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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 33

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-29

Chapter 33

Chapter thirty-three,

Now this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel just before he died. And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints; 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. Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. The king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together. Let Reuben live, and not die; and let his men be few ( Deuteronomy 33:1-6 ).

The word "not" you notice is in italics, that means it was added. It was really "let his men be few". Now Reuben actually was one of the smaller tribes as they took the land. And it became really sorta scattered among the other tribes and the men of Reuben did become very few.

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. (The prophecy for Levi), Let the Thummin and the Urim be with the holy one, whom thou did prove at Massah, and with whom thou did strive at the waters of Meribah; Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brothers, nor knew his own children; for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant ( Deuteronomy 33:7-9 ).

In other words, the priests and Levi were observed. Aaron was told don't mourn for your sons when they die. Don't touch their bodies and so forth. And so he kept the word of the Lord and didn't regard his own family but his service to God more important.

Bless LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands. And concerning Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders ( Deuteronomy 33:11-12 ).

Now if you will take a look at the map of Benjamin, you'll find it sorta looks like shoulders. And right between the shoulders is the city of Jerusalem, if you will look at Benjamin, on a map of the Bible area of Benjamin. "And so the Lord shall dwell between his shoulders." Here is the first hint that Jerusalem will be the place where the temple will be built and where people will come to worship the Lord, there in the shoulders of Benjamin, which was Jerusalem.

And of Joseph he said, Blessed be Joseph of the LORD or his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, And for the precious fruits ( Deuteronomy 33:13-14 )

And so forth. You remember that Jacob said Joseph was as a "fruitful bough whose branches hangs over a wall" ( Genesis 49:21 ). And so the fruitfulness of Ephraim and Manasseh the sons of Joseph.

And of Zebulun, (verse eighteen)he said, Rejoice Zebulun, in thy going out; and Issachar, in thy tents. 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 the treasures hid in the sand ( Deuteronomy 33:18-19 ).

Now Zebulun occupied the area that is the plains of Megiddo and the mount of Carmel and out towards Haifa. Now Asher actually occupied the port city of Hifa and north along the coast. But because of this prophecy, and also we'll get one about Asher here who will dip his toes in the oil, there are some Christian business men who are oil engineers and geologists and all have gone over and studied the area around Mount Carmel because of these scriptures and they are convinced that there are vast oil reserves there under Mount Carmel and they are beginning drilling for oil. The first test well is starting the first of this next year. And they are hoping to discover vast reservoirs of oil. They believe from their geologist surveys, their seismology tests and so forth that there are vast reserves of oil. If there indeed be, it makes this prophecy very interesting concerning Zebulun that he will actually suck out the treasures from the sand. And they believe there are oil-bearing sands under this area that was once inhabited by Zebulun.

And so they are beginning a series of test wells the first of the year. In fact, we're supposed to visit one of the wells when we're over there in February. It's just a mile from that monastery on the top of Mount Carmel. You that have been over to Israel, you will remember that monastery on the top of Mount Carmel. Just about a mile east of that monastery is where they're putting down that first test hole. And so it's very interesting. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.

But this prophecy concerning Zebulun is one of the things that sparked them to start their geological surveys and testing over there. It is interesting that the vast oil resources of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East were discovered by Rockefeller after he read the Bible and in reading of Babylon, how they used tar for their mortar. He figured if there was that much tar in the area, there must be oil deposits there and he is the one that went over on the basis of reading the scripture and started this vast oil exploration of the Middle East. And of course that is where he became so extremely wealthy is because he was reading the Bible and believed what the Bible said. And they started their drilling there in Iraq, and of course, they discovered more and more of the vast oil reserves of the area. But Rockefeller was prompted by the scripture talking about their using tar for their mortar in Babylon to go over there and to start drilling for oil. Now if that indeed be the case, it would be interesting to drill down in the area of the Dead Sea because they did use pitch down there also, or tar.

Now of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlarges Gad: he dwells as a lion, and tears the arm with the crown of the head. And he provides the first part for himself, and a portion for the lawgiver (and so forth). And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan. And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied the favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD. 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. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be ( Deuteronomy 33:20-26 ).

Now Asher, if you look at Asher on a Bible map, you'll see that Asher looks like a leg from the knee down with a foot, and the toe of the foot of Asher was at Hifi. "He shall dip his foot in oil." Actually the first major oil pipeline to bring oil out of the Middle East was built from Iraq to the port city of Hifi. Once it was completed they started shipping out a million gallons of oil a day. Through Hifi, Asher had his foot in the oil just like Moses said he would almost four thousand years ago. So it's a very interesting prophecy of the Bible concerning Asher "his foot in the oil", and that's exactly what did happen. Whether or not there is more than that, whether or not in their drilling they are going to find oil there, it will be very interesting to find out. They are, as I said, starting their test wells the first of the year.

Now this particular scripture, verse twenty-five, the latter part, how I love this. "And as thy days, so shall thy strength be." Take that as a promise of God for you. As your days, so shall your strength be. God's grace is sufficient for you. And whatever you are facing for that particular day, God will give you strength for that day. "As your day is so shall your strength be." I love it.

The eternal God, is thy refuge, (verse twenty-seven) and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. 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 their down dew. 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 the excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places ( Deuteronomy 33:27-29 ).

"The eternal God is they refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." When I consider the heavens the work of thy fingers.

Friday night we were up at Eureka; beautiful night up there, cold and clear. Looking up we could see so many stars. And after the service we were standing outside with some of the fellows, and we were looking up and they were pointing at some stars and I said, "Well that the constellation Orion. Now you see those three stars that are in a row there?" I said, "The bottom star of those three stars is four hundred and fifteen million miles in diameter. If you were to hollow out that star leaving a crust, a hundred million miles thick, you could put the sun in the center of that star and let the earth rotate around it and have room to spare". Now the amazing thing is that star is traveling at a speed estimated to be somewhere around twelve hundred miles a second. Now that's an awfully large mass to be traveling that fast. How much thrust do you suppose it took to get Betelgeuse into orbit?

The psalmist said, "when I consider the heavens to be the work of thy fingers, the work of thy hands. The sun, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained. What is man that thou art mindful of him?"( Psalms 8:3-4 ) The thrust that it took to get Betelgeuse in orbit, that huge, huge mass, was just this flick. "But I consider the heavens the work of your hands."

Now if God with His hands "stretched out the heavens like a curtain"( Psalms 104:2 ), to me the eternal God is thy refuge and underneath is not the everlasting hands, but the everlasting arms. Believe me that if with His hands He could stretch out the heavens, His arms can hold you through any adversity or problem you might be facing. Underneath are the everlasting arms. So often I've wondered, "God are you able to hold me through this one? Are you sure, God, you can hold me up? I'm awfully heavy at times, Lord." Underneath are the everlasting arms; how beautiful.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 33". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/deuteronomy-33.html. 2014.
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