Deuteronomy 33

The Blessing

Moses, man of God, blessed the People of Israel with this blessing before his death. He said,

God came down from Sinai,
    he dawned from Seir upon them;
He radiated light from Mount Paran,
    coming with ten thousand holy angels
And tongues of fire
    streaming from his right hand.
Oh, how you love the people,
    all his holy ones are palmed in your left hand.
They sit at your feet,
    honoring your teaching,
The Revelation commanded by Moses,
    as the assembly of Jacob’s inheritance.
Thus God became king in Jeshurun
    as the leaders and tribes of Israel gathered.


“Let Reuben live and not die,
    but just barely, in diminishing numbers.”


“Listen, God, to the Voice of Judah,
    bring him to his people;
Strengthen his grip,
    be his helper against his foes.”


“Let your Thummim and Urim
    belong to your loyal saint;
The one you tested at Massah,
    whom you fought with at the Waters of Meribah,
Who said of his father and mother,
    ‘I no longer recognize them.’
He turned his back on his brothers
    and neglected his children,
Because he was guarding your sayings
    and watching over your Covenant.
Let him teach your rules to Jacob
    and your Revelation to Israel,
Let him keep the incense rising to your nostrils
    and the Whole-Burnt-Offerings on your Altar.
God bless his commitment,
    stamp your seal of approval on what he does;
Disable the loins of those who defy him,
    make sure we’ve heard the last from those who hate him.”


God’s beloved;
    God’s permanent residence.
Encircled by God all day long,
    within whom God is at home.”


“Blessed by God be his land:
    The best fresh dew from high heaven,
    and fountains springing from the depths;
The best radiance streaming from the sun
    and the best the moon has to offer;
Beauty pouring off the tops of the mountains
    and the best from the everlasting hills;
The best of Earth’s exuberant gifts,
    the smile of the Burning-Bush Dweller.
All this on the head of Joseph,
    on the brow of the consecrated one among his brothers.
In splendor he’s like a firstborn bull,
    his horns the horns of a wild ox;
He’ll gore the nations with those horns,
    push them all to the ends of the Earth.
Ephraim by the ten thousands will do this,
    Manasseh by the thousands will do this.”

Zebulun and Issachar:

“Celebrate, Zebulun, as you go out,
    and Issachar, as you stay home.
They’ll invite people to the Mountain
    and offer sacrifices of right worship,
For they will have hauled riches in from the sea
    and gleaned treasures from the beaches.”


“Blessed is he who makes Gad large.
    Gad roams like a lion,
    tears off an arm, rips open a skull.
He took one look and grabbed the best place for himself,
    the portion just made for someone in charge.
He took his place at the head,
    carried out God’s right ways
    and his rules for life in Israel.”


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


“Naphtali brims with blessings,
    spills over with God’s blessings
As he takes possession
    of the sea and southland.”


“Asher, best blessed of the sons!
    May he be the favorite of his brothers,
    his feet massaged in oil.
Safe behind iron-clad doors and gates,
    your strength like iron as long as you live.”

There is none like God, Jeshurun,
    riding to your rescue through the skies,
    his dignity haloed by clouds.
The ancient God is home
    on a foundation of everlasting arms.
He drove out the enemy before you
    and commanded, “Destroy!”
Israel lived securely,
    the fountain of Jacob undisturbed
In grain and wine country
    and, oh yes, his heavens drip dew.

Lucky Israel! Who has it as good as you?
    A people saved by God!
The Shield who defends you,
    the Sword who brings triumph.
Your enemies will come crawling on their bellies
    and you’ll march on their backs.

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Deuteronomy 34

The Death of Moses

Moses climbed from the Plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the peak of Pisgah facing Jericho. God showed him all the land from Gilead to Dan, all Naphtali, Ephraim, and Manasseh; all Judah reaching to the Mediterranean Sea; the Negev and the plains which encircle Jericho, City of Palms, as far south as Zoar.

Then and there God said to him, “This is the land I promised to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with the words ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I’ve let you see it with your own eyes. There it is. But you’re not going to go in.”

Moses died there in the land of Moab, Moses the servant of God, just as God said. God buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth Peor. No one knows his burial site to this very day.

Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eyesight was sharp; he still walked with a spring in his step. The People of Israel wept for Moses in the Plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses came to an end.

Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. The People of Israel listened obediently to him and did the same as when God had commanded Moses.

No prophet has risen since in Israel like Moses, whom God knew face-to-face. Never since has there been anything like the signs and miracle-wonders that God sent him to do in Egypt, to Pharaoh, to all his servants, and to all his land—nothing to compare with that all-powerful hand of his and all the great and terrible things Moses did as every eye in Israel watched.

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