Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 33:13 - 33:13

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 33:13 - 33:13


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Joseph. - Deu 33:13. “Blessed of the Lord be his land, of (in) the most precious things of heaven, the dew, and of the flood which lies beneath, (Deu 33:14) and of the most precious of the produce of the sun, and of the most precious of the growth of the moons, (Deu 33:15) and of the head of the mountains of olden time, and of the most precious thing of the everlasting hills, (Deu 33:16) and of the most precious thing of the earth, and of its fulness, and the good-will of Him that dwelt in the bush: let it come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the crown of him that is illustrious among his brethren.” What Jacob desired and solicited for his son Joseph, Moses also desires for this tribe, namely, the greatest possible abundance of earthly blessing, and a vigorous manifestation of power in conflict with the nations. But however unmistakeable may be the connection between these words and the blessing of Jacob (Gen 49:22.), not only in the things desired, but even in particular expression, there is an important difference which equally strikes us, namely, that in the case of Jacob the main point of the blessing is the growth of Joseph into a powerful tribe, whereas with Moses it is the development of power on the part of this tribe in the land of its inheritance, in perfect harmony with the different times at which the blessings were pronounced. Jacob described the growth of Joseph under the figure of the luxuriant branch of a fruit-tree planted by the water; whilst Moses fixes his eye primarily upon the land of Joseph, and desires for him the richest productions. “May his land be blessed by Jehovah from (מִן of the cause of the blessing, whose author was Jehovah; vid., Psa 28:7; Psa 104:3) the most precious thing of the heaven.” מֶגֶד, which only occurs again in the Son 4:13, Son 4:16, and Son 7:13, is applied to precious fruits. The most precious fruit which the heaven yields to the land is the dew. The “productions of the sun,” and גֶּרֶשׁ, ἅπ. λεγ. from גָּרַשׁ, “the produce of the moons,” are the fruits of the earth, which are matured by the influence of the sun and moon, by their light, their warmth. At the same time, we can hardly so distinguish the one from the other as to understand by the former the fruits which ripen only once a year, and by the latter those which grow several times and in difference months; and Eze 47:12 and Rev 22:2 cannot be adduced as proofs of this. The plural “moons” in parallelism with the sun does not mean months, as in Exo 2:2, but the different phases which the moon shows in its revolution round the earth. מֵרֹאשׁ (from the head), in Deu 33:15, is a contracted expression signifying “from the most precious things of the head.” The most precious things of the head of the mountains of old and the eternal hills, are the crops and forests with which the tops of the mountains and hills are covered. Moses sums up the whole in the words, “the earth, and the fulness thereof:” everything in the form of costly good that the earth and its productions can supply. - To the blessings of the heaven and earth there are to be added the good-will of the Lord, who appeared to Moses in the thorn-bush to redeem His people out of the bondage and oppression of Egypt and bring it into the land of Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey (Exo 3:2.). The expression “that dwells in the bush” is to be explained from the significance of this manifestation of God as shown at Ex 3, which shadowed forth a permanent relation between the Lord and His people. The spiritual blessing of the covenant grace is very suitably added to the blessings of nature; and there is something no less suitable in the way in which the construction commencing with וּרְצֹון is dropped, so that an anakolouthon ensues. This word cannot be taken as an accusative of more precise definition, as Schultz supposes; nor is מִן to be supplied before it, as Knobel suggests. Grammatically considered, it is a nominative to which the verb תָּבֹואתָה properly belongs, although, as a matter of fact, not only the good-will, but the natural blessings, of the Lord were also to come upon the head of Joseph. Consequently we have not יָבֹוא (masc.), which רָצֹון would require, but the lengthened poetical feminine form תָּבֹואתָה (vid., Ewald, §191, c.), used in a neuter sense. It, i.e., everything mentioned before, shall come upon Joseph. On the expression, “illustrious among his brethren,” see at Gen 49:26. In the strength of this blessing, the tribe of Joseph would attain to such a development of power, that it would be able to tread down all nations.