Charles Simeon Commentary - Deuteronomy 33:12 - 33:12

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Deuteronomy 33:12 - 33:12

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Deu_33:12. 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.

AS God was pleased to communicate to some in former ages the knowledge of future events, so he frequently imparted to them the spirit of prophecy in a more abundant measure, about the time of their death. Thus Isaac and Jacob were peculiarly inspired at that season to foretell the things which should befall their children. Thus Moses also, when about to be gathered to his fathers, was commissioned to declare the states and circumstances of all the different tribes after their entrance into Canaan. Of Benjamin he foretold, that his tribe should be situated close to the place which God had chosen for himself [Note: This was remarkably fulfilled: for Mount Zion, whereon the temple was built, belonged to Judah: but the remainder of Jerusalem. and almost the whole of Mount Moriah (of which Mount Zion was a part) belonged to Benjamin: so literally true was it, that God. the head of all the tribes, “dwelt between the shoulders of Benjamin.” And this very circumstance occasioned the tribe of Benjamin to adhere to Judah, when the other ten tribes, under Jeroboam, apostatized from the worship of Jehovah.]; and that his proximity to the Lord’s immediate residence should be to him a source and occasion of the richest benefits.

If it be considered how comprehensive many of the prophecies are, and how the Apostles themselves continually apply them to the general circumstances of the Church of Christ, we shall not be thought to put a force upon the text, while we take occasion from it to set forth,

I.       The state of God’s people—

The situation of the tribe of Benjamin may serve at least as an emblem to represent the state of “God’s beloved.” They are “a people near unto God [Note: Psa_148:14.],” “dwelling by him, and covered by him, all the day long.”

1.       They maintain a sense of the divine presence—

[They not only cannot, like the generality, live “without God in the world,” or rest, as many professors of religion do. in a round of formal duties; they are sensible that “God searcheth the heart and trieth the reins.” They long to have a conviction of this fastened upon their minds, and to see, as it were, on every place this inscription written, “Thou, God, seest me.” They do not harbour secret sin because it is invisible to man; but, assured that “the darkness is no darkness with God,” and that he beholds the very counsels of the heart, they strive to “set him ever before them;” and to “walk in his fear all the day long.”]

2.       They walk in dependence on the divine aid—

[They are scarcely more conscious of their own existence, than they are of their utter insufficiency for any thing that is good. They have so often failed through their reliance on their own strength, and they feel such a proneness to every species of iniquity, if left one moment to themselves, that they are compelled to cry to their God for help. And, if they were not sure that “the grace of Christ is sufficient” for all who trust in it, they would utterly despair of holding out unto the end. Hence their continual prayer is, “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe:” and God imparts to them his promised assistance [Note: Zec_10:12; Isa_26:3.].]

3.       They delight in doing the divine will—

[The “commandments of God are not grievous” to them. Their only grief is, that they do not obey them with greater readiness and joy. Not but that they often find the workings of an evil principle, that would bring them back again into captivity to sin and Satan: but, through the operation of the blessed Spirit, they are enabled to get the victory over their corrupt nature, and both to obey the law outwardly, and to “delight in it after their inward man [Note: Rom_7:14-25.].” They would gladly do the will of God on earth, as it is done in heaven, without reluctance, without weariness, and without reserve.]

There doubtless is a great difference between the attainments of different saints: yet this is, on the whole, the state of all; and that they are blessed in it will appear by considering,

II.      The privileges they enjoy by means of it—

While the saints thus live nigh to God, God “keeps them in safety,” and covers them,

1.       From the curse of the law—

[We might speak of their deliverance even from temporal evils: since they have none which are not sanctified to their souls, and made blessings in disguise [Note: Job_5:19-24.]. But respecting spiritual evils we are warranted to speak with the fullest confidence. The saints may, it is true, be left to dread the wrath of God [Note: Psa_77:7-9.]: but it shall never come upon them [Note: Rom_8:1.]. While they are endeavouring to walk in communion with God, in dependence on him, and obedience to him, they hare nothing to fear. God has pledged himself, that they shall never perish [Note: Isa_55:7; Joh_10:27-28.].]

2.       From the assaults of Satan—

[Satan will indeed exert all his power to destroy them; but he shall not finally prevail against them. He may “buffet them,” and cast “his fiery darts” at them; but he is a vanquished enemy; and shall, ere long, be bruised under the feet of even the weakest saints [Note: Psa_91:1-3; Jam_4:7; Rom_16:20.]. Like the kings whom Joshua subdued, all the powers of hell shall one day be brought out of their dungeons, to receive, from the very lips of those whom now they persecute, the sentence they so justly merit [Note: 1Co_6:3.].]

3.       From the power and prevalence of sin—

[Notwithstanding “the law of sin in their members,” God’s promise to all his people is, that “sin shall not have dominion over them [Note: Rom_6:14.].” As by the operation of fire on the hearth we may see what it would effect, if suffered to extend itself over the whole house, so by the working of sin in our hearts we may clearly see, to what a state we should quickly De reduced, if God should suffer it to rage with all its force. But he fulfils his word: and though thousands of times we have been, as it were, on the very brink of falling, God has interposed by his providence or grace to preserve our souls: and we remain to this day living monuments of his almighty power, and unchanging faithfulness.]


1.       Let us seek to become “the beloved of the Lord”—

[We account it no small happiness to be beloved of our fellow-creatures; but how much more to be beloved of the Lord! Whose favour is comparable to his? whose so honourable, so permanent, so beneficial [Note: Psa_63:3.]? Let us then go to him in the name of Jesus; for whose sake we shall be admitted to his favour [Note: Joh_14:21.], and be “blessed by him with all spiritual blessings.”]

2.       Let us endeavour to live more and more near to God—

[It is our privilege to dwell in God, and to have God dwelling in us. We might “walk with God,” as Enoch did, and though not visibly, yet really, converse with him as our friend [Note: 1Jn_1:3.]. And what greater encouragement can we desire, than that which the text affords? Others may fall; but we shall be “covered, and kept in safety [Note: Isa_54:17.]:” others may apostatize to their perdition; but we shall be preserved through faith unto everlasting salvation [Note: 1Pe_1:5.].]