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Deuteronomy 33 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Moses Blesses the Tribes of Israel

33 Moses was a prophet, and before he died, he blessed the tribes of Israel by saying:

The 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.[a]
The Lord loves the tribes
of Israel,[b]
    and he protects his people.
They listen to his words
    and worship at his feet.
I called a meeting
of the tribes of Israel[c]
    and gave you God’s Law.
Then you and your leaders
    made the Lord your king.

Tribe of Reuben, you will live,
even though your tribe
    will always be small.[d]

The Lord will listen to you,
tribe of Judah,
as you beg
    to come safely home.
You fought your enemies alone;[e]
    now the Lord will help you.

At Massah and Meribah Spring,[f]
the Lord tested you,
    tribe of Levi.
You were faithful,[g]
and so the priesthood[h] belongs
    to the Levi tribe.
Protecting 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.[i]

10 You teach God’s laws to Israel,[j]
    and at the place of worship
you offer sacrifices
    and burn incense.
11 I pray that the Lord will bless
    everything you do,
and make you strong enough
    to crush your enemies.

12 The Lord Most High[k] loves you,
    tribe of Benjamin.
He will live among your hills
    and protect you.

13 Descendants of Joseph,
    the Lord will bless you
with precious water
from deep wells
    and with dew from the sky.
14 Month by month, your fruit
    will ripen in the sunshine.
15 You will have a rich harvest
from the slopes
    of the ancient hills.
16 The 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.

17 The armies of Ephraim
    and Manasseh
are majestic and fierce
    like a bull or a wild ox.
They will run their spears
    through faraway nations.

18 Be happy, Zebulun,
    as your boats set sail;
be happy, Issachar,
    in your tents.
19 The sea will make you wealthy,
and from the sandy beach
    you will get treasure.[l]
So invite the other tribes[m]
to celebrate with you
    and offer sacrifices to God.

20 Tribe of Gad,
the Lord will bless you
    with more land.
So shout his praises!
Your tribe is like a lion
    ripping up its victim.
21 Your leaders met together
and chose the best land
    for your tribe,
but you obeyed the Lord
    and helped the other tribes.[n]

22 Tribe of Dan,
you are like a lion cub,
    startled by a snake.[o]

23 The Lord is pleased with you,
    people of Naphtali.
He will bless you
and give you the land
    to the west and the south.[p]

24 The Lord’s greatest blessing
    is for you, tribe of Asher.
You will be the favorite
    of all the other tribes.
You will be rich with olive oil
25 and have strong town gates
    with bronze and iron bolts.
Your people will be powerful
    for as long as they live.

26 Israel,[q] no other god
    is like ours—
the clouds are his chariot
as he rides across the skies
    to come and help us.
27 The 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.
28 Israel, you will live in safety;
    your enemies will be gone.[r]
The dew will fall from the sky,
and you will have plenty
    of grain and wine.
29 The 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.

Footnotes:

  1. 33.2 Thousands. . . right hand: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 33.3 the tribes of Israel: Or “the nations.”
  3. 33.4 Israel: The Hebrew text also uses the name “Jeshurun,” a rare name for “Israel.”
  4. 33.6 even though. . . small: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 33.7 beg. . . alone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 33.8 Massah and Meribah Spring: See Exodus 17.1-7; Numbers 20.1-13.
  7. 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.”
  8. 33.8 priesthood: The Hebrew text has “your thummim and your urim,” objects that were used by priests to get answers from God.
  9. 33.9 Protecting Israel’s agreement. . . your own children: See Exodus 32.25-29.
  10. 33.10 Israel: See the note at 32.9.
  11. 33.12 Most High: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  12. 33.19 sandy beach. . . treasure: Possibly a reference to glass made from sand; glass was rare and very valuable.
  13. 33.19 other tribes: Or “nations.”
  14. 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 Jordan River, 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).
  15. 33.22 startled by a snake: Or “jumping out from the forest of Bashan.”
  16. 33.23 land to the west and the south: Or “land south as far as Lake Galilee.”
  17. 33.26 Israel: See the note at 33.4.
  18. 33.28 your enemies will be gone: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Deuteronomy 33 New International Version (NIV)

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[a] myriads of holy ones
    from the south, from his mountain slopes.[b]
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[c]
    when the leaders of the people assembled,
    along with the tribes of Israel.

“Let Reuben live and not die,
    nor[d] 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[e] 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[f] 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.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 33:2 Or from
  2. Deuteronomy 33:2 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  3. Deuteronomy 33:5 Jeshurun means the upright one, that is, Israel; also in verse 26.
  4. Deuteronomy 33:6 Or but let
  5. Deuteronomy 33:16 Or of the one separated from
  6. Deuteronomy 33:28 Septuagint; Hebrew Jacob’s spring is
New International Version (NIV)

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