Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Deuteronomy
Book: Deuteronomy
Chapter: 33

The glorious majesty of God. (1-5) The blessings of the twelve
tribes. (6-23) Strength to believers. (24,25) The excellency of
Israel. (26-29)

1-5 To all his precepts, warnings, and prophecies, Moses added
a solemn blessing. He begins with a description of the glorious
appearances of God, in giving the Law. His Law Works like Fire.
If received, it is melting, warming, purifying, and burns up the
Dross of corruption; if rejected, it hardens, sears, pains, and
destroys. The Holy Spirit came down in cloven Tongues, as of
Fire; for the Gospel also is a fiery Law. The Law of God written
in the Heart, is a certain proof of the Love of God shed abroad
there: we must reckon His Law one of the Gifts of his Grace.

6-23 The order in which the tribes are here blessed, is not the
same as is observed elsewhere. The blessing of Judah may refer
to the whole Tribe in general, or to David as a Type of Christ.
Moses largely blesses the Tribe of Levi. Acceptance with God is
what we should all aim at, and desire, in all our devotions,
whether men accept us or not, 2Co 5:9. This Prayer is a
Prophecy, that God will keep up a ministry in his Church to the
End of time. The Tribe of Benjamin had their inheritance close
to Mount Zion. To be situated near the ordinances, is a precious
Gift from the Lord, a privilege not to be exchanged for any
worldly advantage, or indulgence. We should thankfully receive
the earthly blessings sent to us, through the successive
Seasons. But those good Gifts which come down from the Father of
lights, through the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, and the
pouring out of his Spirit like the Rain which makes fruitful,
are infinitely more precious, as the tokens of his special Love.
The precious things here prayed for, are figures of spiritual
blessing in heavenly things By Christ, the Gifts, graces, and
comforts of the Spirit. When Moses prays for the good will of
Him that dwelt in the Bush, he refers to the Covenant, On which
all our hopes of God's favour must be founded. The Providence of
God appoints men's habitations, and wisely disposes men to
different employments for the public good. Whatever our place
and business are, it is our Wisdom and duty to apply thereto;
and it is happiness to be Well pleased therewith. We should not
only invite others to the service of God, but abound in it. The
blessing of Naphtali. The favour of God is the only favour
satisfying to the soul. Those are happy indeed, who have the
favour of God; and those shall have it, who reckon that in
having it they have enough, and desire No more.

24,25 All shall be sanctified to true believers; if their way
be rough, their feet shall be shod with the preparation of the
Gospel of peace. As thy days, So shall thy strength be. The
"Day" is often in Scripture Put for the events of the Day; it is
a promise that God would graciously and constantly support under
trials and troubles, whatever they were. It is a promise sure to
all the spiritual seed of Abraham. Have they work allotted? They
shall have strength to do it. Have they burdens appointed? They
shall have strength, and never be tempted above what they are
able to Bear.

26-29 None had such a God as Israel. There is No people like
the Israel of God. What is here said of the Church of Israel is
to be applied to the spiritual Church. Never were people So Well
seated and sheltered. Those who make God their Habitation, shall
have all the comforts and benefits of a Habitation in him, Ps
91:1. Never were people So Well supported and borne up. How low
soever the people of God are at any time brought, Everlasting
arms are underneath them, to keep the Spirit from sinking, from
fainting, and their Faith from failing. Divine Grace is
sufficient for them, 2Co 12:9. Never were people So Well
commanded. Thus believers are more than conquerors over their
spiritual enemies, through Christ that loved them. Never were
people So Well secured and protected. Israel shall Dwell in
safety alone. All who keep close to God, shall be kept safe By
him. Never were people So Well provided for. Every true
Israelite looks with Faith to the better country, the heavenly
Canaan, which is filled with better things than Corn and Wine.
Never were people So Well helped. If in danger of any harm, or
in want of any good, they had an eternal God to go to. Nothing
could hurt those whom God helped, nor was it possible the people
should perish who were saved By the Lord. Never were people So
Well armed. Those in whose hearts is the excellency of Holiness,
are defended By the whole Armour of God, Eph 6. Never were
people So Well assured of victory over their enemies. Thus shall
the God of peace tread Satan under the feet of all believers,
and shall do it shortly, Ro 16:20. May God help us to seek and
to set our affections On the things above; and to turn our souls
from earthly perishing objects; that we may not have our Lot
with Israel's foes in the regions of Darkness and despair, but
with the Israel of God, in the realms of Love and eternal