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Deuteronomy 33:13-17

Context
Blessing on Joseph

33:13 Of Joseph he said:

May the Lord bless his land

with the harvest produced by the sky, 1  by the dew,

and by the depths crouching beneath;

33:14 with the harvest produced by the daylight 2 

and by 3  the moonlight; 4 

33:15 with the best 5  of the ancient mountains

and the harvest produced by the age-old hills;

33:16 with the harvest of the earth and its fullness

and the pleasure of him who resided in the burning bush. 6 

May blessing rest on Joseph’s head,

and on the top of the head of the one set apart 7  from his brothers.

33:17 May the firstborn of his bull bring him honor,

and may his horns be those of a wild ox;

with them may he gore all peoples,

all the far reaches of the earth.

They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, 8 

and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

1 tn Heb “from the harvest of the heavens.” The referent appears to be good crops produced by the rain that falls from the sky.

2 tn Heb “goings forth of the sun.”

3 tn Heb “and from the harvest of the yield of.” This has been simplified in the translation to avoid redundancy.

4 tn Heb “the moon.” Many English versions regard this as a reference to “months” (“moons”) rather than the moon itself (cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT).

5 tn Heb “head” or “top.”

6 tn The expression “him who resided in the bush” is frequently understood as a reference to the appearance of the Lord to Moses at Sinai from a burning bush (so NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT; cf. Exod 2:2-6; 3:2, 4). To make this reference clear the word “burning” is supplied in the translation.

7 sn This apparently refers to Joseph’s special status among his brothers as a result of his being chosen by God to save the family from the famine and to lead Egypt.

8 sn Ephraim and Manasseh were the sons of Joseph who became founders of the two tribes into which Joseph’s descendants were split (Gen 48:19-20). Jacob’s blessing granted favored status to Ephraim; this is probably why Ephraim is viewed here as more numerous than Manasseh.



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