33:8 Of Levi he said:
Your Thummim and Urim 1 belong to your godly one, 2
whose authority you challenged at Massah, 3
and with whom you argued at the waters of Meribah. 4
33:9 He said to his father and mother, “I have not seen him,” 5
and he did not acknowledge his own brothers
or know his own children,
for they kept your word,
and guarded your covenant.
33:10 They will teach Jacob your ordinances
and Israel your law;
they will offer incense as a pleasant odor,
and a whole offering on your altar.
33:11 Bless, O Lord, his goods,
and be pleased with his efforts;
undercut the legs 6 of any who attack him,
and of those who hate him, so that they cannot stand.
1 sn Thummim and Urim. These terms, whose meaning is uncertain, refer to sacred stones carried in a pouch on the breastplate of the high priest and examined on occasion as a means of ascertaining God’s will or direction. See Exod 28:30; Lev 8:8; Num 27:21; 1 Sam 28:6. See also C. Van Dam, NIDOTTE 1:329-31.
2 tn Heb “godly man.” The reference is probably to Moses as representative of the whole tribe of Levi.
3 sn Massah means “testing” in Hebrew; the name is a wordplay on what took place there. Cf. Exod 17:7; Deut 6:16; 9:22; Ps 95:8-9.
4 sn Meribah means “contention, argument” in Hebrew; this is another wordplay on the incident that took place there. Cf. Num 20:13, 24; Ps 106:32.
5 sn This statement no doubt alludes to the Levites’ destruction of their own fellow tribesmen following the golden calf incident (Exod 32:25-29).
6 tn Heb “smash the sinews [or “loins,” so many English versions].” This part of the body was considered to be center of one’s strength (cf. Job 40:16; Ps 69:24; Prov 31:17; Nah 2:2, 11). See J. H. Tigay, Deuteronomy (JPSTC), 325.