Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 33:26 - 33:26

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 33:26 - 33:26

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The conclusion of the blessing corresponds to the introduction. As Moses commenced with the glorious fact of the founding of the kingdom of Jehovah in Israel, as the firm foundation of the salvation of His people, so he also concludes with a reference to the Lord their eternal refuge, and with a congratulation of Israel which could find refuge in such a God.

Deu 33:26-27

“Who is as God, a righteous nation, who rides in heaven to thy help, and in His exaltation upon the clouds. Abiding is the God of olden time, and beneath are everlasting arms: and He drives the enemy before thee, and says, Destroy.” The meaning is: No other nation has a God who rules in heaven with almighty power, and is a refuge and help to his people against every foe. Jeshurun is a vocative, and the alteration of כָּאֵל into כְּאֵל, “as the God of Jeshurun,” according to the ancient versions, is to be rejected on the simple ground that the expression “in thy help,” which follows immediately afterwards, is an address to Israel. Riding upon the heaven and the clouds is a figure used to denote the unlimited omnipotence with which God rules the world out of heaven, and is the helper of His people. “In thy help,” i.e., as thy helper. This God is a dwelling to His people. מְעֹנָה, like the masculine מָעֹון in Psa 90:1, and Psa 91:9, signifies “dwelling,” - a genuine Mosaic figure, to which, in all probability, the houseless wandering of the people in the desert, which made them feel the full worth of a dwelling, first gave rise. The figure not only implies that God grants protection and a refuge to His people in the storms of life (Psa 91:1-2, cf. Isa 4:6), but also that He supplies His people with everything that can afford a safe abode. “The God of old,” i.e., who has proved Himself to be God from the very beginning of the world (vid., Psa 90:1; Hab 1:12). The expression “underneath” is to be explained from the antithesis to the heaven where God is enthroned above mankind. He who is enthroned in heaven above is also the God who is with His people upon the earth below, and holds and bars them in His arms. “Everlasting arms” are arms whose strength is never exhausted. There is no need to supply “thee” after “underneath;” the expression should rather be left in its general form, “upon the earth beneath.” The reference to Israel is obvious from the context. The driving of the enemy before Israel is not to be restricted to the rooting out of the Canaanites, but applies to every enemy of the congregation of the Lord.

Deu 33:28

“And Israel dwells safely, alone the fountain of Jacob, in a land full of corn and wine; his heavens also drop down dew.” Because the God of old was the dwelling and help of Israel, it dwelt safely and separate from the other nations, in a land abounding with corn and wine. “The fountain of Jacob” is parallel to “Israel;” “alone (separate) dwells the fountain of Jacob.” This title is given to Israel as having sprung from the patriarch Jacob, in whom it had its source. A similar expression occurs in Psa 68:27. It completely destroys the symmetry of the clauses of the verse to connect the words, as Luther does, with what follows, in the sense of “the eye of Jacob is directed upon a land.” The construction of שָׁכַן with אֶל, to dwell into a land, may be explained on the ground that the dwelling involves the idea of spreading out over the land. On the “land of corn,” etc., see Deu 8:7 and Deu 8:8. אַף is emphatic: yea his heaven, i.e., the heaven of this land drops down dew (vid., Gen 27:28). Israel was to be congratulated upon this.

Deu 33:29

“Hail to thee, O Israel! who is like thee, a people saved in the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who (is) the sword of thine eminence. Thine enemies will deny themselves to thee, and thou ridest upon their heights.” “Saved;” not merely delivered from danger and distress, but in general endowed with salvation (like Zec 9:9; see also Isa 45:17). The salvation of Israel rested in the Lord, as the ground out of which it grew, from which it descended, because the Lord was its help and shield, as He had already promised Abraham (Gen 15:1), and “the sword of his eminence,” i.e., the sword which had fought for the eminence of Israel. But because the Lord was Israel's shield and sword, or, so to speak, both an offensive and defensive weapon, his enemies denied themselves to him, i.e., feigned friendship, did not venture to appear openly as enemies (for the meaning “feign,” act the hypocrite, see Psa 18:45; Psa 81:16). But Israel would ride upon their heights, the high places of their land, i.e., would triumph over all its foes (see at Deu 32:13).