And this is the blessing wherewith Moses - blessed, etc. - The general nature of this solemn introduction, says Dr. Kennicott, is to show the foundation which Moses had for blessing his brethren, viz., because God had frequently manifested his glory in their behalf; and the several parts of this introduction are disposed in the following order: -
1.The manifestation of the Divine glory on Sinai, as it was prior in time and more magnificent in splendor, is mentioned first.
2.That God manifested his glory at Seir is evident from Judges 5:4 : Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the fields of Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens dropped, etc.
3.The next place is Paran, where the glory of the Lord appeared before all the children of Israel, Numbers 14:10.
Instead of he came with ten thousand saints, by which our translators have rendered meribeboth kodesh , Dr. Kennicott reads Meribah-Kadesh, the name of a place: for we find that, towards the end of forty years, the Israelites came to Kadesh, Numbers 20:1, which was also called Meribah, on account of their contentious opposition to the determinations of God in their favor, Numbers 20:13; and there the glory of the Lord again appeared, as we are informed Numbers 20:6. These four places, Sinai, Seir, Paran, and Meribah-Kadesh, mentioned by Moses in the text, are the identical places where God manifested his glory in a fiery appearance, the more illustriously to proclaim his special providence over and care of Israel.
And this is the blessing wherewith Moses, the man of God, blessed the children of Israel before his death - And he said
Deuteronomy 33:2. Jehovah came from Sinai, And he arose upon them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And he came from Meribah-kadesh: From his right hand a fire shone forth upon them.
Deuteronomy 33:3. Truly, he loved the people, And he blessed all his saints For they fell down at his feet, And they received of his words.
Deuteronomy 33:4. He commanded us a law, The inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.
Deuteronomy 33:5. And he became king in Jeshurun; When the heads of the people were assembled, Together with the tribes of Israel.
We have already seen that Dr. Kennicott reads Meribah - Kadesh , the name of a place, instead of meribeboth kodesh , which, by a most unnatural and forced construction, our version renders ten thousands of saints, a translation which no circumstance of the history justifies. Instead of a fiery law, esh dath , he reads, following the Samaritan version, esh ur , a fire shining out upon them. In vindication of this change in the original, it may be observed,
1.That, though dath signifies a law, yet it is a Chaldee term, and appears nowhere in any part of the sacred writings previously to the Babylonish captivity: torah being the term constantly used to express the Law, at all times prior to the corruption of the Hebrew, by the Chaldee.
2.That the word itself is obscure in its present situation, as the Hebrew Bibles write it and esh in one word eshdath , which has no meaning; and which, in order to give it one, the Massorah directs should be read separate, though written connected.
3.That the word is not acknowledged by the two most ancient versions, the Septuagint and Syriac.
4.That in the parallel place, Habakkuk 3:3, Habakkuk 3:4, a word is used which expresses the rays of light, karnayim , horns, that is, splendours, rays, or effulgence of light.
5.That on all these accounts, together with the almost impossibility of giving a rational meaning to the text as it now stands, the translation contended for should be adopted.
Instead of All his saints are in his hand, Dr. Kennicott reads, He blessed all his saints - changing beyadecha , into barach , he blessed, which word, all who understand the Hebrew letters will see, might be easily mistaken for the other; the daleth and the resh being, not only in MSS., but also in printed books, often so much alike, that analogy alone can determine which is the true letter; and except in the insertion of the yod , which might have been easily mistaken for the apex at the top of the beth very frequent in MSS., both words have the nearest resemblance. To this may be added, that the Syriac authorizes this rendering. Instead of leraglecha , and middabberotheycha , Thy feet, and Thy words, Dr. Kennicott reads the pronouns in the third person singular, leraglaiv and middabberothaiv , His feet, His words, in which he is supported both by the Septuagint and Vulgate. He also changes yissa , He shall receive, into yisseu , They shall receive. He contends also that Mosheh , Moses, in the fourth verse, was written by mistake for the following word morashah , inheritance; and when the scribe found he had inserted a wrong word, he added the proper one, and did not erase the first. The word Moses, he thinks, should therefore be left out of the text, as it is improbable that he should here introduce his own name; and that if the word be allowed to be legitimate, then the word king must apply to him, and not to God, which would be most absurd. See Kennicott' s first Dissertation, p. 422, etc.
Other Adam Clarke entries containing Deuteronomy 33:1:
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