Deuteronomy 33:22
And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.
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(22) Dan is a lion’s whelp.—Jacob compared him to a serpent and an adder. The lion of the tribe of Dan is not like the lion of the tribe of Judah.

He shall leap from Bashan.—The taking of Laish is probably referred to. It was a sudden, treacherous surprise, like the spring of a lion on his prey (Judges 18:27-28). The “hill of Bashan” is opposed to God’s hill in Psalm 68:15. The “king of Bashan” are reproved (Amos 4:1). The “bulls of Bashan” represent the enemies of Christ in Psalm 22:12.

O Naphtali . . . possess thou the west (literally, the sea) and the south.—This is not easy to interpret literally. The only sea in Naphtali’s inheritance was the Sea of Galilee. If we look on to the days when that sea becomes famous in Holy Scripture, we find our Saviour dwelling in “the land of Zeoulun and the land of Naphtali,” and through his Galilean followers possessing the west and the south, taking the “nations for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for His possession.”

Deuteronomy 33:22. A lion’s whelp — Courageous, and generous, and strong, and successful against his enemies. Which leapeth from Bashan — Because there were many and fierce lions in those parts, whence they used to come forth and leap upon the prey. Or this may refer either to the particular victories obtained by Samson, who was of the tribe of Dan, or to a more general achievement of that tribe, when a party of them surprised Laish, which lay in the furthest part of the land of Canaan from them. And the mountain of Bashan lying not far from that city, from whence they probably made their descent upon it, thus leaping from Bashan.

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.Dan shall be like a lion which leaps forth from his covert in Bashan. Compare Sol 4:8. 22. Dan is a lion's whelp—His proper settlement in the south of Canaan being too small, he by a sudden and successful irruption, established a colony in the northern extremity of the land. This might well be described as the leap of a young lion from the hills of Bashan. Lion’s whelp, i.e. courageous, and generous, and strong, and successful against his enemies.

He shall leap from Bashan, or, which leapeth from Bashan; for this clause seems not to belong to the tribe of Dan, which was at a great distance from Bashan, even at the other end of the land, and therefore this seems too great a leap for him; and if he did leap so far, he should rather be said to take his leap from his own lot in the south of Canaan, and thence to leap not from Bashan, but to Bashan, to fall upon his enemies there: but it rather is a continuation of the metaphor, and belongs to the lion, which is said to leap from Bashan, because there were many and fierce lions in those parts; see Judges 14:5; whence they used to come forth to prey, and their manner was to leap upon the prey.

And of Dan he said,.... Of the tribe of Dan, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem:

Dan is a lion's whelp; or like one for boldness, strength, and courage; and was verified in Samson, who was of this tribe; who, when a young lion roared against him, the Spirit of the Lord came on him, and he tore it to pieces, Judges 14:5,

he shall leap from Bashan; not Dan, for he was seated far from that country; but the sense is, he was like to a young lion for its strength, when it leaps from Bashan, as Aben Ezra rightly explains it. Bashan was a mountain in which lions haunted, and from whence they might be said to leap, as they do when they seize on their prey: it may have some respect to the leap of the Danites from the northwest part of the land of Israel, where they were settled, but was not sufficient for them, to the northeast of it, when they went against Leshem, and took it, and called it Dan; see Joshua 19:47.

And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.
22 And of Dan he said:

Dan, a whelp of a lion,

He leaps from Bashán.

22. The situation assigned is that northern one, to which the tribe migrated from their earlier seat in the South (Jdg 18:7). They settled at Laish (a poetical term for lion) or Leshem, thereafter called Dan, which is usually identified with Tell-el-Ḳadi (Ḳadi = Dan) in the valley of Jordan below Ḥermon. But because of the military weakness of this site and the impossibility of holding the valley—the main northern avenue into Palestine—except from the heights above the neighbouring Banias, on which stand the ruins of the Crusaders’ Castle, eṣ-Ṣubeibeh, the present writer has argued (HGHL, 473, 479 ff.) that the site of Laish or Dan must have been on these heights. This is confirmed by the present v. he leaps from Bashán, a name which never covers the Jordan valley where Tell-el-Ḳadi lies, but is applicable to the heights to the E. of it.—The oracle in Genesis 49:16 f. reflects this post of vantage over the entrance of invaders from the N.

Verse 22. - Jacob compared Dan to a serpent that suddenly springs forth by the way, and bites the heels of a horse so that the rider falls backward. Moses here compares the tribe to a young lion that suddenly leaps from its lair in Bashan on the object of its attack. Both similitudes relate to the vigor and force which the tribe should display in conflict. Deuteronomy 33:22Dan is "a young lion which springs out of Bashan." Whilst Jacob compared him to a serpent by the way, which suddenly bites a horse's feet, so that its rider falls backward, Moses gives greater prominence to the strength which Dan would display in conflict with foes, by calling him a young lion which suddenly springs out of its ambush. The reference to Bashan has nothing to do with the expedition of the Danites against Laish, in the valley of Rehoboth (Judges 18:28), as this valley did not belong to Bashan. It is to be explained from the simple fact, that in the regions of eastern Bashan, which abound with caves, and more especially in the woody western slopes of Jebel Hauran, many lions harboured, which rushed forth from the thicket, and were very dangerous enemies to the herds of Bashan. Even if no other express testimonies to this fact are to be found it may be inferred from the description given of the eastern spurs of Antilibanus in the Song of Sol. (Sol 4:8), as the abodes of lions and leopards. The meaning leap forth, spring out, is confirmed by both the context and dialects, though the word only occurs here.
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