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Deuteronomy 33:26-29

Context
General Praise and Blessing

33:26 There is no one like God, O Jeshurun, 1 

who rides through the sky 2  to help you,

on the clouds in majesty.

33:27 The everlasting God is a refuge,

and underneath you are his eternal arms; 3 

he has driven out enemies before you,

and has said, “Destroy!”

33:28 Israel lives in safety,

the fountain of Jacob is quite secure, 4 

in a land of grain and new wine;

indeed, its heavens 5  rain down dew. 6 

33:29 You have joy, Israel! Who is like you?

You are a people delivered by the Lord,

your protective shield

and your exalted sword.

May your enemies cringe before you;

may you trample on their backs.

1 sn Jeshurun is a term of affection referring to Israel, derived from the Hebrew verb יָשַׁר (yashar, “be upright”). See note on the term in Deut 32:15.

2 tn Or “(who) rides (on) the heavens” (cf. NIV, NRSV, NLT). This title depicts Israel’s God as sovereign over the elements of the storm (cf. Ps 68:33). The use of the phrase here may be polemical; Moses may be asserting that Israel’s God, not Baal (called the “rider of the clouds” in the Ugaritic myths), is the true divine king (cf. v. 5) who controls the elements of the storm, grants agricultural prosperity, and delivers his people from their enemies. See R. B. Chisholm, Jr., “The Polemic against Baalism in Israel’s Early History and Literature,” BSac 151 (1994): 275.

3 tn Heb “and from under, arms of perpetuity.” The words “you” and “his” are supplied in the translation for clarification. Some have perceived this line to be problematic and have offered alternative translations that differ significantly from the present translation: “He spread out the primeval tent; he extended the ancient canopy” (NAB); “He subdues the ancient gods, shatters the forces of old” (NRSV). These are based on alternate meanings or conjectural emendations rather than textual variants in the mss and versions.

4 tn Heb “all alone.” The idea is that such vital resources as water will some day no longer need protection because God will provide security.

5 tn Or “skies.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

6 tn Or perhaps “drizzle, showers.” See note at Deut 32:2.



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