As such, the blessing upon Judah should be taken – at least partially, even if not intentionally at this time – as also falling upon Simeon.

Because of this, the words of Moses continue with this fourth son of Jacob who is next blessed even before the third son, Levi –

And this he said of Judah:

The introductory words are so short and precise in the Hebrew that it is hard to not see in them something stately and majestic, as if it is being proclaimed at the coming of a king: v’zoth lihudah – “And this to Judah.”

One can almost sense the blast of a trumpet, drawing all attention to what will be proclaimed as he heralds the royal arrival, “And this to Judah!”

7 (con’t) “Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah,

vayomar shema Yehovah qol yehudah – “And he said, ‘Hear, Yehovah, voice Judah!” The blessing of Judah calls attention to his voice. Although we would be here for the next week or two, or longer, if we were to sufficiently evaluate the meaning of this, it can be summed up in the thought that a great portion of Scripture is based upon the voice of Judah.

It was building throughout the time of the judges, but it was heard in the most resplendent manner as the young shepherd boy from Bethlehem called forth to the great foe of Israel –

“You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47

From that time on, the voice of Judah fills the pages of the psalms, the historical writings, the books of wisdom, and the words issued forth as prophecy. And then, the voice of Judah was heard in the most unique way of all in the first recorded words of the Lord –

“Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49

At that time, and for the rest of Scripture, the voice of Judah is truly realized in the way that Moses now intends. He knew the words of Jacob when he blessed his fourth son, and he thus knew that the line of the Messiah was fixed through him –

“Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s children shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
11 Binding his donkey to the vine,
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
He washed his garments in wine,
And his clothes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
And his teeth whiter than milk.” Genesis 49:8-12

The voice of Judah, which means “Praise,” is the praise of God because he is the praised of God. The voice of Judah is the voice of the Word of God that speaks forth life. The voice of Judah is the battle cry for the people of God to follow their King. The voice of Judah is the roar of the Lion and the humble call of the Servant. The voice of Judah is, ultimately, the voice of Jesus – the Lord.

7 (con’t) And bring him to his people;

v’el amo tevienu – “And unto His people [You] bring him.” Immediately, this refers to the tribe. Judah was separated from Israel, being the southernmost tribe and thus somewhat isolated from the rest. Throughout the Bible, Judah continues in this state of semi-separation.

However, Ezekiel prophesied of a time when Judah would be inseparably united to Israel –

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 16 “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’ 17 Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.
18 “And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’— 19 say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”’ 20 And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.

The words of Moses, however, are certainly looking ahead in anticipation even more precisely than this. He is remembering the blessing of Jacob, and he is specifically calling forth for the coming of Messiah, to be brought to His people –

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2

The voice of Judah, through Micah of Moresheth – which is in the tribe of Judah – called forth for the coming of Israel’s Ruler who would be from Bethlehem Ephrathah, also in the tribe of Judah.

7 (con’t) Let his hands be sufficient for him,

The words are obscure and complicated: yada rav lo – “His hands abound to him.” The Greek reads “contend.” Because of the difficulty, many translations follow the Greek, saying, “His hand contends for him.” The word is rav, signifying abundance, enough, many, mighty, and so on. It is a sort of superlative in whatever it is referring to.

As the hand is that which accomplishes things, I would say the intent is something like, “He is fully sufficient to perform, be it in war, productivity, salvation, deliverance, and so on.” As such, Judah has the strength to carry itself and its purposes through.

In anticipation of the Greatest of Judah, one could look to the words of Isaiah to find the ultimate intent of Moses’ words –

“Who is this who comes from Edom,
With dyed garments from Bozrah,
This One who is glorious in His apparel,
Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—
‘I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’
Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?
‘I have trodden the winepress alone,
And from the peoples no one was with Me.
For I have trodden them in My anger,
And trampled them in My fury;
Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,
And I have stained all My robes.
For the day of vengeance is in My heart,
And the year of My redeemed has come.
I looked, but there was no one to help,
And I wondered
That there was no one to uphold;
Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me;
And My own fury, it sustained Me.
I have trodden down the peoples in My anger,
Made them drunk in My fury,
And brought down their strength to the earth.’” Isaiah 63:1-6

With this in mind, the next words of the blessing might seem contradictory, but this is not the case…

7 (con’t) And may You be a help against his enemies.”

v’ezer mitsarav tiyeh – “And help from his enemies may You be.” If the hands of Judah abound in might, then why would they need the Lord to help them? But the words are comparative. Judah is considered to be capable of meeting and defeating its foes, but even the mightiest nation cannot prevail if the Lord is not with it.

This has been and it will continue to be seen. If the Lord purposes triumph, there will be triumph if by many or by few. And if the Lord purposes defeat, then it will come without regard to number.

And again, the words of Moses toward Judah are but a reflection of words that apply to the ultimate Son of Judah. Though in one way He is mighty to save, working out salvation by His own arm, He is fully dependent on the Lord who sent Him forth –

“For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
17 I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
18 They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.
19 But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me;
O My Strength, hasten to help Me!
20 Deliver Me from the sword,
My precious life from the power of the dog.
21 Save Me from the lion’s mouth
And from the horns of the wild oxen!
You have answered Me.” Psalm 22:16-21

Not only are the two clauses not contradictory, whether referring to Judah or to Jesus, they show the total dependence of them upon the Lord. And the Lord is with both, helping them against the foes who have arisen against them.

There is a story to be found in the tribes of Israel
There is God working out His plan
Each detail calls out, “I have something to tell”
Something that leads to the redemption of man

The names of the tribes are carefully given
One shows one thing, and the next shows another
Each points to the greater story of hope-filled livin’
When Christ would come – Israel’s greatest Son and Brother

The things they did and the lives they lived out
Are recorded in the Bible for us to read and to learn
The stories are given for us to see and have no doubt
The marvelous majesty, for which our souls now yearn

Christ is coming, so the word does tell
And hints of Him are found in the stories of Israel

II. The Blessing Upon Levi (verses 8-11)

And of Levi he said:

u-l’levi amar – “And to Levi he said.” Levi is the third son, and he receives the third blessing, even if it is out of order because of Simeon’s assumed inclusion in the blessing of Judah. It is the tribe of Moses. It is the tribe of the priestly class, and it is the tribe that has no land inheritance but is instead to be found throughout the land in the Levitical cities. To Levi, he says…

8 (con’t)Let Your Thummim and Your Urim be with Your holy one,

thumekha v’urekha l’ish khasidekha – “Your Thummin and Your Urim to man your godly.” The blessing of Levi concerns his office and duties. Here is a new word, khasid. It is an adjective signifying kind, godly, pious, and so on. It is mostly found in the psalms and at times it is rendered “saint.”

Levi is spoken of here as a godly man who possesses the special stones, the “Perfections and Lights,” used to determine the will of the Lord. They are what receive the infallible truths and revelations divulged by God.

Of the five times these stones are mentioned together, this is the only time that the Thummim is stated before the Urim. There is no explanation for this, and there are various conjectures as to its meaning, some imaginatively elevating one precept over the other. But I would think that this is a way of saying that both are on an equal standing.

In other words, if it always said, “Urim and Thummim,” one might think that “Lights,” meaning God’s revelations, come first and then “Perfections,” or the infallible truths, are based upon those revelations.

But in stating it as “Thummim and Urim” here, Moses is indicating that they are both of the same substance. God’s revelations are revealed in infallible truths, and His infallible truths are conveyed in His revelations. In essence, they are two sides of one coin.

The godly nature of Levi is to be revealed in the coming clauses. For now…

8 (con’t) Whom You tested at Massah,

asher nisito b’Massah – “Whom You tested in Massah.” The name Massah means Testing. Hence, it says, “Whom you tested in Testing.”

There is nothing directly stated of Levi concerning what occurred in Massah which is the account given in Exodus 17. As such, it leaves one wondering what Moses is talking about. But the next clause helps alleviate the difficulty…

8 (con’t) And with whom You contended at the waters of Meribah,

terivehu al me merivah – “You strived with him upon waters Meribah.” The name Meribah means “Place of Quarrelling.”  The Lord strived with Levi at the “Place of Quarrelling.” This was when Moses and Aaron were to speak to the rock and have water issue forth. Instead, Moses struck the rock twice with his rod.

The connection between the two is that the event at Massah occurred just shortly after having departed from Egypt, and the event at Meribah occurred just as the spies were investigating the land of Canaan. As such they encompass, as book ends, the entire time at Sinai when the law was given.

Once the spies returned, the people rejected the word of the Lord, and they were punished with being exiled into the wilderness. As we have repeatedly seen, that is emblematic of the past two thousand years of exile for Israel. As such, Moses’ words now look to the time of the administration of the law.

Next, Moses takes us back to the time of the giving of the law…

Who says of his father and mother,

Levi is referred to by a verb prefixed by an article: ha’omer l’abiv u-l’imo – “The sayer to his father and to his mother.” Here, it is referring to Levi as an individual, a collective whole. He says…

9 (con’t) ‘I have not seen them’;

It is singular: lo’reitiv – “Not I have seen him.” The mother is the wife of the father and so the singular stands for both. The father and the mother are there, but it is as if they are not seen, and they are not regarded. The same attitude is again seen in the next words…

9 (con’t) Nor did he acknowledge his brothers,

v’eth ekhav lo hikir – “And his brothers no regard.” Moses says that even though Levi had brothers, his mind was not on them when called to do what he must do. Moses is making a point about Levi’s priorities. Moses next says…

9 (con’t) Or know his own children;

v’eth banav lo yada – “And sons no know.” Any children of Levi are as if they are not even his when he is called to act. Levi has not seen the parents before him. He has not regarded the brothers around him, and he has not known his own sons. Despite them being the closest of family relationships, Moses speaks of Levi’s priorities. What is it that Levi has put first? To tell us, Moses slips into the plural…

9 (con’t) For they have observed Your word

ki shameru imratekha– “For they have heeded Your word.” The plural now speaks of the people of the tribe. They are Levi, but they are also Levites. The actions of the people are what is now being highlighted.

The word of the Lord takes precedence over even the closest of family relationships. If parents, siblings, or even children come between a person and the Lord, they are to be overlooked, disregarded, and treated as a stranger. Nothing can come between the faithful and the word of the Lord. Levi accepted the premise and applied it…

9 (con’t) And kept Your covenant.

uberitekha yintsoru – “And Your covenant they have guarded.” The covenant of the Lord, which is based upon the word of the Lord, must take priority. To not heed it is to find death. To heed it is to find life. All family relations will end, but the covenant and the word remain. Levi was presented with a choice –

“Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, ‘Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27 And he said to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.”’ 28 So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. 29 Then Moses said, ‘Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother.’” Exodus 32:25-29

This incident is what Moses is referring to now. Levi has put the word of the Lord, and His covenant, first. They went throughout the camp without recognizing faces, and they slew any who came before them. Because of this, they were granted the high honor of the priestly class and of those attached to them.

This then explains why Moses chose Massah and Meribah as his points of reference. Because those two events encompass the time of the giving of the law, from redemption out of Egypt until standing at the door of Canaan, their zeal for the Lord was a highlight among all of the failings of Israel, and – indeed – all the failings of Levi, including those of Moses and Aaron.

What they did was a demonstration of what the Lord finds pleasing above all else, meaning attendance to His word. Because of their moment of faithfulness…

10 They shall teach Jacob Your judgments,

yoru mishpatekha l’yaaqov – “They instruct Your judgments to Jacob.” Moses uses the word yarah, to shoot as an arrow. As such, it gives the sense of pointing out, as if aiming by the finger. Hence, it is instruction in the judgments recorded for them. Further…

10 (con’t) And Israel Your law.

v’torahtekha l’yisrael – “And Your law to Israel.” This is still an explanation of the verb yarah, and thus the two clauses are set in parallel. Just as they point out the judgments of the Lord to Jacob, so they point out the law of the Lord to Israel. The substance of the clauses is simply a poetic parallel –

They instruct:
Your judgments to Jacob.
And Your law to Israel.

10 (con’t) They shall put incense before You,

yasimu qetorah b’apekha – “They put incense in your nostril.” This and the next clause are again parallel thoughts. In this clause is a word found only here in Scripture, qetorah. It signifies the smoke of incense. This is specifically speaking of the twice-daily mandate to burn the specially compounded incense which was then presented each day before the Lord –

“Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.” Exodus 30:7, 8

Along with that…

10 (con’t) And a whole burnt sacrifice on Your altar.

v’kalil al mizbekhekha – “And holocaust upon Your altar.” The words speak of the second twice-daily offering made to the Lord –

“Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually. 39 One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. 40 With the one lamb shall be one-tenth of an ephah of flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. 41 And the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; and you shall offer with it the grain offering and the drink offering, as in the morning, for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord. 42 This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you.” Exodus 29:38-42

The words of this verse then speak of the honor and the responsibilities given to Levi because of their act of faithfulness to the word and the covenant of the Lord. The clauses are parallel as they describe the twice daily duties that are actually both things that rise up before and to the Lord –

They put:
Incense in your nose nostril.
And holocaust upon Your altar.

Because of this, Moses calls for a special blessing upon them…

11 Bless his substance, Lord,

The words return to the second person singular: barekh Yehovah khelo – “Bless, Yehovah, his activity.” The word khayil speaks of the force of something. This is probably speaking of the future state of the tribe.

In other words, “Bless his activity” is asking for a blessing upon what Levi would accomplish in the future. They have their duties to perform, and Moses is asking for a blessing upon that. This appears to be what is being conveyed, but there is a reason for it that will take completing the verse first to understand. And more…

11 (con’t) And accept the work of his hands;

u-poal yada tirseh – “And deed his hands accept.” The word “work” or “deed” is singular. This is then parallel to the previous clause, and it refers to the future work of Levi in a collective sense – all of his works are one work.

As such, it is asking the Lord to accept their work in presenting the offerings, teaching the people, and so on. One can see the obvious parallel between the two –

Bless, Yehovah, his activity.
And deed his hands accept.

Next, Moses asks for a future blessing against any foes of Levi…

11 (con’t) Strike the loins of those who rise against him,

mekhats matenayim qama – “Shatter loins rising against him.” Some equate this to the rebellion of Korah from Numbers 16, but that was as much an internal rebellion as anything else. Instead, this is a petition to protect and defend not just the priesthood, but all of Levi.

The priests were the mediators of the law between God and the people, and the Levities then stood between the priesthood and the people. Moses is calling for those who would oppose this divinely instituted system to be shattered so that they cannot stand against them again. And more…

*11 (fin) And of those who hate him, that they rise not again.”

There is a stress in the Hebrew on the last word: u-mesana min yequmun – “And those hating him, from their rising!” The exclamation point attempts to give the sense of what is conveyed. This and the previous clause are set in parallel, but they are marvelously structured to overlap in their presentation –

Shatter loins *those rising (qum) against him
And those hating him, from *their rising (qum)!

Moses is asking for the Lord’s protection for the priesthood, bringing their enemies low so that the priests can continue with the ministrations of the law without interference.

Now, taking the clauses of verse 10 and 11 together, one can see another parallel that is set forth –

They instruct Your judgments to Jacob. (Levi’s work)
And Your law to Israel. (Levi’s work)
They put incense in your nostril. (Offering rising)
And holocaust upon Your altar. (Offering rising)

Bless, Yehovah, his activity. (Levi’s work)
And deed his hands accept. (Levi’s work)
Shatter loins rising against him. (Protection from rising enemy)
And those hating him, from their rising! (Protection from rising enemy)

One can see that because of the work of Levi, to present offerings, Moses is asking for the work of Levi to be uninterrupted by any enemy rising. Nothing is to interfere with the work.

With that noted, another parallel exists that is seen in the final two clauses of the blessing upon Judah which matches the final four clauses of the blessing upon Levi, meaning the work and the protection –

His hands abound to him. (The work of Judah/the Lord)
And help from his enemies may You be. (Protection from the enemy for Judah/the Lord)

Judah anticipates the coming Messiah, but so does Levi. Everything about the priests, the Levites, their duties, and their offerings – all of it – anticipates and typologically pictures the work of Jesus. Hence, one can see why Moses linked the blessings of Judah with those of Levi, but also why he placed Judah first.

Judah anticipates Christ in His Person while Levi (as a tribe) more closely anticipates Christ in His duties. In the end, everything is anticipating the coming of Messiah and of what He would do in fulfillment of this law.

It is a law that served its purpose well. It used fallible people who ministered it on behalf of fallible people who lived under it in order to show the impossibility of it bringing man any closer to God. The problem did not, however, exist in the law.

Rather, it exists in those under the law. Their defect, sin, is what kept this law from performing its purpose. In the identification of this defect, the need for One without sin to fulfill it becomes evident.

And more, it highlights the need for it to end, and for a New Covenant to enter into the fabric of God’s redemptive workings. It would need to be a law based upon the work of the One without defect, but which would grant that same state of perfection to those who enter into it.

This is what Christ did. He completed the mission set before Him, fulfilled the law that stood against us, and then He offers His righteousness to us – not through that law, but through faith in His fulfillment of that law.

It is what we might call the greatest deal of all time. And it is a deal that extends to “all time.” God has made the offer, and He asks you to accept Him at His word, “Adam blew it, the law highlights that fact. Now, I have done this for you, just accept that My word is true.”

May you carefully consider this, and may you receive the marvelous gift that God has extended to you. And may you do so today.

Closing Verse: “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.” Romans 5:15, 16

Next Week: Deuteronomy 33:12-17 Moses will continue to bless the tribes until the blessings are through… (Moses Blesses Israel, Part II) (101st Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Moses Blesses Israel, Part I

“Let Reuben live, and not die
Nor let his men be few, but be numbered high

And this he said of Judah:
“Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah
And bring him to his people as you please
Let his hands be sufficient for him
And may You be a help against his enemies

And of Levi he said:
“Let Your Thummim and Your Urim
———-be with Your holy one days unended
Whom You tested at Massah
And with whom You at the waters of Meribah contended

Who says of his father and mother
———-‘I have not seen them’
Nor did he acknowledge his brothers
Or know his own children until the wrath was spent
For they have observed Your word
And kept Your covenant

They shall teach Jacob Your judgments
And Israel Your law, in this they shall not falter
They shall put incense before You
And a whole burnt sacrifice on Your altar

Bless his substance, LORD
And accept the work of his hands among men
Strike the loins of those who rise against him
And of those who hate him, that they rise not again

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…




















“Let Reuben live, and not die,
Nor let his men be few.”

And this he said of Judah:

“Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah,
And bring him to his people;
Let his hands be sufficient for him,
And may You be a help against his enemies.”

And of Levi he said:

Let Your Thummim and Your Urim be with Your holy one,
Whom You tested at Massah,
And with whom You contended at the waters of Meribah,
Who says of his father and mother,
‘I have not seen them’;
Nor did he acknowledge his brothers,
Or know his own children;
For they have observed Your word
And kept Your covenant.
10 They shall teach Jacob Your judgments,
And Israel Your law.
They shall put incense before You,
And a whole burnt sacrifice on Your altar.
11 Bless his substance, Lord,
And accept the work of his hands;
Strike the loins of those who rise against him,
And of those who hate him, that they rise not again.”