The Blessing of Moses Continued (Daily Portion 10417)

Content Author: 
Reagan, David
Scripture Passage: 
Deuteronomy 33:12-21

This is a short passage but its statements can challenge the Bible student. Moses continues to bless the tribes of Israel before his death. In these verses, he blesses five of the tribes; six, if we count Joseph as the two tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. Do not expect to understand all the statements of this passage the first time you study it. This is a passage to come back to as you grow in understanding.

What Does It Say?

  1. Of Benjamin, Moses says that the Lord shall _________ him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his ___________.            
  2. Let the blessing come upon the _______ of Joseph, and upon the top of the _________ of him that was _____________ from his brethren.
  3. Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy _________ out; and Issachar, in thy _________.
  4. When called to the mountain, the people will offer the sacrifices of ________________.
  5. Gad was seated in a portion of the _____________.

What Does It Mean?

  1. Of Benjamin, Moses says in verse 12, “The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him.’ Many commentators say that the beloved of the Lord is Benjamin. But it is more likely that Benjamin is “him” and that “the beloved of the LORD” is the one who will dwell safely by Benjamin. Benjamin was a small tribe in territory, but was placed next to the tribe of Judah. In fact, the territory of Benjamin surrounded the city of Jerusalem on three sides: east, west, and north. Jerusalem was the place God chose for His temple and His earthly presence. See also verses like Matthew 3:17; Matthew 12:18; Matthew 17:5; Ephesians 1:6. Who do you think is the beloved of the Lord? Why?
  2. Verses 13-16 pronounce a blessing on Joseph and on the tribes that come from him. Using the word “for” as a key word, count the number of blessings that are pronounced on Joseph. Compare this with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 and the blessings from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:3-11, also known as the beatitudes. Using these lists, tell what number you think some Bible students say has a connection to fruitfulness.
  3. Verse 17 refers to the two sons of Joseph and their respective tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh. It mentions the ten thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh. Why does Moses make the distinction between the ten thousands and the thousands? What does the similar phrasing mean in 1 Samuel 18:6-8 in reference to Saul and David? Read the story of Genesis 48:1-22, especially verse 19. How does this help explain the phrasing in Deuteronomy 33:17?

What Does It Mean to Me?

  1. Verse 16 speaks of “the good will of him that dwelt in the bush.” To what is this referring? See Exodus 3:1-6; Matthew 12:26; Acts 7:30, 35. Why do you think this incident is recalled here? How can this be a blessing to us today? 
  2. The tribe of Gad is mentioned in verses 20-21. He is said to dwell as a lion and to tear the arm with the crown of the head. Without trying to interpret too closely, we can see that Gad is a fierce tribe. According to Genesis 30:11, his name means “A troop cometh.” In 1 Chronicles 12:8, men from Gad are called “men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains.” The tribe of Gad settled on the east side of the Jordan River in an area that acted as a frontier land for Israel. Why do you think they were such a warlike people? The prophet Elijah was evidently from the land and tribe of Gad (1 Kings 17:1). In what ways does his life and ministry fit the warlike Gadites? Is there still a need for fierce men of God? For what purposes might God need a Gadite today? What are some times when you should be like Gad in your own Christian life?
David Reagan
Daily Proverb

Proverbs 21:31

The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.