Deuteronomy 33:18
And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(18) Zebulun . . . and Issachar were united with Judah, in the leading division of Israel in the wilderness. The warlike character of the first of these two, and the more peaceful wisdom of the second, are illustrated by Judges 5:18 and 1Chronicles 12:32-33. (Comp Jacob’s blessing of Issachar in Genesis 49:14-15.)

Deuteronomy 33:18. Rejoice, Zebulun — Thou shalt prosper, and have cause of rejoicing. In thy going out — 1st, To war, as this phrase is often used. 2d, To sea, in the way of traffic, because their portion lay near the sea. And in both respects his course is opposite to that of Issachar, who was a lover of peace and pasturage. He is here joined with Zebulun, both because they were brethren by father and mother too, and because their possessions lay near together. In thy tents — Thou shalt give thyself to the management of land and cattle, living quietly in thy own possessions.

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.Zebulun possessed a commodious sea-shore and the fisheries of the Lake of Tiberias: and was therefore to thrive by commerce, and to rejoice in his "going out," i. e., in his mercantile enterprises. Issachar possessed a fertile inland district, and would therefore dwell at home and prosper in agriculture. Both tribes distinguished themselves in the contest with Jabin (compare Judges 5:14-15, Judges 5:18): and of Zebulun it is particularly noted that it produced the officers and tacticians who led and marshalled the host which vanquished Sisera (see Judges 5:14, and compare 1 Chronicles 12:33).18, 19. Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out—on commercial enterprises and voyages by sea.

and, Issachar in thy tents—preferring to reside in their maritime towns.

Thou shalt prosper; and have cause of rejoicing.

In thy going out; either,

1. To war, as this phrase is oft used, as Genesis 14:17, which was in part verified, Judges 5:18. Or,

2. To sea, in way of traffic, because their portion lay near the sea. Or both may be joined; and in both respects his course is opposite to that of Issachar, who was a lover of peace and pasturage. See Genesis 49:14,15.

Issachar is here joined with

Zebulun, both because they were brethren by father and mother too, and because their possessions lay near together.

In thy tents, i.e. thou shalt give thyself to the management of land and cattle, living quietly in thy own possessions, disliking the troubles of war and of merchandise. So the phrase is used Genesis 25:27 Joshua 22:4 Judges 5:24 7:8.

And of Zebulun he said,.... The tribe of Zebulun, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, with whom Issachar is joined, they being brethren, and of the same mother as well as father; though Zebulun the youngest is set before Issachar the older, as in Jacob's blessing, Genesis 49:13,

rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; in their going out to sea, to merchandise, to traffic in foreign parts, it being a maritime tribe, see Genesis 49:13; and so are called upon to rejoice and be thankful for their safe preservation on the seas, and success in trade; and to this sense are the paraphrases of Jonathan and Jerusalem: though Onkelos interprets it of their going out to war against their enemies, and certain it is that they were also a warlike as well as a seafaring tribe; see Judges 5:18,

and Issachar, in thy tents; being a tribe that stayed at home, and attended to husbandry, and dwelt in tents, to take care of and feed their cattle; in doing which they should be prosperous, and have occasion to rejoice, and be thankful to the Lord: though the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem carry it to a different sense, to their schools, in which they dwelt: this tribe being, as supposed, a learned tribe, studious, in the law; which is gathered from 1 Chronicles 12:32.

And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy {m} going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.

(m) In thy prosperous voyages on the sea, Ge 49:13.

18. hire of a harlot] Both of the consecrated and common prostitute, cp. Hosea 9:1, Micah 1:7, Isaiah 23:17 f., Ezekiel 16:34. Mövers (op. cit.) shows that in Phoenicia this hire was brought to the temple.

wages of a dog] Heb. meḥîr, wage, Micah 3:11, elsewhere price or payment, e.g. 2 Samuel 24:24, 1 Kings 10:28. Dog, keleb; the official name of the ḳadesh; cp. Phoen. inscription from Larnaca in CIS. i. 97, Revelation 22:15 and the Greek κύναιδος; in Ass. possibly also a general name for priests (above, p. 23, n. 1). See further W. R. Smith, Rel. Sem. 274.

house of Jehovah thy God] In Deut. only here, but cp. E, Exodus 23:19, J, Exodus 34:26, Joshua 6:24, Jdg 19:18, and frequently in Kings.

abomination] See on Deuteronomy 7:25.

19, 20 (20, 21). Of Interest; forbidden on loans to fellow-Israelites, but allowed on loans to foreigners.—In the Sg. address, with brother (not neighbour) and other of D’s phrases; Deuteronomy 33:19 is parallel to E, Exodus 22:25 (24) and H, Leviticus 25:35-37, which forbid taking interest from poor Israelites. In these cases it is clear that we have to do with charitable, not commercial, loans, on the latter of which in later days interest was expected (Matthew 25:27). Deuteronomy 33:20 on loans to foreigners deals with commercial loans, see Driver’s note on Exodus 22:25. It is peculiar to D; there is no reason for regarding it (with Steuern.) as secondary. It is the proof, with several others, of the extension of Israel’s foreign trade by the time of D. See above on Deuteronomy 15:6 and § 54 of the present writer’s art. ‘Trade, etc.,’ in E.B.

Similarly among other Semites. Where poverty prevails and loans are for its relief and there is little trade, no interest is exacted, as among the Arabs (Doughty, Ar. Des. i. 318). In early Babylonian history ‘advances of all sorts were freely made both with and without interest,’ and ‘most of the loans were evidently contracted to meet temporary embarrassment’ (Johns, Bab. and Ass. Laws, etc., 250 f.). But a very complicated system including advances of money and kind by private persons, the temple treasuries and the king’s (cp. Matthew 25:14 ff., Luke 19:12 ff.) with various rates of interest and regulations, gradually developed in Babylonia (op. cit. ch. xxiii.), and we find a number of prescriptions already in the Code of Ḫammurabi (§§ 48–52, 100–107).

18 And of Zebulun he said:

Rejoice, Zebulún, in thine outgoing,

And in thy tents, Issachár!

19 Peoples they call to the mountain (?),

There slay they the sacrifices due.

For the affluence of seas do they suck

And the hidden hoards of the sand.

The territory of Zebulun in Joshua 19:10-16 runs seaward or westward, but apparently without reaching the sea. But in Genesis 49:13 the tribe dwells on the sea-beach, a beach for ships, with his border by Sidon (Tyre is nearer, but at the date of the poem Sidon must have been suzerain of the Phoenician confederacy) therefore favourably placed for commerce. Similarly here. Issachar, Joshua 19:17-23, lay further inland, on Esdraelon under Tabor and Gilboa and down towards Jordan; described in Genesis 49:14 f. as a big-boned ass content to lie between the sheepfolds (or panniers?), the servant of others. Here he is congratulated, not scorned, because of his home-keeping habits, a contrast to Zebulun’s. It is remarkable that nothing is said of the heroism of these tribes, as celebrated by Deborah, Jdg 5:15; Jdg 5:18, cp. Jdg 4:6; Jdg 4:10. On Genesis 49:13-15 Skinner remarks that that ‘lends colour to the view that this part of the poem is of older date than the Song of Deborah.’ This is by no means conclusive.

18. going out] Either the tribe’s outlet seaward, Genesis 49:13; or more probably their (foreign) trade; on the Heb. vb as = doing business see above, Deuteronomy 13:13 (14), Deuteronomy 28:6.

Issachar, in thy tents] According to Joshua 19:17-23 Issachar had a number of towns, some important, but all (either by name or situation) agricultural with very fertile suburbs on the Plain. Tents, then, is used either poetically for homes (cp. to thy tents O Israel!) or refers to the custom (seen to-day among the townsfolk of Moab) of resorting to tents in summer for the herding of flocks or the tillage of fields at a distance from the towns. Such was the scope of their energies. LXX his tents.

Verses 18, 19. - Zebulun and Issachar, the two last sons of Leah, are taken together by Moses; and Zebulun, though the younger son, is placed first, in accordance with Genesis 49:13. Success in enterprise, and felicity at home, are assured to both. "Although 'going out' (enterprise, labor) is attributed to Zebulun, and 'remaining in tents' (the comfortable enjoyment of life) to Issachar, in accordance with the delineation of their respective characters in the blessing of Jacob, this is to be attributed to the poetic parallelism of the clauses, and the whole is to be understood as applying to both in the sense suggested by Graf, 'Rejoice, Zebulun and Issachar, in your labor and your rest'" (Keil). They shall call the people unto the mountain; rather, they shall call nations to the mountain, i.e. the mountain of the Lord's inheritance (Exodus 15:17), the place of his sanctuary. Sacrifices of righteousness; i.e. sacrifices offered according to God's Law, and in a manner and a spirit well pleasing to him (Psalm 4:6; 51:21). They shall suck of the abundance of the seas, etc. The treasures of both sea and land should be theirs. The Targumist Jonathan Ben Uzziel explains this as referring especially to the obtaining of the rich purple dye from the shell of the oyster (murex Syrius), and the producing of mirrors and glass vases from the sand. The existence of vitreous sand on the coast of Zebulun is attested both by Strabo (lib. 16. p. 757) and Pliny ('Nat. Hist.,' lib. 36. c. 286). Deuteronomy 33:18Zebulun and Issachar. - "Rejoice, Zebulun, at thy going out; and, Issachar, at thy tents. Nations will they invite to the mountain; there offer the sacrifices of righteousness: for they suck the affluence of the seas, and the hidden treasures of the sand." The tribes of the last two sons of Leah Moses unites together, and, like Jacob in Genesis 49:13, places Zebulun the younger first. He first of all confirms the blessing which Jacob pronounced through simply interpreting their names as omnia, by calling upon them to rejoice in their undertakings abroad and at home. "At thy tents" corresponds to "at thy going out" (tents being used poetically for dwellings, as in Deuteronomy 16:7); like "sitting" to "going out and coming in" in 2 Kings 19:27; Isaiah 37:28; Psalm 139:2; and describes in its two aspects of work and production, rest and recreation. Although "going out" (enterprise and labour) is attributed to Zebulun, and "remaining in tents" (the comfortable enjoyment of life) to Issachar, in accordance with the delineation of their respective characters in the blessing of Jacob, this is to be attributed to the poetical parallelism of the clauses, and the whole is to be understood as applying to both in the sense suggested by Graf, "Rejoice, Zebulun and Issachar, in your labour and your rest." This peculiarity, which is founded in the very nature of poetical parallelism, which is to individualize the thought by distributing it into parallel members, has been entirely overlooked by all the commentators who have given a historical interpretation to each, referring the "going out" to the shipping trade and commercial pursuits of the Zebulunites, and the expression "in thy tents" either to the spending of a nomad life in tents, for the purpose of performing a subordinate part in connection with trade (Schultz), or to the quiet pursuits of agriculture and grazing (Knobel). They were to rejoice in their undertakings at home and abroad; for they would be successful. The good things of life would flow to them in rich abundance; they would not make them into mammon, however, but would invite nations to the mountain, and there offer sacrifices of righteousness. "The peoples" are nations generally, not the tribes of Israel, still less the members of their own tribes. By the "mountain," without any more precise definition, we are not to understand Tabor or Carmel any more than the mountain land of Canaan. It is rather "the mountain of the Lord's inheritance" (Exodus 15:17), upon which the Lord was about to plant His people, the mountain which the Lord had chosen for His sanctuary, and in which His people were to dwell with Him, and rejoice in sacrificial meals of fellowship with Him. To this end the Lord had sanctified Moriah through the sacrifice of Isaac which He required of Abraham, though it had not been revealed to Moses that it was there that the temple, in which the name of the Lord in Israel would dwell, was afterwards to be built. There is no distinct or direct allusion to Morah or Zion, as the temple-mountain, involved in the words of Moses. It was only by later revelations and appointments on the part of God that this was to be made known. The words simply contain the Messianic thought that Zebulun and Issachar would offer rich praise-offerings and thank-offerings to the Lord, from the abundant supply of earthly good that would flow to them, upon the mountain which He would make ready as the seat of His gracious presence, and would call, i.e., invite the nations to the sacrificial meals connected with them to delight themselves with them in the rich gifts of the Lord, and worship the Lord who blessed His people thus. For the explanation of this thought, see Psalm 22:28-31. Sacrifice is mentioned here as an expression of divine worship, which culminated in sacrifice; and slain-offerings are mentioned, not burnt-offerings, to set forth the worship of God under the aspect of blessedness in fellowship with the Lord. "Slain-offerings of righteousness' are not merely outwardly legal sacrifices, in conformity with the ritual of the law, but such as were offered in a right spirit, which was well-pleasing to God (as in Psalm 4:6; Psalm 51:21). It follows as a matter of course, therefore, that by the abundance of the seas we are not merely to understand the profits of trade upon the Mediterranean Sea; and that we are still less to understand by the hidden treasures of the sand "the fish, the purple snails, and sponges" (Knobel), or "tunny-fish, purple shells, and glass' (Ps. Jon.); but that the words receive their best exposition from Isaiah 60:5-6, Isaiah 60:16, and Isaiah 66:11-12, i.e., that the thought expressed is, that the riches and treasures of both sea and land would flow to the tribes of Israel.
Deuteronomy 33:18 Interlinear
Deuteronomy 33:18 Parallel Texts

Deuteronomy 33:18 NIV
Deuteronomy 33:18 NLT
Deuteronomy 33:18 ESV
Deuteronomy 33:18 NASB
Deuteronomy 33:18 KJV

Deuteronomy 33:18 Bible Apps
Deuteronomy 33:18 Parallel
Deuteronomy 33:18 Biblia Paralela
Deuteronomy 33:18 Chinese Bible
Deuteronomy 33:18 French Bible
Deuteronomy 33:18 German Bible

Bible Hub

Deuteronomy 33:17
Top of Page
Top of Page