Deuteronomy 33:1-12

Talks for Growing Christians

Moses Blesses the Tribes of Israel

Deuteronomy 33:1-12

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Lesson Number 33

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The blessings of Moses on the tribes of Israel are both past and future.
    a) The blessing on Reuben
    b) The blessing on Judah
    c) The blessing on Levi
    d) The blessings on Benjamin

Practical Application

  1. Make your last days count for the Lord!


  1. How did Moses’ blessing of the tribes fit with the culture of that day?
  2. What interpretation does Dr. Dave Reid favor for Deuteronomy 33:2?
  3. How was the blessing on Reuben in verse 6 suited specifically for this tribe?
  4. What were the Urim and Thummin?
  5. What special privileges and responsibilities were given to the tribe of Levi?
  6. How did God fulfill His promise to Benjamin that they would “dwell between His shoulders”?


  1. As a father would give a blessing to his children before he died, so Moses, who was like a father to the children of Israel, gave his blessing to the tribes of Israel before he died. In that day, a father’s final blessings were looked on as binding – like a legal will. So in these inspired blessings of Moses on the tribes of Israel we have both blessing and prophecy.
  2. That this is a vision that Moses had of the Lord in His care and concern for Israel all the way from Mount Sinai until the return of the Lord. This assured Moses that all the prophetic aspects of his blessing on the tribes of Israel will be fulfilled.
  3. The tribe of Reuben was located on the east side of the Jordan River and thus more exposed and more vulnerable to enemy attacks. The prayer of Moses is that the tribe of Reuben would not be wiped out and become extinct in view of this danger.
  4. The Urim and Thummin (verse 8) were items used by the priests, who were of the tribe of Levi, to determine God’s will for the people.
  5. As servants of the Lord the tribe of Levi was to teach God’s Word and lead the people in worship.
  6. The Lord chose Jerusalem in the territory of Benjamin as His special city and there He would place His temple. Earthly Jerusalem is God’s special city forever.


  1. Moses’ prayer in Deuteronomy 33:7 was that Judah would be successful in their leadership role and be militarily strong. What significant person was from the tribe of Judah? How was this prophecy displayed in Him?
  2. Servants of the Lord are special targets of those who hate to submit to the spiritual and moral values and standards of Scriptures. See Deuteronomy 33:11. With this in mind, will you specifically pray for protection for those in spiritual authority over you?


  1. When Moses knew the time was near for him to die he transferred the leadership of Israel to Joshua. He wrote a great song filled with theological content for Israel to memorize and sing. And he gave a special blessing to each of the tribes of Israel. Follow the example of Moses. Make your last days count for the Lord!

Key Verses

  • “The Lord came from Sinai, And dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came with ten thousands of saints; From His right hand Came a fiery law for them. Yes, He loves the people; All His saints are in Your hand; They sit down at Your feet; Everyone receives Your words.” Deuteronomy 33:2-3
  • “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him, Who shelters him all the day long; And he shall dwell between His shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12

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