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Let [the tribe of] Reuben live and not die out, but [a]let his men be few.

And this he [Moses] said of Judah: Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him to his people! With his hands he contended for himself; but may You be a help against his enemies.

And of Levi he said: Your Thummim and Your Urim [by which the priest sought God’s will for the nation] are for Your pious one [Aaron on behalf of the tribe], whom You tried and proved at Massah, with whom You contended at the waters of Meribah;(A)

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Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 33:6 The earlier Bible translators could not believe that Moses meant to say of Reuben, “let his men be few,” so they put “not” in italics: “let not his men be few.” But Reuben had committed a grave offense (Gen. 49:3, 4) which cancelled his birthright, and God meant exactly what He directed Moses to say, as continuous fulfillment of the prophecy proves. “In Judg. 5:16 the tribe [of Reuben] is scorned for its failure to join the others against the Canaanites, and except for I Chron. 5:3-20 it does not again appear in Israel’s history. Nor does Misha of Moab, ninth century, b.c., name it” (The Cambridge Bible). Furthermore, by a.d. 1951 no Jew was permitted to enter the territory once allotted to the tribe of Reuben. “The whole territory, which is... quite capable of cultivation, is now deserted by its settled inhabitants” (John D. Davis, A Dictionary of the Bible). It was then being restored not by Israelites but by Arabs.

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