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Chapter 33:18-29 (ESV)

Posted on April 20, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 33:18-29 (ESV) - And of Zebulun he said,

“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
    and Issachar, in your tents.
They shall call peoples to their mountain;
    there they offer right sacrifices;
for they draw from the abundance of the seas
    and the hidden treasures of the sand.”

And of Gad he said,

“Blessed be he who enlarges Gad!
    Gad crouches like a lion;
    he tears off arm and scalp.
He chose the best of the land for himself,
    for there a commander's portion was reserved;
and he came with the heads of the people,
    with Israel he executed the justice of the LORD,
    and his judgments for Israel.”

And of Dan he said,

“Dan is a lion's cub
    that leaps from Bashan.”

And of Naphtali he said,

“O Naphtali, sated with favor,
    and full of the blessing of the LORD,
    possess the lake and the south.”

And of Asher he said,

“Most blessed of sons be Asher;
    let him be the favorite of his brothers,
    and let him dip his foot in oil.
Your bars shall be iron and bronze,
    and as your days, so shall your strength be.

“There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
    who rides through the heavens to your help,
    through the skies in his majesty.
The eternal God is your dwelling place,
    and underneath are the everlasting arms.
And he thrust out the enemy before you
    and said, ‘Destroy.’
So Israel lived in safety,
    Jacob lived alone,
in a land of grain and wine,
    whose heavens drop down dew.
Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
    a people saved by the LORD,
the shield of your help,
    and the sword of your triumph!
Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
    and you shall tread upon their backs.”

Question to consider: What does it mean that God is their eternal dwelling place and everlasting arms?

Continuing with his blessing to the tribes of Israel, Moses offers blessings of abundance to Zebulun from the sea (which mirrored that of Jacob). Zebulun was by the Sea of Galilee. Issachar was near them in that region, but they are mentioned with tents and finding hidden treasure in the sand which suggests that they would lead a nomadic existence. 

Gad would be a lion in that they offered up great armies to king David in his conquests. Dan was always an unfaithful tribe. They were the tribe that lagged behind the rest of Israel in the desert and were attacked by the Amalekites. They became a center for idol worship in Israel. The tribe of Dan is described as a lion's cub possibly for their immaturity in the faith. At one point they leapt from Bashan to Laish (Judges 18:27).

Naphtali was also in the region of Galilee and was blessed with abundance. Both Zebulun and Naphtali were regions around Capernaum where Jesus would spend most of His ministry and perform most of His miracles. This can be considered both good and bad. Those in this region were able to hear Jesus and see the miracles, but Jesus also spoke of the great judgment that would come upon Capernaum because they witnessed all these things and yet still hardened their hearts against Him.

I don’t know why Asher was so blessed. Jacob also blessed Asher and said that his tribe would be one of abundance and royal delicacies. I don’t know of any from Asher who are exemplified for their love of the LORD, but receiving material blessings does not always translate to something that has eternal value.

Moses closed out his words to Israel pointing them to the greatness of God and how wonderful it was to have the true God of heaven and earth wielding outstretched and everlasting arms to bless them and be their refuge and strength. There are a lot of people today who look at these promises and want to apply them to the modern state of Israel who have hardened their hearts against the Law of God. There is only One in Israel who still deserves these promises, and that is Jesus the Christ. The people who live in Israel may enter into His rest by receiving His righteousness by faith. Everyone else has fallen short of the Law, and the earthly temple became desolate and was destroyed. The only temple that exists for the atonement of sins is the heavenly temple in which Christ serves as our great high priest.


Dear heavenly Father, please let people have ears to hear and eyes to see the gift of righteousness You have given us through faith in Christ and know that all of Your promises have found their fulfillment in Him. Amen.