1. And this is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.
1. Haec autem benedictio qua benedixit Moses vir Dei filiis Israel in morte sua.
2. And. he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
2. Et dixit, Jehova e Sinai prodiit, et ortus est e Seir ipsis, illuxit e monte Pharam, et venit cum decem millibus sanctitatis: a dextra ejus ignea lex illis:
3. Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
3. Utique diligit populos, onmes sancti in manibus tuis, et ipsi adhaeserunt pedibus tuis, ut sumerent ex eloquiis tuis.
4. Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.
4. Legem praecepit nobis Moses in haereditatem coatus Israel.
5. And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.
5. Et fuit in Recto rex, in colligendis capitibus populi, simulque tribubus Israel.
6. Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.
6. Vivat Ruben, et non moriatur, et (vel, quamvis) sit parvus numero.
7. And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.
7. Hoc etiam Judae, et dixit, Audi Jehova vocem Jehuda, et ad populum suum duc eum, manus ejus sufficiat el, dum auxilio fueris contra hostes ejus.
8. And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;
8. Ad Levi vero dixit: Perfectiones tuae et splendores tui fuerunt viro misericordi tuo, quem tentasti in Masa: et contendere fecisti eum ad aquas Meriba.
9. Who said unto his father, and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept; thy covenant.
9. Qui dixit patri suo et matri suae, Non vidi eum: et fratres suos non agnovit, et filios suos non cognovit: nam custodierunt eloquium tuum, et pactum tuum servarunt.
10. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt-sacrifice upon thine altar.
10. Docebunt judicia tua ipsum Jacob, et legem tuam Israelem: ponent suffitum in nares tuas: et holocaustum super altare tuum.
11. Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.
11. Benedic Jehova substantiae ejus, et in opere manuum ejus complaceas tibi: transfige lumbos inimicorum ejus, et odio habentium eum: ne resurgant.
12. And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.
12. Ad Benjamin dixit, Dilectus Jehovae habitabit confidenter juxta illum, tegens illurn tota die, et inter humeros ejus habitabit.
13. And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
13. Ad Joseph vero dixit, Benedicta a Jehova terra ejus ab excellentia coeli, ob rorem, et ob voraginem cubantern deorsmn.
14. And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon.
14. Et ob praestantiam proventuum solis, et ob praestantiam fructuum lunae:
15. And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
15. Et ob praestantiam cacuminis montium antiquorum, et ob praestantiam collium perpetuorum.
16. And for the precious things of the earth, and fullness thereof, and for the good-will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.
16. Et ob prastantiam terrae, et ob plenitudinem ejus: et beneplacitum habitatoris rubi veniat super caput Joseph, et super verticem separati a fratribus suis.
17. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth; and they are, the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.
17. Primogeniti boris ejus decor erit ei, et cornua unicornis cornua ejus: ipsis populos cornupetes simul usque ad fines terrae. Atque haec sunt decem millia Ephraim, et ista millia Manasse.
18. And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.
18. Et ipsi Zebulon dixit, Laetare Zebulon quum egredieris, et Issachar in tabernaeulis tuis.
19. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.
19. Populos ad montem vocabunt: et illic sacrificabunt sacrificia justitiae, quoniam affluentiam maris sugent, et tecti thesauri arenae.
20. And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.
20. Et ad Gad dixit, Benedictus qui dilatare fecit Gad: sicut leo habitabit, et rapiet brachium atque verticem.
21. And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments with Israel.
21. Et vidit principium sibi, quod illic portio legislatoris tecta, veniet autem cum principibus populi: justitiam Jehovae faciet, et judicia ejus cum Israele.
22. And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.
22. Et ad Dan dixit, Dan ut catulus leonis saltabit e Basan.
23. And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord; possess thou the west and the south.
23. Et Nephthali dixit, O Nephthali satur beneplacito, et plene benedictione Jehovae, occidentem et meridiem posside.
24. And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.
24. Et Aser dixit, Benedictus prae filiis Aser, erit beneplacens fratribus suis, et tingens in oleo pedem suum.
25. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
25. Ferrnm et, aes, calceamenta tua (vel, ferae tuae): et sicut dies tui fortitudo tua.
26. There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
26. Non est similis Deo recti, qui equitat super coelos in auxilium tuum, et in magnificentia sua super nubes.
27. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee, and shall say, Destroy them.
27. Habitaculum est Deus aeternus: et subter brachia sempiterna, ejecit a facie tua inimicum, et dixit, Disperde.
28. Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
28. Et habitabit Israel confidenter solus (vel, suus) oculus Jacob: in terra frumenti et vini, etiam coeli ejus stillabunt rorem.
29. Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
29. Beatus es o Israel, quis similis tibi popule qui servaris in Jehova scuto auxilii tui, et gladio excellentiae tuae? humiliabuntur inimici tui, et tu super excelsa eorum calcabis.
In order to beget confidence in his benedictions, he commences by magnifying his vocation before he proceeds to them; for, although the word benediction is equivalent to a prayer for success, yet must it be borne in mind that Moses does not here pray in the ordinary manner, like a private person, in such a way as fathers are wont to offer supplications for their children; but that, in the spirit of prophecy, he sets forth the blessings which were to be expected from God. This, then, is the reason why he extols the dignity and glory of his office as ruler in such lofty terms, viz., that the twelve tribes of Israel may be thoroughly assured that God is the author of these blessings. For the same reason he calls himself "the man of God:" that the people may receive what he is about to say as if it. proceeded from God, whose undoubted minister he is. Nor is the circumstance of time without its weight -- "before his death," or, "in his death," which adds to the prophecy the force of a testament.
By "ten thousands of sanctity," 3 I do not understand, as many do, the faithful, but the angels, by whom God was accompanied as by a royal retinue; for God also commanded the ark to be placed between the Cherubim, in order to show that the heavenly hosts were around Him. So in Isaiah, (Isaiah 6:6,) the Seraphim surround His throne; and Daniel says that he saw "ten thousand times ten thousand," (Daniel 7:10;) thus designating an infinite multitude, as does Moses also by "ten thousand." It is probable that both Paul and Stephen derived from this passage their statement that the Law was "ordained by Angels in the hand of a mediator," (Galatians 3:19; Acts 7:53;) for its authority was greatly confirmed by its having so many witnesses (obsignatores.)
The Law is placed at His right hand, not only as a scepter or mark of dignity, but as His power or rule of government; for He did not merely show Himself as a king, but also made known how He would preside over them. 4 The Law is called fiery, in order to inspire terror and to enforce humility upon them all; although I am not adverse to the opinion that Moses alludes in this epithet to the outward signs of fire and flame, of which he spoke in Exodus 20. But, since the word
It must, however, be observed, that in proof of His love, it is presently added, that they were in the hand of God. Hence we infer that, from the time that God has embraced us with His favor, He is the sure guardian of our safety; whence also arises the firm assurance of eternal life. The change of person, from the third to the second, throws no obscurity on the meaning. Since many hypocrites were mixed up with the faithful -- for the Church of God has always been like a threshing-floor 7 -- Moses restricts this special grace of God to those who willingly submit themselves to Him, and with pious teachableness embrace this instruction, by which sign he distinguishes between the true children of God, and those spurious or degenerate ones, who falsely assume the name. Where my translation is, "They cleaved to thy feet," others render the words, "They were struck at thy feet," but in my judgment constrainedly. Others extract from it a useful piece of instruction, that "they were subdued by God's chastisements, so as to render Him obedience;" but the metaphor is rather taken from disciples, who, according to the common usage of the Hebrew language, are said to sit at their master's feet, in order to attend more diligently. And this is confirmed by the context, for the faithful are said to have attached themselves to God's feet, that they might receive of this words, i.e., profit by His instruction.
He begins with Reuben, the first-born, and so far removes or mitigates the ignominy of that condemnation wherewith he had been branded by his father Jacob, as only to stop short of restoring him to his place of honor. For the holy Patriarch had pronounced a severe sentence, namely, that Reuben should be "as unstable as water, and should not excel." (Genesis 49:4.) Lest, therefore, the whole of his posterity should be discouraged, or should be rejected by the other tribes, he abates the severity of his disinheritance, as if to pardon the condemned. In short, he assigns to the family of Reuben a place among the sons of Jacob, lest despair should drive them to headlong ruin. The second clause admits of two contrary meanings. Literally it is, "Let him be small in number;" and, in fact, this tribe was not of the more numerous ones. Since, however, it occupied a middle place, and surpassed several of the others, some repeat the negative, "Let him not die, nor let him be few in number." 8 But it appears more probable that an abatement is made from the rank to which his primogeniture entitled the family of Reuben, and thus that some remainder of dishonor was introduced into the promise of grace. And, in fact, not only the tribe of Judah, but those of Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphthali, surpassed it in size. Thus the qualification will be by no means inappropriate, that, although Reuben was to be reckoned among the people of God, still he should not altogether recover his dignity.
It might at first sight appear inconsistent that some abatement should be made from the splendid and abundant blessings which had been promised to the tribe of Judah. This, however, is by no means the case; for the inviolable decree respecting the supremacy of Judah is not thus altered; but Moses merely reminds them how difficult of accomplishment it would be. Jacob had declared, as if speaking of a peaceful dominion, that his "brethren should praise" him, that his "father's children should bow down before" him; that "the scepter should not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet," (Genesis 49:8, 10;) but, inasmuch as this dignity lay dormant for a long time, and it was necessary that it should contend with many tedious obstacles before it finally manifested itself, Moses consequently speaks in more limited terms. Still, he seems to have referred not merely to the earlier period, but to the various calamities whereby the kingdom of David was not only apparently diminished, but destroyed; and especially to the melancholy interruption of it which arose from the Babylonish captivity. The sum is, that the prosperity of which Jacob prophesied was not to be so conspicuous in the tribe of Judah, as that all things were to be expected to be joyous and successful, but rather that those, to whom the supreme power as well as wealth was promised, would be exposed to many evils, so that they should be reduced to extremities, and be greatly in want of the help of God. He therefore betakes himself to prayer, and by his example admonishes not that tribe only, but the others also, to implore the faithfulness of God in their overwhelming difficulties. And this lesson applies to ourselves also, in order that we may be the more aroused to prayer and supplication, the more Satan is urgent for the destruction of Christ's kingdom. At the same time, what I have stated must be observed, namely, that the promise remains firm, since it is not in vain that Moses places all the tribes under the dominion of Judah, when he petitions that he may be brought unto his people, nor promises in vain that God will be at hand to help him, so that he may prevail against his enemies.
"Simeon and Levi are brethren: instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, my tongue, 10 be not thou united,"
(Genesis 49:5, 6.)
Assuredly their descendants might have been discouraged, or at least might have been regarded contemptuously, when a patriarch, and the founder of their race, had thus abominated them. God, however, afterwards consecrated this tribe to Himself, so that their sanctity might be communicated to the other tribes; which could not be the case unless their previous opprobrium were removed.
But if any contentious person had objected to this blessing, as if Moses were too much disposed to favor his own tribe, such a suspicion could not justly be harbored against him; first, because he, who now makes such honorable mention of the tribe of Levi, was also the proclaimer of their ignominy; and on many other occasions had not spared his own family, but, whenever it was requisite, had freely inveighed against their vices; and, secondly, he now commends nothing in the Levites except the new dignity, which it had pleased God to confer upon them. On this point, indeed, he ought to have been least of all suspected, inasmuch as he had degraded his own sons, and had exalted the posterity of Aaron alone to the highest place of honor. Now, therefore, he has no other object but that the dignity of the priesthood should not be depreciated on account of the sins of men, and thus their religion itself be despised. For we all know how disposed people are to lay charges against the persons of men which may derogate from the sacredness of their office. Assuredly, if Levi had not been purged from that disgrace which he had incurred, the priesthood would have been altogether deprived of reverence; and thus God's worship would have been very lightly esteemed. Now, however, when God sanctifies this family to himself, he, as it were, restores it entirely; and hence it is apparent that its punishment was only temporary, since Moses had no intention of retracting what the Spirit had dictated to holy Jacob. Nor does he, indeed, advance anything of himself; but the same Spirit removes the ignominy, which might have disgraced the tribe of Levi, inasmuch as it had only been imposed upon it for a time. We have already seen elsewhere that what Jacob prophesied respecting the dispersion of this family, resulted in its honor; since God posted the Levites in all directions like sentinels, that through their means purity of doctrine might be fostered amongst the whole people. They were, therefore, scattered in such a manner as that their punishment might be productive of benefit. We must, therefore, conclude, that Moses spoke not to gratify his brethren, but made honorable mention of the priesthood, lest those, whom God had chosen as this ministers, should be treated with contempt. And, doubtless, the subsequent grace of their calling should have blotted out the recollection of their previous infamy. Thus Christ, when He would restore Peter to the office of an apostle, cancels his triple denial, by thrice setting him over His sheep. (John 21:17.)
The address, which follows, must be applied to God; for some translate it improperly, "The Urim and Thummim shall be with thee," as if Moses were addressing the tribe of Levi. In order, therefore, to avoid ambiguity, it will be well to translate it of Levi, rather than to Levi; and
Although in Hebrew the words Urim and Thummim 11 are here used, which were principal parts of the sacred Ephod, I have not hesitated to translate them as common nouns: for it is unquestionable that by these symbols were denoted, the knowledge of the Law which is the only light of our souls, and integrity of life. The sum, however, is that the honor of the priesthood was deposited with Aaron, whom he calls
What follows, viz., that God tried him at Massah, I conceive to be added by way of exception; for I have no doubt but that Moses magnifies God's mercy by this allusion, in that He had dignified Aaron with so great an honor, notwithstanding his having been overcome by impatience, and having fallen. Still it must be remarked that, in reference to the people, the zeal of Aaron is recorded as praiseworthy; as much as to say, that the sin of Aaron flowed from the fountain of virtue, since it was from holy indignation that he fell into the passion of impatience, when he could not endure that the people should rebel against God. Unless perhaps it be preferred to understand these words by way of apostrophe to the people, "Thou didst try, thou didst provoke him to contention, or didst quarrel with him." But the context will run better, if we understand that God then had a controversy with Aaron; inasmuch as, although overcome by the trial, he still gave no despicable proof of his piety, and from that time forward did not cease to execute his office with sedulity.
Moses afterwards, by using the plural number, embraces the whole Levitical order; and hence we may infer that what had preceded is not to be confined in its application to a single individual. But when he says that they "guarded (custodisse) the word of God, and kept his covenant," he does not refer to mere ordinary obedience, but to the peculiar care of preserving that which was intrusted to their charge. It is true that in like manner all believers are said to keep the Law, when they zealously devote themselves to live a holy life; but special allusion is here made to the office of teaching. The Levites, therefore, are called guardians of the Law, and keepers of it, as being
"My covenant (he says) was with Levi of life and peace;.... for the law of truth was in his mouth, and the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth, but ye have corrupted my covenant," (Malachi 2:5, 6, 7, 8.)
Let us learn, then, from this passage, that whosoever claims for himself the primacy in the Church must be repudiated, unless he manifests himself to be a faithful teacher.
The third part of the priest's office follows, viz., that he should apply himself to the performance of the religious services; for God had disencumbered them from the labors of agriculture and other earthly business, that they might be more entirely at liberty for the duties of teaching and sacrifice; and, although this latter might appear to be but an humble occupation, still, if we regard it aright, it was no common honor that they should be mediators and intercessors for the reconciliation of the people to God; for even the very least of the Levites had something to do with making atonement.
Under the words "incense and whole burnt-sacrifice," the entire legal service is comprehended; and the incense is said to be put before the nose of God; 13 because the odor of this offering was grateful, and, as it were, sweet-smelling to Him, as we have elsewhere seen.
What follows, that "the work of his hands may be acceptable to God," may be either explained generally of the labor which is bestowed for the purpose of obtaining food, or of the service and ministry of the tabernacle; but, inasmuch as God engaged the Levites in sacred occupations, it seems indirectly to promise them that such exercises would be no less profitable to them than as if they were altogether occupied in the pursuit of gain. It was allowable for the rest to employ their industry for the advancement of their domestic interests, whilst the Levites, in order properly to perform their duties, were obliged to neglect their private affairs. Lest, then, they should be afraid of destitution, Moses reminds them that they might expect from God an earthly reward also for their spiritual labors.
The third point appears to be purposely introduced, that "God would smite through or transfix their enemies," because pious teachers are very much exposed to envy, and ill-will, and persecution; for the complaint which is made by Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 15:10,) that he was "a man of strife," is applicable to all the prophets and ministers of God; since the world can hardly bear its affections to be slain by the spiritual sword of God's word, and hence many contentions arise. Besides, Satan, in order to render their: doctrine contemptible, does not cease to harass them by whatever means he can, and to arm his bands to war against them; so that the pastors of the Church have need of God's special aid. This point, then, is peculiarly worthy of observation that, although many adversaries always threaten God's servants, besiege them, provoke them to conflict, in a word, are always plotting their destruction, still God's succor will be at hand, whereby they may be rendered invincible; as it was said to Jeremiah,
"They shall fight against thee,
but they shall not prevail against thee." (Jeremiah 1:19.)
The words I have translated "lest they rise again," others render "lest they rise against them;" and, although I do not reject this, still it seems to be less appropriate; for Moses did not wish to exempt the Levites from the annoyances of combat, but only to promise them victory, inasmuch as God would overwhelm and destroy their enemies. 15
In the next verse he extends generally to the whole land what he had said of the mountains.
Those are wide of the meaning of Moses, who translate what follows: "On account of the good-will of the dweller in the bush the blessing shall come;" and his rendering is altogether barbarous who gives it, "On account of the piety," etc. My opinion is that the word
God is called "the dweller in the bush" by periphrasis, with reference to the vision which was presented to Moses on Mount Sinai; for God then appeared a second time as the Redeemer and Father of His people; after having made His covenant with Abraham and Jacob. And this serves by way of confirmation; as if it were said, that the same God who had formerly blessed Joseph by the mouth of His servant Jacob, now repeated the same prophecy, in order to give fuller assurance of its truth.
At the end of the verse (as I have before stated,) he declares that what he had prophesied of Joseph should be common to the two families of Ephraim and Manasseh. At the same time he confirms the declaration of Jacob, whereby he had preferred Ephraim the younger to the elder. Manasseh, therefore, only reckons his thousands, but Ephraim his tell thousands, a proof of which fact God had given in the census which has been already recorded, in which the tribe of Ephraim was found to be the more numerous.
What follows I suppose to be added, as though Moses had said that their distant location should not prevent them from going up with the others to Jerusalem, for the purpose of performing their religious duties. For in that they were farther removed from the temple, their zeal in the legal service might have grown cold. Although, then, they dwelt in the utmost borders of the land, Moses says that they should nevertheless come to offer sacrifices to God. By the peoples some understand the other tribes, which does not appear at all consistent; and others, foreign nations, to which their commercial intercourse gave them access. My interpretation, however, is simply that, although the length of the journey should invite them to remain at home, still they should mutually exhort each other to betake themselves in large companies to the temple. The end of the verse may be the statement of a reason for this, as if it were said, that they will be more attentive to the service of God, because, being enriched by him, they will be desirous to offer Him the praise. And assuredly it is a sign of gross ingratitude, when we are not stimulated by God's blessings to strive more earnestly to render thanks to him, in proportion as he deals more liberally with us. At the same time, Moses shows that, in consideration of their great wealth, the expenses of the journey would be by no means onerous to them; for, although their country was not very fertile, still its position was most advantageous for the acquirement of riches. Thus when it is here said, "they shall suck of the abundance of the seas," an antithesis is to be understood between the fruits of the earth and the abundant revenues derived from merchandise. To the same effect, "the treasures hid in the sand" are spoken of. For the exposition given by some, that their treasures should be so great as that they should hide them in the sand; and by others, that the sands should there be so prolific in silver and gold; and by others, that they should collect what the sea should throw up, is poor and vapid. Whereas, therefore, others should grow rich from their lands, Moses says, by an elegant figure, that the sands of Zebulun should be filled with hidden treasures, on account of their foreign traffic.
The other clause of the verse is added by way of qualification; for Moses shows that this advantageous provision was made for the children of Gad, on condition that they should accompany the other tribes, and not return home until the land of Canaan was at peace, and their enemies subdued. And we have already seen that, when they sought for themselves this location outside the land, in the kingdom of the Amorites, they were severely rebuked by Moses, until they promised that they would share the war with their brethren until its conclusion. This is what Moses means by "executing the justice of God, and his judgments with Israel;" not only because it was but just that they should share the war with their brethren, and assist them in obtaining possession of the land, but because God ordained that His just vengeance should be executed upon those heathen and wicked nations by the whole of Israel, and had chosen all the tribes generally to be the ministers of His judgment; as it is said, in Psalm 149:7, 8, 9, that they were charged "to execute vengeance upon the heathen, . . to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written;" for it was no common honor to be appointed to be, as it were, the judges of the ungodly, so as to destroy them all, and thus to purify the land.
"Out of Asher shall bread be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties." (Genesis 49:20.)
He adds that "Asher shall be acceptable to his brethren;" from whence we gather that his tribe should be of a placid disposition: and afterwards figuratively celebrates the abundance of his oil, and iron, and brass. For to "dip his foot in oil," is as much as to say that he should collect an abundant supply of oil; and that "his shoes should be iron and brass," is nothing more than that he should tread upon a soil full of these metals. It is to be readily inferred from hence, as from preceding passages, that the blessings, which are now mentioned, are not so much wishes or prayers, as prophecies; since without the spirit of prophecy Moses could never have divined what, or what sort of, territory was to be bestowed on the several tribes.
Commentators vary as to the latter words; for some render the word
He adduces experimental evidence of the above statements, inasmuch as God had 24 miraculously destroyed the enemies of His people; at the same time he specifies the manner in which this was done, viz., that He had said, Destroy, or blot out, or dissipate. And by this word he signifies that, although God had made use of the agency of the Israelites, still He only was the conqueror; since the Israelites prevailed not except at His bidding, and by His will.
For "the fountain of Jacob," some have the word eye, 26 and suppose it to be used metaphorically for his vision; as though it were said, that the quiet and peaceful habitation referred to was to be expected by the people from the vision of their father Jacob. Others, however, more correctly read the words "fountain of Jacob," in apposition (with Israel,) inasmuch as all the tribes derived their origin from that one father. In this way the "fountain" will not be only the actual source; but the rivulet, or stream, which flows down from it.
In conclusion, Moses promises that the very sky of the Holy Land should be propitious, and benignant.
1 "Ceste benediction a este comme du suere," etc.; this blessing was like sugar, etc. -- Fr.
2 Lat., "Went from Sinai."
3 A. V.," Ten thousands of saints. Ainsworth: "Heb., of sanctity; meaning, spirits of sanctity; which Jonathan in his Thargum expoundeth holy angels: -- so we by grace in Christ are come to ten thousands of angels. Hebrews 12:22."
4 "Comme il vouloit presider, et estre honore de son peuple;" how He would preside, and be honored by this people. -- Fr.
5 Lat., "the peoples."
6 A. V., "yea."
7 In the Fr. this expression is thus explained, -- "ou les grains de ble sont cachez sous la paille;" where the grains of wheat are hidden beneath the straw.
8 A. V., "and let not his men be few.
9 And this also of Judah.
11 C.'s criticism will be better understood here by giving his version in English:
Ver. 8., "But to Levi he said, Thy perfections and splendours were to Thy merciful man, whom Thou didst try in Massah, and madest him to contend at the waters of Meribah."
12 A. V., "Holy one." It cannot be reasonably said that this word is not used for holy, as well as for merciful. -- W.
13 Margin, A. V., "Heb. at thy nose."
14 A. V., "poor." C.'s memory seems here to have failed him, and to have imported the word "priests" from the following verse.
15 Addition in Fr.,"voire en sorte qu'ils demeurerent couchez tous plats;" that is to say, in such sort as they should remain altogether east down.
16 A. V., "by God."
17 It is, nevertheless, the exposition of the great majority of commentators, who suppose that by shoulders are figuratively meant mountains, or coasts.
19 Lat., "And he saw the beginning (principium) for himself," etc. Heb.
23 This sentence is omitted in the Latin edition of 1563 though given in substance in the French of 1564.
24 It will be seen that C. translates the verbs here in the past tense; A. V. in the future: "he shall thrust out, etc."
25 Lat., "Israel hath dwelt," etc.