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Deuteronomy 33 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 33

Blessing upon the Tribes.[a] This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, blessed the Israelites before he died.

He said:

The Lord came from Sinai
    and dawned on his people from Seir;
    he shone forth from Mount Paran.
With him were myriads of holy ones;
    at his right hand advanced the gods.[b]
Indeed, lover of the peoples,
    all the holy ones are at your side;
They follow at your heels,
    carry out your decisions.
Moses charged us with the law,
    as a possession for the assembly of Jacob.
A king arose[c] in Jeshurun
    when the chiefs of the people assembled,
    and the tribes of Israel united.

May Reuben live and not die out,
    but let his numbers be few.

Of Judah he said this:

Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah,
    and bring him to his people.[d]
His own hands defend his cause;
    be a help against his foes.

Of Levi he said:

Give to Levi your Thummim,
    your Urim[e] to your faithful one;
Him you tested at Massah,
    contended against him at the waters of Meribah.
[f]He said of his father and mother,
    “I have no regard for them”;
His brothers he would not acknowledge,
    and his own children he did not recognize.
For they kept your words,
    and your covenant they upheld.
10 They teach your ordinances to Jacob,
    your law to Israel.
They bring incense to your nostrils,
    and burnt offerings to your altar.
11 Bless, Lord, his strength,
    be pleased with the work of his hands.
Crush the loins of his adversaries
    and of his foes, that they may not rise.

12 Of Benjamin he said:

The beloved of the Lord,
    he abides in safety beside him;
He shelters him all day long;
    the beloved abides at his breast.[g]

13 Of Joseph he said:

Blessed by the Lord is his land
    with the best of heaven above
    and of the abyss crouching beneath;
14 With the best of the produce of the sun,
    and the choicest yield of the months;
15 With the finest gifts of the ancient mountains
    and the best from the everlasting hills;
16 With the best of the earth and its fullness,
    and the favor of the one who dwells on Sinai.
Let these come upon the head of Joseph
    and upon the brow of the prince among his brothers.
17 His firstborn bull, majesty is his!
    His horns are the horns of a wild ox;
With them he gores the peoples,
    attacks the ends of the earth.
These are the myriads of Ephraim,
    and these the thousands of Manasseh.

18 Of Zebulun he said:

Rejoice, Zebulun, in your expeditions,
    exult, Issachar, in your tents!
19 They invite peoples to the mountain
    where they offer right sacrifices,
Because they suck up the abundance of the seas[h]
    and the hidden treasures of the sand.

20 Of Gad he said:

Blessed be the one who has made Gad so vast!
    He lies there like a lion;
    he tears the arm, the head as well.
21 He saw that the best should be his,
    for there the commander’s portion was assigned;
    he came at the head of the people.
He carried out the justice of the Lord
    and his ordinances for Israel.

22 Of Dan he said:

Dan is a lion’s cub,
    that springs away from a viper!

23 Of Naphtali he said:

Naphtali, abounding with favor,
    filled with the blessing of the Lord,
    take possession of the west and south.

24 Of Asher he said:

Most blessed[i] of sons be Asher!
    May he be the favorite among his brothers,
    and may he dip his foot in oil!
25 May the bolts of your gates be iron and bronze;
    may your strength endure through all your days!

26 There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
    who rides the heavens in his power,
    who rides the clouds in his majesty;
27 The God of old is a refuge;
    a support are the arms of the Everlasting.
He drove the enemy out of your way
    and he said, “Destroy!”
28 Israel abides securely,
    Jacob dwells apart,
In a land of grain and wine,
    where the heavens drip with dew.
29 Happy are you, Israel! Who is like you,
    a people delivered by the Lord,
Your help and shield,
    and the sword of your glory.
Your enemies cringe before you;
    you stride upon their backs.


  1. 33:1–29 This poem, called the Blessing of Moses, consists of a series of poetic characterizations of each of the tribes of Israel (vv. 6–25), introduced (vv. 2–3) and concluded (vv. 26–27) by a theophany; vv. 4–5 lead into the blessing proper; and the poem ends with a blessing on Israel as a whole (vv. 28–29). This catalog of the tribal units of the people Israel resembles the Blessing of Jacob (Gn 49) and the Song of Deborah (Jgs 5, especially vv. 14–18); all three poems seem to date from the early premonarchic period.
  2. 33:2 Gods: the divine beings who constitute the armies of the Lord, the heavenly hosts (Sabaoth); see note on 32:8. These “holy ones” (v. 3) are the retinue of the Lord, the warrior God, in his march from the southern mountains (Sinai, Seir, Paran).
  3. 33:5 A king arose: it is unclear whether this refers to divine kingship or the beginning of the monarchy in Israel. Jeshurun: see note on 32:15.
  4. 33:7 Bring him to his people: this probably refers to the isolated position of the tribe of Judah (cf. Jgs 1:17–19); according to some commentators the reference is to the divided kingdom.
  5. 33:8 Thummim…Urim: devices priests used for divination (cf. note on Ex 28:30).
  6. 33:9 The reference is probably to the Levites’ slaughter of other Israelites after the incident of the golden calf; cf. Ex 32:27–29.
  7. 33:12 Abides at his breast: an image of security under divine protection.
  8. 33:19 The abundance of the seas: perhaps the wealth that comes from sea trade or from fishing. The hidden treasures of the sand: possibly an allusion to the valuable purple dye extracted from certain marine shells found on the coast of northern Palestine.
  9. 33:24 Most blessed: Hebrew baruk; but the name Asher may suggest a play on the Hebrew ’ashre, “happy”; cf., e.g., v. 29; Ps 1:1. Oil: the land of the tribe of Asher was covered with olive groves.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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.


  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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