Moses Blesses the Tribes

Deuteronomy 33

Biblical Period

1This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, bade the Israelites farewell before he died. 2He said:

The Lord came from Sinai;
He shone upon them from Seir;
He appeared from Mount Paran,
And approached from Ribeboth-kodesh,
Lightning flashing at them from His right.
3Lover, indeed, of the people,
Their hallowed are all in Your hand.
They followed in Your steps,
Accepting Your pronouncements,
4When Moses charged us with the Teaching
As the heritage of the congregation of Jacob.
5Then He became King in Jeshurun,
When the heads of the people assembled,
The tribes of Israel together.
6May Reuben live and not die,
Though few be his numbers.
7And this he said of Judah:
Hear, O Lord the voice of Judah
And restore him to his people.
Though his own hands strive for him,
Help him against his foes.
8And of Levi he said:
Let Your Thummim and Urim
Be with Your faithful one,
Whom You tested at Massah,
Challenged at the waters of Meribah;
9Who said of his father and mother,
“I consider them not.”
His brothers he disregarded,
Ignored his own children.
Your precepts alone they observed,
And kept Your covenant.
10They shall teach Your laws to Jacob
And Your instructions to Israel.
They shall offer You incense to savor
And whole-offerings on Your altar.
11Bless, O Lord, his substance,
And favor his undertakings.
Smite the loins of his foes;
Let his enemies rise no more.
12Of Benjamin he said:
Beloved of the Lord,
He rests securely beside Him;
Ever does He protect him,
As he rests between His shoulders.
13And of Joseph he said:
Blessed of the Lord be his land
With the bounty of dew from heaven,
And of the deep that couches below;
14With the bounteous yield of the sun,
And the bounteous crop of the moons;
15With the best from the ancient mountains,
And the bounty of hills immemorial;
16With the bounty of earth and its fullness,
And the favor of the Presence in the Bush.
May these rest on the head of Joseph,
On the crown of the elect of his brothers.
17Like a firstling bull in his majesty,
He has horns like the horns of the wild-ox;
With them he gores the peoples,
The ends of the earth one and all.
These are the myriads of Ephraim,
Those are the thousands of Manasseh.
18And of Zebulun he said:
Rejoice, O Zebulun, on your journeys,
And Issachar, in your tents.
19They invite their kin to the mountain,
Where they offer sacrifices of success.
For they draw from the riches of the sea
And the hidden hoards of the sand.
20And of Gad he said:
Blessed be He who enlarges Gad!
Poised is he like a lion
To tear off arm and scalp.
21He chose for himself the best,
For there is the portion of the revered chieftain,
Where the heads of the people come.
He executed the Lord’s judgments
And His decisions for Israel.
22And of Dan he said:
Dan is a lion’s whelp
That leaps forth from Bashan.
23And of Naphtali he said:
O Naphtali, sated with favor
And full of the Lord’s blessing,
Take possession on the west and south.
24And of Asher he said:
Most blessed of sons be Asher;
May he be the favorite of his brothers,
May he dip his foot in oil.
25May your doorbolts be iron and copper,
And your security last all your days.
26O Jeshurun, there is none like God,
Riding through the heavens to help you,
Through the skies in His majesty.
27The ancient God is a refuge,
A support are the arms everlasting.
He drove out the enemy before you
By His command: Destroy!
28Thus Israel dwells in safety,
Untroubled is Jacob’s abode,a
In a land of grain and wine,
Under heavens dripping dew.
29O happy Israel! Who is like you,
A people delivered by the Lord,
Your protecting Shield, your Sword triumphant!
Your enemies shall come cringing before you,
And you shall tread on their backs.


Others “fountain.”


Reprinted from Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia.

Published in: The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, vol. 1.

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