Deuteronomy 33

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Read Deuteronomy 33

Moses Blesses the Tribes

33 This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death. He said:

“The Lord came from Sinai
    and dawned over them from Seir;
    he shone forth from Mount Paran.
He came with myriads of holy ones
    from the south, from his mountain slopes.
Surely it is you who love the people;
    all the holy ones are in your hand.
At your feet they all bow down,
    and from you receive instruction,
the law that Moses gave us,
    the possession of the assembly of Jacob.
He was king over Jeshurun
    when the leaders of the people assembled,
    along with the tribes of Israel.

“Let Reuben live and not die,
    nor his people be few.”

And this he said about Judah:

“Hear, Lord, the cry of Judah;
    bring him to his people.
With his own hands he defends his cause.
    Oh, be his help against his foes!”

About Levi he said:

“Your Thummim and Urim belong
    to your faithful servant.
You tested him at Massah;
    you contended with him at the waters of Meribah.
He said of his father and mother,
    ‘I have no regard for them.’
He did not recognize his brothers
    or acknowledge his own children,
but he watched over your word
    and guarded your covenant.
10 He teaches your precepts to Jacob
    and your law to Israel.
He offers incense before you
    and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11 Bless all his skills, Lord,
    and be pleased with the work of his hands.
Strike down those who rise against him,
    his foes till they rise no more.”

12 About Benjamin he said:

“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him,
    for he shields him all day long,
    and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”

13 About Joseph he said:

“May the Lord bless his land
    with the precious dew from heaven above
    and with the deep waters that lie below;
14 with the best the sun brings forth
    and the finest the moon can yield;
15 with the choicest gifts of the ancient mountains
    and the fruitfulness of the everlasting hills;
16 with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
    and the favor of him who dwelt in the burning bush.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
17 In majesty he is like a firstborn bull;
    his horns are the horns of a wild ox.
With them he will gore the nations,
    even those at the ends of the earth.
Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim;
    such are the thousands of Manasseh.”

18 About Zebulun he said:

“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
    and you, Issachar, in your tents.
19 They will summon peoples to the mountain
    and there offer the sacrifices of the righteous;
they will feast on the abundance of the seas,
    on the treasures hidden in the sand.”

20 About Gad he said:

“Blessed is he who enlarges Gad’s domain!
    Gad lives there like a lion,
    tearing at arm or head.
21 He chose the best land for himself;
    the leader’s portion was kept for him.
When the heads of the people assembled,
    he carried out the Lord’s righteous will,
    and his judgments concerning Israel.”

22 About Dan he said:

“Dan is a lion’s cub,
    springing out of Bashan.”

23 About Naphtali he said:

“Naphtali is abounding with the favor of the Lord
    and is full of his blessing;
    he will inherit southward to the lake.”

24 About Asher he said:

“Most blessed of sons is Asher;
    let him be favored by his brothers,
    and let him bathe his feet in oil.
25 The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze,
    and your strength will equal your days.

26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
    who rides across the heavens to help you
    and on the clouds in his majesty.
27 The eternal God is your refuge,
    and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemies before you,
    saying, ‘Destroy them!’
28 So Israel will live in safety;
    Jacob will dwell secure
in a land of grain and new wine,
    where the heavens drop dew.
29 Blessed are you, Israel!
    Who is like you,
    a people saved by the Lord?
He is your shield and helper
    and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
    and you will tread on their heights.”

Go Deeper

Deuteronomy 33 is called the Blessings of Moses and it’s a continuation of his last words to the Israelites. These are the same people whom he had known, loved, and led for 40 years. How amazing that even after Moses is told this is when and where his life will end, just steps from the Promised Land, he still speaks so affectionately and highly of the Lord. 

First Moses exalts God for choosing Israel, for what He has already done for them and for giving them the Law. Next Moses addresses eleven of the tribes individually, pronouncing blessing and prophecy to each of them. 

The tribe of Simeon is the only tribe unmentioned in Moses’ blessing over Israel. It is believed that this was a prophetic statement on Moses’ part. Jacob had prophesied similarly in Genesis 49:7 when he said “I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.” This is exactly what happened. Eventually the Tribe of Simeon merged with Judah and after the Babylonian exile, we cease to read about them (likely because they had been absorbed into other cultures). 

This goes to show just how important the patriarch’s final blessing was, both in practicality when regarding rights of inheritance, as well as prophetically. Receiving a blessing was the highest of honors, while losing a blessing was essentially a curse. This was one of God’s ways of revealing His will for His people.

Finally, Moses ends his blessing by glorifying the Lord once more. As he prepares to enter into God’s presence again, what a kind reminder he gives his people of the God they serve: “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun.” This was the same God who went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way… and did not depart from them (Exodus 13:21-22), who acted as their refuge, gave them rest and safety, who delivered His people, and drove out their enemies that they may live so well provided for and secure. These are the words of a man who met face-to-face with God–who spent time at His feet. Even with his last words, Moses pointed his people to God in every way.


  1. How would you respond if you had just learned you would not experience the thing you had been working towards for the past 40 years? Would it look more like praise or hatred?
  2. What makes you trust or distrust these attributes of the God of Jeshurun? 
  3. Think about a time when you feel you experienced God in a “face-to-face” way. Find an opportunity to share that memory with a friend, a family member, or a stranger over the next few days.

Keep Digging

Read about the ways Moses was similar to Jesus here. 

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1 thought on “Deuteronomy 33”

  1. I wonder what the countenance of Moses looked like as he delivered the final blessing to each tribe. Was there relief, sadness, expectancy, peace and love all displayed together? He was about to cross the finish line and complete the race of God’s calling on his life. I love that his final words included “The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.” Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Although the soil of our circumstances may look different, the character and very nature of God remains unchanged. We can dare to live boldly in this shaky world knowing that he is our true security. We can rest in his unchanging grace.

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