April 1, 2023
“This is the blessing that Moses, the man of God gave the Israelites before his death.”
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“This is the blessing that Moses, the man of God gave the Israelites before his death.” Deuteronomy 33:1 (HCSB)
Almost at the end of the Torah (and the end of his life), Moses’ closing remarks end with a song and a poetic blessing. Something to note is how Moses’ blessing differs from the blessing Jacob gave before he passed away.
As I pointed out a few days ago, Deuteronomy is a very gracious book. Moses retells Israel’s story but opts to focus on God’s grace and mercy instead of His punishment of sin. Moses’ blessing of Israel is gracious and positive. It is a sharp contrast to Jacob’s blessing, which seemed more like a curse! (Genesis 49)
Jacob’s blessing may have been harsh because of his paternal perspective. He knew his sons and the attitudes and spiritual tendencies that would be passed down throughout the generations. Moses’ blessing was based on what the Lord had shown him concerning His plans for Israel’s future.
Something you may have noticed missing from Moses’ blessing is that the tribe of Simeon is not mentioned. Scholars have varied differences of opinion as to why Simeon is absent. Some experts say the poem/blessing was added after Moses’ death (by Ezra), leading them to believe the tribe of Simeon was irretrievably dispersed at the time of the blessing’s addition to Deuteronomy. That assumption may be a well-informed, educated guess, but it is still conjecture.
Interestingly to note, the name “Simeon” makes a timely reappearance in the New Testament on the day of Jesus’ circumcision.
“There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: ‘Now, Master, You can dismiss your slave in peace, according to Your word. For my eyes have seen your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all the peoples – a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for Your people, Israel.’” Luke 2:25-32 (HCSB)
Perhaps, it is totally unrelated, but I find it interesting that the name (Simeon), which Moses omits from his blessing, is the name of the man whom the Lord chose to bless Messiah Jesus on the day He was dedicated as a baby. Of course, in His pre-advent, Messiah (Who exists eternally in both past and future - Micah 5:2) had already been dedicated to being our “Yeshua” (Hebrew: “salvation of God,” aka “Jesus”) before the World was founded. (1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8)
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©Steve Wiggins 2021