Moses blesses the tribes of Israel
1Moses was a prophet, and before he died, he blessed the tribes of Israel by saying:
2The Lord came from Mount Sinai.
From Edom, he gave light
to his people,
and his glory was shining
from Mount Paran.
Thousands of his warriors
were with him, and fire
was at his right hand.#33.2 Thousands … right hand: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
3The Lord loves the tribes
of Israel,#33.3 the tribes of Israel: Or “the nations”.
and he protects his people.
They listen to his words
and worship at his feet.
4-5I called a meeting
of the tribes of Israel#33.4–5 Israel: The Hebrew text also uses the name “Jeshurun”, a rare name for “Israel”.
and gave you God's Law.
Then you and your leaders
made the Lord your king.
6Tribe of Reuben, you will live,
even though your tribe
will always be small.#33.6 even though … small: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
7The Lord will listen to you,
tribe of Judah, as you beg
to come safely home.
You fought your enemies alone;#33.7 beg … alone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
now the Lord will help you.
8 # Exod 28.30 Exod 17.7 Exod 17.7Num 20.13 At Massah and Meribah Spring,#33.8 Massah and Meribah Spring: See Exodus 17.1–7; Numbers 20.1–13.
the Lord tested you,
tribe of Levi.
You were faithful,#33.8 the Lord tested you, tribe of Levi. You were faithful: Or “the Lord tested me. I was faithful” or “the Lord tested Aaron and me. We were faithful.”
and so the priesthood#33.8 priesthood: The Hebrew text has “your thummim and your urim”, objects that were used by priests to get answers from God. belongs
to the Levi tribe.
9Protecting Israel's agreement
with the Lord
was more important to you
than the life of your father
or mother,
or brothers or sisters,
or your own children.#33.9 Protecting Israel's agreement … your own children: See Exodus 32.25–29.
10You teach God's laws to Israel,#33.10 Israel: See the note at 32.9.
and at the place of worship
you offer sacrifices
and burn incense.
11I pray that the Lord will bless
everything you do,
and make you strong enough
to crush your enemies.
12The Lord Most High#33.12 Most High: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. loves you,
tribe of Benjamin.
He will live among your hills
and protect you.
13Descendants of Joseph,
the Lord will bless you
with precious water
from deep wells
and with dew from the sky.
14Month by month, your fruit
will ripen in the sunshine.
15You will have a rich harvest
from the slopes
of the ancient hills.
16The Lord who appeared
in the burning bush
wants to give you the best
the land can produce,
and it will be a princely crown
on Joseph's head.
17The armies of Ephraim
and Manasseh
are majestic and fierce
like a bull or a wild ox.
They will run their spears
through faraway nations.
18Be happy, Zebulun,
as your boats set sail;
be happy, Issachar,
in your tents.
19The sea will make you wealthy,
and from the sandy beach
you will get treasure.#33.19 sandy beach … treasure: Possibly a reference to glass made from sand; glass was rare and very valuable.
So invite the other tribes#33.19 other tribes: Or “nations”.
to celebrate with you
and offer sacrifices to God.
20Tribe of Gad,
the Lord will bless you
with more land.
So shout his praises!
Your tribe is like a lion
ripping up its victim.
21Your leaders met together
and chose the best land
for your tribe,
but you obeyed the Lord
and helped the other tribes.#33.21 tribes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 21. The Gad tribe asked for some of the land east of the River Jordan, but promised that their warriors would cross the Jordan and help the other tribes take over the land west of the Jordan (see Numbers 32.1–33; Joshua 4.10–13).
22Tribe of Dan,
you are like a lion cub,
startled by a snake.#33.22 startled by a snake: Or “jumping out from the forest of Bashan”.
23The Lord is pleased with you,
people of Naphtali.
He will bless you
and give you the land
to the west and the south.#33.23 land to the west and the south: Or “land south as far as Lake Galilee”.
24The Lord's greatest blessing
is for you, tribe of Asher.
You will be the favourite
of all the other tribes.
You will be rich with olive oil
25and have strong town gates
with bronze and iron bolts.
Your people will be powerful
for as long as they live.
26Israel,#33.26 Israel: See the note at 33.4. no other god
is like ours—
the clouds are his chariot
as he rides across the skies
to come and help us.
27The eternal God
is our hiding place;
he carries us in his arms.
When God tells you
to destroy your enemies,
he will make them run.
28Israel, you will live in safety;
your enemies will be gone.#33.28 your enemies will be gone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
The dew will fall from the sky,
and you will have plenty
of grain and wine.
29The Lord has rescued you
and given you more blessings
than any other nation.
He protects you like a shield
and is your majestic sword.
Your enemies will bow in fear,
and you will trample
on their backs.
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