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Deuteronomy 33:3

Context

33:3 Surely he loves the people; 1 

all your holy ones 2  are in your power. 3 

And they sit 4  at your feet,

each receiving 5  your words.

Deuteronomy 33:26-29

Context
General Praise and Blessing

33:26 There is no one like God, O Jeshurun, 6 

who rides through the sky 7  to help you,

on the clouds in majesty.

33:27 The everlasting God is a refuge,

and underneath you are his eternal arms; 8 

he has driven out enemies before you,

and has said, “Destroy!”

33:28 Israel lives in safety,

the fountain of Jacob is quite secure, 9 

in a land of grain and new wine;

indeed, its heavens 10  rain down dew. 11 

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 tc Heb “peoples.” The apparent plural form is probably a misunderstood singular (perhaps with a pronominal suffix) with enclitic mem (ם). See HALOT 838 s.v. עַם B.2.

2 tc Heb “his holy ones.” The third person masculine singular suffix of the Hebrew MT is problematic in light of the second person masculine singular suffix on בְּיָדֶךָ (bÿyadekha, “your hands”). The LXX versions by Lucian and Origen read, therefore, “the holy ones.” The LXX version by Theodotion and the Vulgate, however, presuppose third masculine singular suffix on בְּיָדָיו (bÿyadayv, “his hands”), and thus retain “his holy ones.” The efforts to bring pronominal harmony into the line is commendable but unnecessary given the Hebrew tendency to be untroubled by such grammatical inconsistencies. However, the translation harmonizes the first pronoun with the second so that the referent (the Lord) is clear.

3 tn Heb “hands.” For the problem of the pronoun see note on the term “holy ones” earlier in this verse.

4 tn The Hebrew term תֻּכּוּ (tuku, probably Pual perfect of תָּכָה, takhah) is otherwise unknown. The present translation is based on the reference to feet and, apparently, receiving instruction in God’s words (cf. KJV, ASV). Other options are as follows: NIV “At your feet they all bow down” (cf. NCV, CEV); NLT “They follow in your steps” (cf. NAB, NASB); NRSV “they marched at your heels.”

5 tn The singular verbal form in the Hebrew text (lit. “he lifts up”) is understood in a distributive manner, focusing on the action of each individual within the group.

6 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.

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

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

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



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