Deuteronomy 33:11
Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands; smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Bless, Lord, his substance.—This petition is consistent with the enactment that Levi should have no land. But a blessing on his substance means a blessing to the whole land of Israel. Levi’s substance Was Israel’s tithe.

Accept the work of his hands.—The chief “work of his hands” was mediatorial for all Israel. The “acceptance” of this work was essential to the welfare of the whole race.

Smite through the loins of them that rise against him.—Rashi refers to the great war begun by the Asmonæans. Mattathias, the father of the Maccabees, was “a priest of the sons of Joiarib from Jerusalem” (1 Maccabees 2:1). In the time of Athaliah and of Antiochus Epiphanes alike, the restorers of the worship of Jehovah, and the deliverers of the nation from a foreign yoke, were priests.

Deuteronomy 33:11. Bless, Lord, his substance — Because he hath no inheritance of his own, and therefore wholly depends upon thy blessing. The work of his hands — All his holy administrations, which he fitly calls the work of his hands, because a great part of the service of the Levites and priests was done by the labour of their hand and body, whereas the service of evangelical ministers is more spiritual and heavenly. Smite — He prays thus earnestly for them, because he foresaw they who were to teach and reprove, and chastise others, would have many enemies, and because they were, under God, the great preservers and upholders of religion, and their enemies were the enemies of religion itself.33:6-23 The order in which the tribes are here blessed, is not the same as is observed elsewhere. The blessing of Judah may refer to the whole tribe in general, or to David as a type of Christ. Moses largely blesses the tribe of Levi. Acceptance with God is what we should all aim at, and desire, in all our devotions, whether men accept us or not, 2Co 5:9. This prayer is a prophecy, that God will keep up a ministry in his church to the end of time. The tribe of Benjamin had their inheritance close to mount Zion. To be situated near the ordinances, is a precious gift from the Lord, a privilege not to be exchanged for any worldly advantage, or indulgence. We should thankfully receive the earthly blessings sent to us, through the successive seasons. But those good gifts which come down from the Father of lights, through the rising of the Sun of righteousness, and the pouring out of his Spirit like the rain which makes fruitful, are infinitely more precious, as the tokens of his special love. The precious things here prayed for, are figures of spiritual blessing in heavenly things by Christ, the gifts, graces, and comforts of the Spirit. When Moses prays for the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush, he refers to the covenant, on which all our hopes of God's favour must be founded. The providence of God appoints men's habitations, and wisely disposes men to different employments for the public good. Whatever our place and business are, it is our wisdom and duty to apply thereto; and it is happiness to be well pleased therewith. We should not only invite others to the service of God, but abound in it. The blessing of Naphtali. The favour of God is the only favour satisfying to the soul. Those are happy indeed, who have the favour of God; and those shall have it, who reckon that in having it they have enough, and desire no more.Smite through the loins - Rather, strike the loins, i. e., the seat of their strength. 8-10. of Levi he said—The burden of this blessing is the appointment of the Levites to the dignified and sacred office of the priesthood (Le 10:11; De 22:8; 17:8-11), a reward for their zeal in supporting the cause of God, and their unsparing severity in chastising even their nearest and dearest relatives who had participated in the idolatry of the molten calf (Ex 32:25-28; compare Mal 2:4-6). His substance, i.e. his outward estate, as Deu 8:18, because he hath no inheritance of his own, and therefore wholly depends upon thy blessing. Or, his host or army, as the word is used Ezekiel 37:10. The priests that attended upon God’s service in the tabernacle or temple are oft compared to an host or army in regard of their exquisite order and courses and constant watches there. See Numbers 4:3.

The work of his hands, i.e. all his holy administrations, which he fitly calls the works of his hands; either more largely, the hand, one great instrument of action being put for all the rest; or because a great part of the service of the Levites and priests was done by the labour of their hand and body, whereas the service of evangelical ministers is more spiritual and heavenly.

Smite through the loins of them that rise against him: he prays thus earnestly for them, partly because he foresaw they who were to teach, and admonish, and reprove, and chastise others would have many enemies, Jeremiah 15:10 Amos 5:10; and partly because they were, under God, the great preservers and upholders of religion, and their enemies were the enemies of religion itself; as is evident from the history of the Old Testament. Bless, Lord, his substance,.... Which lay in tithes, firstfruits, &c. for the priests and Levites had no share in the division of the land; unless this can be understood of the cities and suburbs which were given them, or of houses and fields devoted, which fell unto them, or rather of their cattle, for the use of which they had suburbs appointed them; for otherwise in husbandry and merchandise they were not employed: some render it "an host" or army (l), their service being a militia, or warfare, Numbers 4:3; Jarchi refers this to the Hasmonaeans or Maccabees, which were of this tribe:

and accept the work of his hands; in offering incense and sacrifices, and all other administrations of the office of priests and Levites; thus the righteousness and sacrifice of Christ are of a sweet smelling savour, and very acceptable to God; and all the spiritual sacrifices of the saints who are priests unto God, as of prayer and praise, are acceptable to him through Jesus Christ:

smite through the loins of them that rise against him; such as were the companies of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and in all ages faithful ministers of the word meet with many enemies, whom they would not be, able to withstand were not the Lord to appear for them, and protect them from them, and smite them thoroughly:

and of them that hate them, that they rise not again; destroying them with an utter destruction, so that they are not able to make any other efforts upon them; for such who are enemies to the priests of the Lord are enemies to him, and to true religion, enemies to God and Christ, to the law and to the Gospel, to the word of God and to the ordinances of it, and therefore to be severely handled and thoroughly punished: Christ's enemies shall all be subdued under him; see Psalm 110:1.

(l) "copiis ejus", Junius & Tremellius; "vel exercitibus ejus", Piscator.

Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite {i} through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.

(i) He declares that the ministers of God have many enemies, and therefore need to be prayed for.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. when evening cometh on] Genesis 24:63. The new day began then.

bathe himself, etc.] Also prescribed in Leviticus 15:16.

11. substance] Better strength or efficiency and so service, parallel to work of his hands. Yet it might mean host, ranks or order. Calvin retaining substance says ‘it appears to have been intended tacitly to provide against the poverty which awaited the Levites,’ and quotes Psalm 132:15.

that rise up against him … that hate him] To what this refers is unknown. Some refer it to Numbers 16:1 ff. or 1 Kings 12:31; and the hostility of the prophets to the priests is well-known. As we have seen, others assign the lines to the ‘Blessing’ on Judah."Moses appointed us a law, a possession of the congregation of Jacob. And He became King in righteous-nation (Jeshurun); there the heads of the people assembled, in crowds the tribes of Israel." The God who met Israel at Sinai in terrible majesty, out of the myriads of holy angels, who embraces all nations in love, and has all the holy angels in His power, so that they lie at His feet and rise up at His word, gave the law through Moses to the congregation of Jacob as a precious possession, and became King in Israel. This was the object of the glorious manifestation of His holy majesty upon Sinai. Instead of saying, "He gave the law to the tribes of Israel through my mediation," Moses personates the listening nation, and not only speaks of himself in the third person, but does so by identifying his own person with the nation, because he wished the people to repeat his words from thorough conviction, and because the law which he gave in the name of the Lord was given to himself as well, and was as binding upon him as upon every other member of the congregation. In a similar manner the prophet Habakkuk identifies himself with the nation in ch. 3, and says in Habakkuk 3:19, out of the heart of the nation, "The Lord is my strength,...who maketh me to walk upon mine high places," - an expression which did not apply to himself, but to the nation as a whole. So again in Psalm 20:1-9 and Psalm 21:1-13, which David composed as the prayers of the nation for its king, he not only speaks of himself as the anointed of the Lord, but addresses such prayers to the Lord for himself as could only be offered by the nation for its king. "A possession for the congregation of Jacob." "Israel was distinguished above all other nations by the possession of the divinely revealed law (Deuteronomy 4:5-8); that was its most glorious possession, and therefore is called its true κειμήλιον" (Knobel). The subject in Deuteronomy 33:5 is not Moses but Jehovah, who became King in Jeshurun (see at Deuteronomy 32:15 and Exodus 15:18). "Were gathered together;" this refers to the assembling of the nation around Sinai (Deuteronomy 4:10.; cf. Exodus 19:17.), to the day of assembly (Deuteronomy 9:10; Deuteronomy 10:4; Deuteronomy 18:16).
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