Deuteronomy 33


Moses delivers a prophetical blessing to the children of

Israel, 1.

The introduction, 2-5.

Prophetic declarations concerning Reuben, 6;

concerning Judah, 7;

concerning Levi, 8-11;

concerning Benjamin, 12;

concerning Joseph, 13-17;

concerning Zebulun, 18, 19;

concerning Gad, 20, 21;

concerning Dan, 22;

concerning Naphtali, 23;

concerning Asher, 24, 25.

The glory of the God of Jeshurun, and the glorious privileges

of his true followers, 26-29.


Verse 1. And this is the blessing wherewith Moses-blessed,

&c.] The general nature of this solemn introduction, says Dr.

Kennicott, is to show the foundation which Moses had for blessing

his brethren, viz., because God had frequently manifested his

glory in their behalf; and the several parts of this introduction

are disposed in the following order:-

1. The manifestation of the Divine glory on Sinai, as it was

prior in time and more magnificent in splendour, is mentioned


2. That God manifested his glory at Seir is evident from

Jud 5:4:

Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the

fields of Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens dropped, &c.

3. The next place is Paran, where the glory of the Lord appeared

before all the children of Israel, Nu 14:10.

Instead of he came with ten thousand saints, by which our

translators have rendered meribeboth kodesh, Dr.

Kennicott reads Meribah-Kadesh, the name of a place: for we find

that, towards the end of forty years, the Israelites came to

Kadesh, Nu 20:1,

which was also called Meribah, on account of their contentious

opposition to the determinations of God in their favour, Nu 20:13;

and there the glory of the Lord again appeared, as we are informed

Nu 20:6.

These four places, Sinai, Seir, Paran, and Meribah-Kadesh,

mentioned by Moses in the text, are the identical places where God

manifested his glory in a fiery appearance, the more illustriously

to proclaim his special providence over and care of Israel.

Verse 3. Yea, he loved the people] This is the inference which

Moses makes from those glorious appearances, that God truly loved

the people; and that all his saints, kedoshaiv, the people

whom he had consecrated to himself, were under his especial

benediction; and that in order to make them a holy nation, God had

displayed his glory on Mount Sinai, where they had fallen prostrate

at his feet with the humblest adoration, sincerely promising the

most affectionate obedience; and that God had there commanded them

a law which was to be the possession and inheritance of the

children of Jacob, De 33:4. And to crown the whole, he had not

only blessed them as their lawgiver, but had also vouchsafed to be

their king, De 33:5.

Dr. Kennicott proposes to translate the whole five verses thus:-

--Verse 1. And this is the blessing wherewith Moses, the man of

God, blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he


2. Jehovah came from SINAI,

And he arose upon them from SEIR;

He shone forth from Mount PARAN,

And he came from MERIBAH-KADESH:

From his right hand a fire shone forth upon them.

3. Truly, he loved the people,

And he blessed all his saints:

For they fell down at his feet,

And they received of his words.

4. He commanded us a law,

The inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.

5. And he became king in Jeshurun;

When the heads of the people were assembled,

Together with the tribes of Israel.

We have already seen that Dr. Kennicott reads

Meribah-Kadesh, the name of a place, instead of

meribeboth kodesh, which, by a most unnatural and forced

construction, our version renders ten thousands of saints, a

translation which no circumstance of the history justifies.

Instead of a fiery law, esh dath, he reads, following the

Samaritan version, esh ur, a fire shining out upon them.

In vindication of this change in the original, it may be observed,

1. That, though dath signifies a law, yet it is a Chaldee

term, and appears nowhere in any part of the sacred writings

previously to the Babylonish captivity: torah being the term

constantly used to express the Law, at all times prior to the

corruption of the Hebrew, by the Chaldee. 2. That the word itself

is obscure in its present situation, as the Hebrew Bibles write it

and esh in one word eshdath, which has no meaning; and

which, in order to give it one, the Massorah directs should be read

separate, though written connected. 3. That the word is not

acknowledged by the two most ancient versions, the Septuagint and

Syriac. 4. That in the parallel place, Hab 3:3, 4, a word is used

which expresses the rays of light, karnayim, horns, that

is, splendours, rays, or effulgence of light. 5. That on all these

accounts, together with the almost impossibility of giving a

rational meaning to the text as it now stands, the translation

contended for should be adopted.

Instead of All his saints are in his hand, Dr. Kennicott reads,

He blessed all his saints-changing beyadecha, into

barach, he blessed, which word, all who understand the Hebrew

letters will see, might be easily mistaken for the other; the

daleth and the resh being, not only in MSS., but also in

printed books, often so much alike, that analogy alone can

determine which is the true letter; and except in the insertion of

the yod, which might have been easily mistaken for the apex at

the top of the beth very frequent in MSS., both words have the

nearest resemblance. To this may be added, that the Syriac

authorizes this rendering.

Instead of leraglecha, and middabberotheycha,

THY feet, and THY words, Dr. Kennicott reads the pronouns in the

third person singular, leraglaiv and

middabberothaiv, HIS feet, HIS words, in which he is supported

both by the Septuagint and Vulgate. He also changes yissa, HE

shall receive, into yisseu, THEY shall receive.

He contends also that Mosheh, Moses, in the fourth verse,

was written by mistake for the following word morashah,

inheritance; and when the scribe found he had inserted a wrong

word, he added the proper one, and did not erase the first. The

word Moses, he thinks, should therefore be left out of the text,

as it is improbable that he should here introduce his own name;

and that if the word be allowed to be legitimate, then the word

king must apply to him, and not to GOD, which would be most

absurd. See Kennicott's first Dissertation, p. 422, &c.

Verse 6. Let Reuben live, and not die] Though his life and his

blessings have been forfeited by his transgression with his

father's concubine, Ge 49:3, 4; and in his rebellion with Korah,

Nu 16:1-3, &c., let him not become extinct as a tribe in Israel.

"It is very usual," says Mr. Ainsworth, "in the Scripture, to set

down things of importance and earnestness, by affirmation of the

one part, and denial of the other; Isa 38:1:

Thou shalt die, and not live; Nu 4:19:

That they may live, and not die; Ps 118:17:

I shall not die, but live; Ge 43:8:

That we may live, and not die; Jer 20:14:

Cursed be the day-let not that day be blessed; 1Jo 2:4:

He is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 1Jo 2:27:

Is truth, and no lie; Joh 1:20:

He confessed, and denied not; 1Sa 1:11:

Remember me, and not forget thy handmaid; De 9:7:

Remember, forget not; De 32:6:

O foolish people, and unwise.

In all these places it is evident that there is a peculiar emphasis

in this form of expression, as if he had said, Let him not only not

die, but let him live in great and increasing peace and prosperity.

Do not only not forget me, but keep me continually in remembrance.

He denied not, but confessed FULLY and PARTICULARLY. O foolish

people-silly and stupid, and unwise-destitute of all true wisdom."

And let not his men be few.] It is possible that this clause

belongs to Simeon. In the Alexandrian copy of the Septuagint the

clause stands thus: καισυμεωνεστωπολυςεναριτμω, and let

SIMEON be very numerous, but none of the other versions insert the

word. As the negative particle is not in the Hebrew, but is

supplied in our translation, and the word Simeon is found in one

of the most ancient and most authentic copies of the Septuagint

version; and as Simeon is nowhere else mentioned here, if not

implied in this place, probably the clause anciently stood: Let

Reuben live, and not die; but let the men of Simeon be few. That

this tribe was small when compared with the rest, and with what it

once was, is evident enough from the first census, taken after

they came out of Egypt, and that in the plains of Moab nearly

forty years after. In the first, Simeon was 59,300; in the last,

22,200, a decrease of 37,100 men!

Verse 7. And this is the blessing of Judah] Though the word

blessing is not in the text, yet it may be implied from De 33:1;

but probably the words, he spake, are those which should be

supplied: And this he spake of Judah, Lord, hear the voice of

Judah; that is, says the Targum, receive his prayer when he goes

out to battle, and let him be brought back in safety to his own

people. Let his hands be sufficient for him-let him have a

sufficiency of warriors always to support the tribe, and vindicate

its rights; and let his enemies never be able to prevail against

him! Three things are expressed here: 1. That the tribe of Judah,

conscious of its weakness, shall depend on the Most High, and make

prayer and supplication to him; 2. That God will hear such prayer;

and, 3. That his hands shall be increased, and that he shall

prevail over his enemies. This blessing has a striking affinity

with that which this tribe received from Jacob, Ge 49:9; and both

may refer to our blessed Lord, who sprang from this tribe, as is

noticed on the above passage, who has conquered our deadly foes by

his death, and whose praying posterity ever prevail through his


Verse 8. Of Levi he said] Concerning the Urim and Thummim,

See Clarke on Ex 28:30.

Thy holy one] Aaron primarily, who was anointed the high priest

of God, and whose office was the most holy that man could be

invested with. Therefore Aaron was called God's holy one, and the

more especially so as he was the type of the MOST HOLY and blessed

Jesus, from whom the Urim-all light and wisdom, and Thummim-

all excellence, completion, and perfection, are derived.

Whom thou didst prove, &c.] God contended with Aaron as well as

with Moses at the waters of Meribah, and excluded him from the

promised land because he did not sanctify the Lord before the


From the words of St. Paul, 1Co 10:8-12, it is evident that

these words, at least in a secondary sense, belong to Christ. He

is the Holy One who was tempted by them at Massah, who suffered

their manners in the wilderness, who slew 23,000 of the most

incorrigible transgressors, and who brought them into the promised

land by his deputy, Joshua, whose name and that of Jesus have the

same signification.

Verse 9. Who said unto his father, &c.] There are several

difficulties in this and the following verses. Some think they

are spoken of the tribe of Levi; others, of all the tribes;

others, of the Messiah, &c.; but several of the interpretations

founded on these suppositions are too recondite, and should not be

resorted to till a plain literal sense is made out. I suppose the

whole to be primarily spoken of Aaron and the tribe of Levi. Let

us examine the words in this way, Who said unto his father, &c.

The law had strictly enjoined that if the father, mother, brother,

or child of the high priest should die, he must not mourn for

them, but act as if they were not his kindred; see Le 21:11, 12.

Neither must Aaron mourn for his sons Nadab and Abihu, &c., though

not only their death, but the circumstances of it, were the most

afflicting that could possibly affect a parent's heart. Besides,

the high priest was forbidden, on pain of death, to go out from

the door of the tabernacle, Le 10:2-7, for God would have them

more to regard their function (as good Mr. Ainsworth observes) and

duty in his service, than any natural affection whatever. And

herein Christ was figured, who, when he was told that his mother

and brethren stood without, and wished to speak with him, said:

"Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? whosoever shall do the

will of my father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and

sister, and mother;" Mt 12:46-50. It is likely also that Moses

may refer here to the fact of the Levites, according to the

command of Moses, killing every man his brother, friend,

neighbour, and even son, who had sinned in worshipping the golden

calf, Ex 32:26; and in this way the Chaldee paraphrast

understands the words.

Verse 10. They shall teach Jacob, &c.] This was the office of

the Levites, to teach, by their significant service and typical

ceremonies, the way of righteousness and truth to the children of

Israel. And of their faithfulness in this respect God bears

testimony by the prophet, "My covenant was with him of life and

peace," Mal 2:5; and, "The law of truth was in his mouth, and

iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and

equity, and did turn many away from iniquity;" Mal 2:6. These

words are a sufficient comment on the words of the text.

Verse 11. Bless, Lord, his substance] The blessing of God to

the tribe of Levi was peculiarly necessary, because they had no

inheritance among the children of Israel, and lived more

immediately than others upon the providence of GOD. Yet, as they

lived by the offerings of the people and the tithes, the increase

of their substance necessarily implied the increase of the people

at large: the more fruitful the land was, the more abundant would

the tithes of the Levites be; and thus in the increased fertility

of the land the substance of Levi would be blessed.

Verse 12. Of Benjamin-the beloved of the Lord] Alluding to his

being particularly beloved of his father Jacob, Ge 49:27, &c.

Shall dwell in safety by him] That is, by the Lord, whose

temple, which is considered as his dwelling-place, was in the

tribe of Benjamin, for a part of Jerusalem belonged to this tribe.

Shall cover him all the day] Be his continual protector; and he

shall dwell between his shoulders-within his coasts, or in his

chief city, viz., Jerusalem, where the temple of God was built, on

his mountains Zion and Moriah, here poetically termed his


Some object to our translation of the Hebrew yedid by the

term beloved, and think the original should be divided as it is in

the Samaritan, yad yad, the hand, even the hand of the Lord

shall dwell for safety or protection, alaiv, upon him. This

makes a good sense, and the reader may choose.

Verse 13. Blessed-be his land] The whole of this passage

certainly relates to the peculiar fertility of the soil in the

portion that fell to this tribe which, the Jews say, yielded a

greater abundance of all good things than any other part of the

promised land.

The precious things of heaven] The peculiar mildness and

salubrity of its atmosphere.

For the dew] A plentiful supply of which was a great blessing

in the dry soil of a hot climate.

The deep that coucheth beneath] Probably referring to the

plentiful supply of water which should be found in digging wells:

hence the Septuagint have αβυσσωνπηγων, fountains of the deeps.

Some suppose there has been a slight change made in the word

mittal, for the dew, which was probably at first meal, FROM

ABOVE, and then the passage would read thus: For the precious

things of heaven FROM ABOVE, and for the deep that coucheth

BENEATH. This reading is confirmed by several of Kennicott's and

De Rossi's MSS. The Syriac and Chaldee have both readings: The

dew of heaven from above.

Verse 14. The precious fruits brought forth by the sun] All

excellent and important productions of the earth, which come to

perfection once in the year. So the precious things put forth by

the moon may imply those vegetables which require but about a

month to bring them to perfection, or vegetables of which several

crops may be had in the course of a year.

Verse 15. The chief things of the ancient mountains]

umerosh harerey kedem, and from the head or top of the

ancient or eastern mountains, the precious things or

productions being still understood. And this probably refers to

the large trees, &c., growing on the mountain tops, and the springs

of water issuing from them. The mountains of Gilead may be here

intended, as they fell to the half tribe of Manasseh. And the

precious things of the lasting hills may signify the metals and

minerals which might be digged out of them.

Verse 16. The good will of him that dwelt in the bush] The

favour of him who appeared in the burning bush on Mount Sinai, who

there, in his good will-mere love and compassion, took Israel to

be his people; and who has preserved and will preserve, in

tribulation and distress, all those who trust in him, so that they

shall as surely escape unhurt, as the bush, though enveloped with

fire, was unburnt.

The top of the head, &c.] The same words are used by Jacob in

blessing this tribe, Ge 49:26. The meaning appears to be that

God should distinguish this tribe in a particular way, as Joseph

himself was separated, nazir, a Nazarite, a consecrated

prince to God, from among and in preference to all his brethren.

See Clarke on Ge 49:25, &c.

Verse 17. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock] This

similitude is very obscure. A bullock was the most excellent of

animals among the Jews, not only because of its acceptableness in

sacrifice to God, but because of its great usefulness in

agriculture. There is something peculiarly noble and dignified in

the appearance of the ox, and his greatest ornament are his fine

horns; these the inspired penman has particularly in view, as the

following clause proves; and it is well known that in Scriptural

language horns are the emblem of strength, glory, and sovereignty;

Ps 75:5,10; 89:17, 24; 112:9; Da 8:3, &c.; Lu 1:69; Re 17:3, &c.

His horns are like the horns of unicorns] reem, which

we translate unicorn, from the μονοκερως monokeros of the

Septuagint, signifies, according to Bochart, the mountain goat;

and according to others, the rhinoceros, a very large quadruped

with one great horn on his nose, from which circumstance his name

is derived. See the notes on Nu 23:22; 24:8.

Reem is in the singular number, and because the horns of a

unicorn, a one-horned animal, would have appeared absurd, our

translators, with an unfaithfulness not common to them, put the

word in the plural number.

To the ends of the earth] Of the land of Canaan, for Joshua

with his armies conquered all this land, and drove the ancient

inhabitants out before him.

They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, &c.] That is, The horns

signify the ten thousands of Ephraim, and the thousands of

Manasseh. Jacob prophesied, Ge 48:19,

that the younger should be greater than the elder; so here TENS

of thousands are given to Ephraim, and only thousands to Manasseh.

See the census, Nu 1:33-35.

Verse 18. Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out] That is, Thou

shalt be very prosperous in thy coasting voyages; for this tribe's

situation was favourable for traffic, having many sea-ports.

See Clarke on Ge 49:13.

And, Issachar, in thy tents.] That is, as Zebulun should be

prosperous in his shipping and traffic, so should Issachar be in

his tents-his agriculture and pasturage.

Verse 19. They shall call the people unto the mountain] By

their traffic with the Gentiles (for so I think ammim should

be understood here) they shall be the instruments in God's hands

of converting many to the true faith; so that instead of

sacrificing to idols, they should offer sacrifices of


They shall suck of the abundance of the seas] That is, grow

wealthy by merchandise.

And of treasures hid in the sand.] Jonathan ben Uzziel has

probably hit upon the true meaning of this difficult passage:

"From the sand," says he, "are produced looking-glasses and glass

in general; the treasures-the method of finding and working this,

was revealed to these tribes." Several ancient writers inform us

that there were havens in the coasts of the Zebulunites in which

the vitreous sand, or sand proper for making glass, was found.

See Strabo, lib. xvi.; see also Pliny, Hist. Nat. l. xxxvi., c. 26;

Tacitus, Hist. l. v., c. 7. The words of Tacitus are remarkable:

Et Belus amnis Judaico mari illabitur; circa ejus os lectae arenae

admixto nitro in vitrum excoquuntur. "The river Belus falls into

the Jewish sea, about whose mouth those sands, mixed with nitre,

are collected, out of which glass is formed," or which is melted

into glass. Some think that the celebrated shell-fish called

murex, out of which the precious purple dye was extracted, is here

intended by the treasure hid in the sand: this also Jonathan

introduces in this verse. And others think that it is a general

term for the advantages derived from navigation and commerce.

Verse 20. Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad] As deliverance out

of distress is termed enlarging, (see Ps 4:1,) this may refer to

God's deliverance of the tribe of Gad out of that distress

mentioned Ge 49:19, and to the enlargement obtained through means

of Jephthah, Jud 11:33, and probably also to the victories

obtained by Gad and Reuben over the Hagarites, 1Ch 5:18-20.

He dwelleth as a lion] Probably the epithet of lion or

lion-like was applied to this tribe from their fierce and warlike

disposition. And on this supposition, 1Ch 12:8, will appear to

be a sufficient comment: And of the Gadites there were-men of

might, men of war 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. Tearing the arm or shoulder

with the crown of the head seems simply to mean that no force

should be able to prevail over them, or stand against them; as the

arm or shoulder signifies dominion, and the crown of the head,

sovereign princes.

Verse 21. He provided the first part] That is, he chose for

himself a very excellent portion, viz., the land of Sihon and Og,

in which this tribe had requested to be settled by the lawgiver,

viz., Moses, from whom they requested this portion, Nu 32:1-5.

He came with the heads of the people] Notwithstanding this

portion fell unto them on the east side of Jordan, yet they

proceeded with the heads of the people, the chiefs of the other


To execute the justice of the Lord] To extirpate the old

inhabitants of the country, according to the decree and purpose of

the Lord. See on Num. xxxii.

Verse 22. Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.]

The Jewish interpreters observe that Bashan was a place much

frequented by lions, who issued thence into all parts to look for

prey. By this probably Moses intended to point out the strength

and prowess of this tribe, that it should extend its territories,

and live a sort of predatory life. It appears from Jos 19:47,

that the portion originally assigned to this tribe was not

sufficient for them; hence we find them going out to war against

Leshem and taking it, adding it to their territories, and calling

it by the name of the tribe. Jacob, in his prophetic blessing of

this tribe, represents it under the notion of a serpent in the

path, Ge 49:17. The character there, and that given here,

constitute the complete warrior-stratagem and courage.

See Clarke on Ge 49:17.

Verse 23. O Naphtali, satisfied with favour] Though this may

refer to the very great fertility of the country that fell to this

tribe, yet certainly something more is intended. Scarcely any of

the tribes was more particularly favoured by the wondrous mercy

and kindness of God, than this and the tribe of Zebulun. The

light of the glorious Gospel of Christ shone brightly here,

Mt 4:13, 15, 16.

Christ's chief residence was at Capernaum in this tribe,

Mt 9:1; Mr 2:1; and this city, through Christ's constant

residence, and the mighty miracles he wrought in it, is represented

as being exalted unto heaven, Mt 11:23. And it is generally

allowed that the apostles were principally of the tribe of

Naphtali, who were to possess the west and the south-to dispense

the Gospel through all the other tribes. The word yam, which

we here translate west, literally signifies the sea, and probably

refers to the sea of Gennesareth, which was in this tribe.

Verse 24. Let Asher be blessed with children] Let him have a

numerous posterity, continually increasing.

Let him be acceptable to his brethren] May he be in perfect

union and harmony with the other tribes.

Let him dip his foot in oil.] Let him have a fertile soil, and

an abundance of all the conveniences and comforts of life.

Verse 25. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass] Some suppose this

may refer to the iron and copper mines in their territory; but it

is more likely that it relates to their warlike disposition, as we

know that greaves, boots, shoes, &c., of iron, brass, and tin,

were used by ancient warriors. Goliath had greaves of brass on

his legs, 1Sa 17:6;

and the brazen-booted Greeks, χαλκοκνημιδεςαχαιοι, is one of the

epithets given by Homer to his heroes; see Iliad. lib. viii.,

ver. 41.

And as thy days, so shall thy strength be.] If we take this

clause as it appears here, we have at once an easy sense; and the

saying, I have no doubt, has comforted the souls of multitudes.

The meaning is obvious: "Whatever thy trials or difficulties may

be, I shall always give thee grace to support thee under and bring

thee through them." The original is only two words, the latter of

which has been translated in a great variety of ways,

ucheyameycha dobecha. Of the first term there can be no doubt, it

literally means, and as thy days; the second word, dobe,

occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible: the Septuagint have

rendered it by ισχυς, strength, and most of the versions have

followed them; but others have rendered it affliction, old age,

fame, weakness, &c., &c. It would be almost endless to follow

interpreters through their conjectures concerning its meaning. It

is allowed among learned men, that where a word occurs not as a

verb in the Hebrew Bible, its root may be legitimately sought in

the Arabic. He who controverts this position knows little of the

ground on which he stands. In this language the root is found;

[Arabic] daba signifies he rested, was quiet. This gives a very

good sense, and a very appropriate one; for as the borders of this

tribe lay on the vicinity of the Phoenicians, it was naturally to

be expected that they should be constantly exposed to irruptions,

pillage, &c.; but God, to give them confidence in his protection,

says, According to thy days-all circumstances and vicissitudes, so

shall thy REST be-while faithful to thy God no evil shall touch

thee; thy days shall increase, and thy quiet be lengthened out.

This is an unfailing promise of God: "I will keep him in perfect

peace whose mind is stayed upon me, because he trusteth in me;"

therefore "trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah

is everlasting strength;" Isa 26:4. Some derive it from [Arabic]

dabi, he abounded in riches; the interpretation then would be, As

thy days increase, so shall thy riches. This makes a very good

sense also. See Rosenmuller.

Moses, having now finished what God gave him to predict

concerning the twelve tribes, and what he was led in the fulness

of his heart to pray for in their behalf, addresses all the tribes

collectively under the names Jeshurun and Israel; and in an ode of

astonishing energy and elegance describes this wondrous people,

and their still more wonderful privileges. The reader will

observe that, though the latter part of this chapter appears in

the form of prose in our Bibles, yet it is written in hemistichs

or short metrical lines in the original, which is the form in

which all the Hebrew poetry is written; and as in other cases, so

in this, it would contribute much to the easy understanding of the

author's meaning, were the translation produced in lines

corresponding to those of the original.

Verse 26. There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun] We have

already seen the literal meaning of Jeshurun, De 32:15; but

besides its literal meaning, it seems to be used as an expression

of particular affection: hence Calmet understands it as a

diminutive of the word Israel. We know that τεκνοι, sons, in

the mouth of St. John, signifies much less than τεκνια, which,

properly translated, would be beloved children, a term which at

once shows the helplessness of the offspring, and the tender

affection of the parent. So Jeshurun may be understood here: and

hence the Septuagint seem to have apprehended the full force of

the word by translating it τουηγαπημενου, the beloved one, the

object of God's especial delight.

Israel's God, and God's Israel, have no fellows. What were all

the gods of the nations, even supposing they were real beings, in

comparison of the Almighty? And what nation under heaven could be

compared to the Israel of God? It was, however, from God's

excellence that they derived theirs.

Rideth upon the heaven, &c.] Unites heaven and earth in thy

defence and support, and comes with irresistible velocity to

succour and defend thee, and to discomfit thine adversaries.

Verse 27. The eternal God] elohey kedem, the

former God; HE who was of old. Not like the gods which were

lately come up. HE who ever was and ever will be; and HE who was,

is, and will be unchangeably holy, wise, just, and merciful.

See Clarke on Ge 21:33.

Everlasting arms] As the arm is the emblem of power, and of

power in a state of exertion, the words here state that an

unlimited and unconquerable power shall be eternally exerted in

the defence of God's Church, and in the behalf of all those who

trust in Him.

Thrust out the enemy] He will expel all the ancient

inhabitants, and put thee in possession of their land.

Verse 28. Israel then shall dwell-alone] This people shall not

be incorporated with any other people under heaven. A prophecy

which continues to be fulfilled to the very letter. Every attempt

to unite them with any other people has proved absolutely


The fountain of Jacob] His offspring, shall possess a most

fertile land; such was Palestine.

Verse 29. Happy art thou, &c.] ashrey. O the

happiness of Israel! it is ineffable, inconceivable, because they

are a people saved by the Lord-have such a salvation as it becomes

the infinite perfections of God to bestow; he is their help-their

never-failing strength, and the shield of that help-he defends

their defence, saves them and preserves them in the state of


Sword of thy excellency] Or whose sword-his all-conquering WORD,

is thine excellency, in its promises, threatenings, precepts, &c.,

&c. St. Paul, in his exhortation to the Christians at Ephesus, uses

the same metaphor, Take unto you the SWORD of the SPIRIT, which is

the WORD of GOD.

Thine enemies shall be found liars] Who said thou shouldst

never be able to gain the possession of this good land; for thou

shalt tread on-subdue, their high places-even their best fortified


THE blessings contained in this chapter belong also to the

spiritual Israel of God, who, according to the Divine promise,

shall have a complete victory over all their spiritual foes, shall

have all their inward enemies, the whole of the carnal mind,

destroyed, (for the blood of Jesus Christ, applied by the energy

of the eternal Spirit, shall not only blot out all their sin, but

purify their hearts from all unrighteousness;) and thus, being

delivered from their enemies, they shall love God with all their

heart, and serve him in righteousness and true holiness, without

fear before him all the days of their life. There are many

circumstances and expressions in this ode similar to several in

the prophetical blessing pronounced by Jacob on his twelve sons,

Gen. xlix., for the subject is the same in both chapters, the

reader is therefore requested to compare the two places, and to

consider the notes on each, as they have some tendency to cast

light on each other. Both these chapters constitute a part of

those Scriptures which, according to St. Paul, Ro 15:4, were

written for our learning; and, as to instruct the reader and make

him wise unto salvation was the gracious design of God, we should

particularly beg of him "that we may in such wise hear them, read,

mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, by patience and

comfort of his holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the

blessed hope of everlasting life which he has given us in our

Saviour Jesus Christ"-Collect for the second Sunday in Advent.

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