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Deuteronomy 33:1-17: Today’s reading is the first half of Moses’s final blessing on Israel. Moses addresses the people tribe by tribe, and each of Israel’s tribes receives an individual blessing.
Moses Blesses the Tribes of Israel
33 These are the blessings that Moses, the man of God, pronounced on the people of Israel before he died.
2 The Lord came from Mount Sinai;
he rose like the sun over Edom
and shone on his people from Mount Paran.
Ten thousand angels were with him,
a flaming fire at his right hand.
3 The Lord loves his people
and protects those who belong to him.
So we bow at his feet
and obey his commands.
4 We obey the Law that Moses gave us,
our nation’s most treasured possession.
5 The Lord became king of his people Israel
when their tribes and leaders were gathered together.
6 Moses said about the tribe of Reuben:
“May Reuben never die out,
Although their people are few.”
7 About the tribe of Judah he said:
“Lord, listen to their cry for help;
Unite them again with the other tribes.
Fight for them, Lord,
And help them against their enemies.”
8 About the tribe of Levi he said:
“You, Lord, reveal your will by the Urim and Thummim
Through your faithful servants, the Levites;
You put them to the test at Massah
And proved them true at the waters of Meribah.
9 They showed greater loyalty to you
Than to parents, brothers, or children.
They obeyed your commands
And were faithful to your covenant.
10 They will teach your people to obey your Law;
They will offer sacrifices on your altar.
11 Lord, help their tribe to grow strong;
Be pleased with what they do.
Crush all their enemies;
Let them never rise again.”
12 About the tribe of Benjamin he said:
“This is the tribe the Lord loves and protects;
He guards them all the day long,
And he dwells in their midst.”
13 About the tribe of Joseph he said:
“May the Lord bless their land with rain
And with water from under the earth.
14 May their land be blessed with sun-ripened fruit,
Rich with the best fruits of each season.
15 May their ancient hills be covered with choice fruit.
16 May their land be filled with all that is good,
Blessed by the goodness of the Lord,
Who spoke from the burning bush.
May these blessings come to the tribe of Joseph,
Because he was the leader among his brothers.
17 Joseph has the strength of a bull,
The horns of a wild ox.
His horns are Manasseh’s thousands
And Ephraim’s ten thousands.
With them he gores the nations
And pushes them to the ends of the earth.”
Today’s Key Verse: Deuteronomy 33:3a
The LORD loves his people and protects those who belong to him.
What is Moses’s blessing for each of the tribes in today’s reading? (In verses 13-17, the tribe of Joseph is sometimes presented as the two tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, the names of Joseph’s two sons.) According to verse 4, what is the nation’s most treasured possession? Within your community of faith, what is considered its most treasured possession?
Lord God, how happy and grateful I am that I belong to you. I treasure your Law and seek to obey your commands. In your holy name I pray. Amen.
Deuteronomy 33:18-29: Moses concludes his farewell blessing.