פָּרָשַׁת וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה | Parashat v’Zōt haBrakhah (Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12), color-coded according to its narrative layers

According to the poetry of the Midrash Tanḥuma, Bereshit 1:1, the words of the Torah were inscribed “black fire on white fire.” For many years, I’ve wanted to look deeply into the black fire and visualize the full spectrum of the Torah’s sources, hidden within the black fire but revealed through a critical analysis of its layers of redaction. Below, I’ve set the text of the first Torah portion in the annual Torah reading cycle, using color-coding to distinguish the stratigraphic layers forming the composition of the Masoretic text according to the Supplementary Hypothesis presented by Tsemaḥ Yoreh in his Kernel to Canon series of books (2013-2017) and his website, the Sources of Biblical Narrative. As Dr. Yoreh explains,

The Supplementary Hypothesis asserts that the Pentateuch was composed by several different writers. This reflects an overwhelming academic consensus on Biblical authorship, even among scholars who do not subscribe to the Supplementary Hypothesis in particular.[….] According to the Supplementary Hypothesis, Biblical narrative is layered. No editor took a blowtorch to the parts of the Bible he disagreed with and destroyed them; if he had, we would not find these repetitions and contradictions. Instead, Biblical narrative began with a coherent, foundational bedrock, which over time accreted more and more storylines. Unlike geological processes, though, this process of addition was deliberate. What happened if one author disagreed with his predecessor’s storyline or worldview? He did not simply take an axe to the narrative; instead, he attempted to bury his predecessor’s point of view by repeating his own over and over again, thus skewing our understanding of the story in new ways. Every generation of readers sees the world differently, and thus every generation of writers seeks to adapt their predecessors’ cultural heritage to their own situation. We are not meant simply to dismiss earlier stories; rather, the intention of later writers is to transform our understanding of those stories via their additions.

Legend

⬛ Most of the book of Deuteronomy (sefer Devarim) is considered the composite of three layers of redaction, ‘D1,’ ‘D2,’ and ‘Dp.’ Together, these layers (commonly referred to as the ‘Deuteronomist’) are thought to have formed by a complex process that reached probably from the 7th century BCE to the early 5th. This strata is primarily responsible for incorporating the law code of Deuteronomy into the Pentateuch. D1, as it is called, also adds a layer of redaction concerned with theodicy in the books of Joshua-Kings. D1 appears here in BLACK text.

⬛ This strata, called D2, shares a particularly non-Judean perspective following the split between the north (Ephraim/Yisrael) and the south (Yehudah) after the reign of Shlomo haMelekh, a perspective that was ignored by D1 (and successive authors). In Deuteronomy, D2 adds hortatory (sermons) to D1’s narrative introduction at the beginning of Deuteronomy (the focus of which is the observation of the commandments and divine justice), and otherwise supplements D1’s work. (A few verses in Parashat Bo in the book of Exodus are also attributed to D2.) D2 appears here in RUST-BROWN text.

⬛ This strata is thought to have been composed in the late 8th or early 7th century BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah. This layer, commonly known as ‘J’, is indicated with a BLUE text. Vayelekh is the the last parashah in the Pentateuch that J appears in, and the only parashah J appears in sefer Devarim.

⬛ This strata popularized Kohanite law for the remnant of Judah after the Temple was destroyed, and functioned as an intermediary between Kohanite lists and laws and the surrounding narrative. This layer, which Dr. Yoreh calls ‘H’ (for the ‘Holiness Code’) appears here in LIME-GREEN text.

Parashat v’Zōt haBrakhah (Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12) in the annual Torah reading cycle is the eleventh and final parashah in Sefer Devarim. It is preceded by parashat Haazinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52). Parashat Bereshit, the first parashah in the Pentateuch, follows it. The story of the conquest of the land of K’naan under the leadership of Yehoshua ben Nun continues in the book of Yehoshua (Joshua).

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

לג א וְזֹ֣את הַבְּרָכָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר בֵּרַ֥ךְ מֹשֶׁ֛ה אִ֥ישׁ הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לִפְנֵ֖י מוֹתֽוֹ׃ ב וַיֹּאמַ֗ר
33 1 Now this is the blessing with which Mosheh the man of Elohim blessed the Children of Yisra’el before his death. 2 He said:

יְהֹוָ֞ה מִסִּינַ֥י בָּא֙
וְזָרַ֤ח מִשֵּׂעִיר֙ לָ֔מוֹ
הוֹפִ֙יעַ֙ מֵהַ֣ר פָּארָ֔ן
וְאָתָ֖ה מֵרִבְבֹ֣ת קֹ֑דֶשׁ
מִימִינ֕וֹ [אשדת] אֵ֥שׁ דָּ֖ת לָֽמוֹ׃
ג אַ֚ף חֹבֵ֣ב עַמִּ֔ים
כׇּל־קְדֹשָׁ֖יו בְּיָדֶ֑ךָ
וְהֵם֙ תֻּכּ֣וּ לְרַגְלֶ֔ךָ
יִשָּׂ֖א מִדַּבְּרֹתֶֽיךָ׃

ד תּוֹרָ֥ה צִוָּה־לָ֖נוּ מֹשֶׁ֑ה
מוֹרָשָׁ֖ה קְהִלַּ֥ת יַעֲקֹֽב׃

ה וַיְהִ֥י בִישֻׁר֖וּן מֶ֑לֶךְ
בְּהִתְאַסֵּף֙ רָ֣אשֵׁי עָ֔ם
יַ֖חַד שִׁבְטֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

“YHVH from Sinai came,
he shone forth from Se’ir for them,
radiating from Mount Paran,
approaching from Rivevot Qodesh,
at his right-hand, a fiery stream for them.
3 Though he has-affection-for the peoples,
all his holy-ones (are) in your hand,
they place themselves at your feet,
bearing your words.

4 Torah/Instruction did Mosheh command us,
a possession the assembly of Yaaqov.

5 Now he became king in Yeshurun
when there gathered the heads of the people,
together, the tribes of Yisra’el!”

ו יְחִ֥י רְאוּבֵ֖ן וְאַל־יָמֹ֑ת
וִיהִ֥י מְתָ֖יו מִסְפָּֽר׃

6 “May Re’uven live and not die,
but let his menfolk be few-in-number.”

ז וְזֹ֣את לִיהוּדָה֮ וַיֹּאמַר֒
שְׁמַ֤ע יְהֹוָה֙ ק֣וֹל יְהוּדָ֔ה
וְאֶל־עַמּ֖וֹ תְּבִיאֶ֑נּוּ
יָדָיו֙ רָ֣ב ל֔וֹ
וְעֵ֥זֶר מִצָּרָ֖יו תִּהְיֶֽה׃

7 And this to Yehudah, he said:
“Hearken, O YHVH, to the voice of Yehudah,
to his kinspeople bring him,
his hands’-strength great for him.
A help against his foes may you be!”

שני ח וּלְלֵוִ֣י אָמַ֔ר
תֻּמֶּ֥יךָ וְאוּרֶ֖יךָ לְאִ֣ישׁ חֲסִידֶ֑ךָ
אֲשֶׁ֤ר נִסִּיתוֹ֙ בְּמַסָּ֔ה
תְּרִיבֵ֖הוּ עַל־מֵ֥י מְרִיבָֽה׃
ט הָאֹמֵ֞ר לְאָבִ֤יו וּלְאִמּוֹ֙
לֹ֣א רְאִיתִ֔יו
וְאֶת־אֶחָיו֙ לֹ֣א הִכִּ֔יר
וְאֶת־בָּנָ֖ו לֹ֣א יָדָ֑ע
כִּ֤י שָֽׁמְרוּ֙ אִמְרָתֶ֔ךָ
וּבְרִיתְךָ֖ יִנְצֹֽרוּ׃

י יוֹר֤וּ מִשְׁפָּטֶ֙יךָ֙ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב
וְתוֹרָתְךָ֖ לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל

יָשִׂ֤ימוּ קְטוֹרָה֙ בְּאַפֶּ֔ךָ
וְכָלִ֖יל עַֽל־מִזְבְּחֶֽךָ׃
יא בָּרֵ֤ךְ יְהֹוָה֙ חֵיל֔וֹ
וּפֹ֥עַל יָדָ֖יו תִּרְצֶ֑ה
מְחַ֨ץ מׇתְנַ֧יִם קָמָ֛יו
וּמְשַׂנְאָ֖יו מִן־יְקוּמֽוּן׃

8 To Levi he said:
“Your Tummim and your Urim for your loyal man,
whom you tested at Massah/Testing,
you quarreled with him by the waters of Merivah/Quarreling.
9 Who says of his father and of his mother:
‘I have not seen them,
his brother he does not recognize,
and his children he does not acknowledge —
for they have guarded your sayings,
your covenant they have watched over.

10 Let them instruct your regulations to Yaaqov,
your Torah/Instruction to Yisra’el,

putting smoking-incense in your nostrils,
and complete-offerings on your slaughter-site.
11 Bless, O YHVH, his wherewithal,
and the works of his hands, accept-with-favor;
smash the loins of those rising up against him,
those hating him, from rising up!”

יב לְבִנְיָמִ֣ן אָמַ֔ר
יְדִ֣יד יְהֹוָ֔ה
יִשְׁכֹּ֥ן לָבֶ֖טַח עָלָ֑יו
חֹפֵ֤ף עָלָיו֙ כׇּל־הַיּ֔וֹם
וּבֵ֥ין כְּתֵפָ֖יו שָׁכֵֽן׃

12 To Binyamin he said:
“The beloved of YHVH!
He dwells securely upon him,
he surrounds him every day,
as between his shoulders he dwells.”

שלישי יג וּלְיוֹסֵ֣ף אָמַ֔ר
מְבֹרֶ֥כֶת יְהֹוָ֖ה אַרְצ֑וֹ
מִמֶּ֤גֶד שָׁמַ֙יִם֙ מִטָּ֔ל
וּמִתְּה֖וֹם רֹבֶ֥צֶת תָּֽחַת׃
יד וּמִמֶּ֖גֶד תְּבוּאֹ֣ת שָׁ֑מֶשׁ
וּמִמֶּ֖גֶד גֶּ֥רֶשׁ יְרָחִֽים׃
טו וּמֵרֹ֖אשׁ הַרְרֵי־קֶ֑דֶם
וּמִמֶּ֖גֶד גִּבְע֥וֹת עוֹלָֽם׃
טז וּמִמֶּ֗גֶד אֶ֚רֶץ וּמְלֹאָ֔הּ
וּרְצ֥וֹן שֹׁכְנִ֖י סְנֶ֑ה
תָּב֙וֹאתָה֙ לְרֹ֣אשׁ יוֹסֵ֔ף
וּלְקׇדְקֹ֖ד נְזִ֥יר אֶחָֽיו׃
יז בְּכ֨וֹר שׁוֹר֜וֹ הָדָ֣ר ל֗וֹ
וְקַרְנֵ֤י רְאֵם֙ קַרְנָ֔יו
בָּהֶ֗ם עַמִּ֛ים יְנַגַּ֥ח יַחְדָּ֖ו אַפְסֵי־אָ֑רֶץ
וְהֵם֙ רִבְב֣וֹת אֶפְרַ֔יִם
וְהֵ֖ם אַלְפֵ֥י מְנַשֶּֽׁה׃

13 To Yosef he said:
“Blessed by YHVH be his land,
from the excellence of the Heavens, from dew,
from Tehōm/Abyss crouching below,
14 from excellence of the sun’s produce,
from excellence of the moon’s crop.
15 And from the tops of the ancient hills,
from the excellence of the age-old mountains,
16 from the excellence of the land and its fullness,
the favor of the S’neh/Bush Dweller;
may it come on the head of Yosef,
on the brow of the consecrated-one among his brothers.
17 His firstling bull — it has splendor,
the horns of the re’em, his horns;
with them he shall gore the peoples together, the ends of the earth.
They are the myriads of Efrayim,
they are the thousands of Menasheh.”

רביעי יח וְלִזְבוּלֻ֣ן אָמַ֔ר
שְׂמַ֥ח זְבוּלֻ֖ן בְּצֵאתֶ֑ךָ
וְיִשָּׂשכָ֖ר בְּאֹהָלֶֽיךָ׃
יט עַמִּים֙ הַר־יִקְרָ֔אוּ
שָׁ֖ם יִזְבְּח֣וּ זִבְחֵי־צֶ֑דֶק
כִּ֣י שֶׁ֤פַע יַמִּים֙ יִינָ֔קוּ
וּשְׂפֻנֵ֖י טְמ֥וּנֵי חֽוֹל׃

18 To Zevulun he said:
“Rejoice, O Zevulun, in your going-out,
and Yissakhar, in your tents.
19 Peoples they will call to the hills,
there they will slaughter slaughter-offerings of victory,
for the abundance of the seas they will suck,
the hidden treasures of the sand.”

כ וּלְגָ֣ד אָמַ֔ר
בָּר֖וּךְ מַרְחִ֣יב גָּ֑ד
כְּלָבִ֣יא שָׁכֵ֔ן
וְטָרַ֥ף זְר֖וֹעַ אַף־קׇדְקֹֽד׃
כא וַיַּ֤רְא רֵאשִׁית֙ ל֔וֹ
כִּי־שָׁ֛ם חֶלְקַ֥ת מְחֹקֵ֖ק סָפ֑וּן

וַיֵּתֵא֙ רָ֣אשֵׁי עָ֔ם
צִדְקַ֤ת יְהֹוָה֙ עָשָׂ֔ה
וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֖יו עִם־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

20 To Gad he said:
“Blessed be he that expands Gad,
like a lioness[1]Cf. Genesis 49:9 he dwells,
tearing arm, yes, (and) brow.
21 He selected a premier-part for himself,
for there a portion for a ruler was reserved;

he approached (with) the heads of the people,
the justice of YHVH did he do,
his regulations along with Yisra’el.”

חמישי כב וּלְדָ֣ן אָמַ֔ר
דָּ֖ן גּ֣וּר אַרְיֵ֑ה
יְזַנֵּ֖ק מִן־הַבָּשָֽׁן׃

22 To Dan he said:
“Dan is a whelp of lions
leaping forth from Bashan.”

כג וּלְנַפְתָּלִ֣י אָמַ֔ר
נַפְתָּלִי֙ שְׂבַ֣ע רָצ֔וֹן
וּמָלֵ֖א בִּרְכַּ֣ת יְהֹוָ֑ה
יָ֥ם וְדָר֖וֹם יְרָֽשָׁה׃

23 To Naftali he said:
“Naftali is sated with favor,
full with the blessing of YHVH;
(of) sea and southland taking-possession!”

כד וּלְאָשֵׁ֣ר אָמַ֔ר
בָּר֥וּךְ מִבָּנִ֖ים אָשֵׁ֑ר
יְהִ֤י רְצוּי֙ אֶחָ֔יו
וְטֹבֵ֥ל בַּשֶּׁ֖מֶן רַגְלֽוֹ׃
כה בַּרְזֶ֥ל וּנְחֹ֖שֶׁת מִנְעָלֶ֑ךָ
וּכְיָמֶ֖יךָ דׇּבְאֶֽךָ׃

24 To Asher he said:
“Most blessed of sons, Asher!
May he be the favored-one of his brothers,
dipping his foot in oil.
25 Iron and bronze your bolts,
and as your days, your strength.”

כו אֵ֥ין כָּאֵ֖ל יְשֻׁר֑וּן
רֹכֵ֤ב שָׁמַ֙יִם֙ בְעֶזְרֶ֔ךָ
וּבְגַאֲוָת֖וֹ שְׁחָקִֽים׃

ששי כז מְעֹנָה֙ אֱלֹ֣הֵי קֶ֔דֶם
וּמִתַּ֖חַת זְרֹעֹ֣ת עוֹלָ֑ם
וַיְגָ֧רֶשׁ מִפָּנֶ֛יךָ אוֹיֵ֖ב
וַיֹּ֥אמֶר הַשְׁמֵֽד׃
כח וַיִּשְׁכֹּן֩ יִשְׂרָאֵ֨ל בֶּ֤טַח בָּדָד֙
עֵ֣ין יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב אֶל־אֶ֖רֶץ דָּגָ֣ן וְתִיר֑וֹשׁ
אַף־שָׁמָ֖יו יַ֥עַרְפוּ טָֽל׃
כט אַשְׁרֶ֨יךָ‏[2]בספרי תימן אַשְׁרֶ֨יךָ באל”ף גדולה יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל מִ֣י כָמ֗וֹךָ
עַ֚ם נוֹשַׁ֣ע בַּיהֹוָ֔ה מָגֵ֣ן עֶזְרֶ֔ךָ
וַאֲשֶׁר־חֶ֖רֶב גַּאֲוָתֶ֑ךָ
וְיִכָּחֲשׁ֤וּ אֹיְבֶ֙יךָ֙ לָ֔ךְ
וְאַתָּ֖ה עַל־בָּמוֹתֵ֥ימוֹ תִדְרֹֽךְ׃

26 “There is none like El, O Yeshurun,
riding (through) the Heavens to your help,
in his majesty in the skies.

27 A shelter is the Ancient Elo’ah,
beneath, the arms of the Ageless-one.
He drove out from before you the enemy,
saying, “Destroy!”
28 So Yisra’el will dwell in security, alone,
the fountain of Yaaqov, in a land of grain and new-wine;
yes, his Heavens drop down dew.
29 O your happiness, Yisra’el, who is like you,
a people delivered by YHVH, your helping shield,
who is your majestic sword!
Your enemies shall come-cringing to you,
and you — on their backs you will tread!”
[3]It is a big question what song J refers to when he says in 31:17,21 “My anger will be kindled against them in that day. I will forsake them and hide my face from them; they will become easy prey, and many terrible troubles will come upon them. In that day they will say, ‘Have not these troubles come upon us because our God is not in our midst? And when many terrible troubles come upon them, this song will be as a witness, because it will not be lost from the mouths of their descendants.” In other this song is supposed to prove that the Lord IS with them. It is difficult to imagine that the reference is to the song of Deuteronomy 32, which recounts a history showing how Israel became unfaithful to the Lord, and how the Lord punished them, this fits more with the vein of Deuteronomistic admonition. The second candidate for the song is Moses’ blessing to the tribes, which deals with the character of each of the tribes, and prophecies / hopes for the future, its purpose is clearly not to reassure. The present text is a description of the deity’s power and how it aids the Israelites, exactly what one would expect in a comforting song. Although it is difficult to discern any linguistic criteria connecting this poetic composition with J, it is the only song within these chapters that fits the bill.

שביעי לד א וַיַּ֨עַל מֹשֶׁ֜ה מֵעַרְבֹ֤ת מוֹאָב֙ אֶל־הַ֣ר נְב֔וֹ רֹ֚אשׁ הַפִּסְגָּ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־פְּנֵ֣י יְרֵח֑וֹ וַיַּרְאֵ֨הוּ יְהֹוָ֧ה אֶת־כׇּל־הָאָ֛רֶץ אֶת־הַגִּלְעָ֖ד עַד־דָּֽן׃ ב וְאֵת֙ כׇּל־נַפְתָּלִ֔י וְאֶת־אֶ֥רֶץ אֶפְרַ֖יִם וּמְנַשֶּׁ֑ה וְאֵת֙ כׇּל־אֶ֣רֶץ יְהוּדָ֔ה עַ֖ד הַיָּ֥ם הָאַחֲרֽוֹן׃ ג וְאֶת־הַנֶּ֗גֶב וְֽאֶת־הַכִּכָּ֞ר בִּקְעַ֧ת יְרֵח֛וֹ עִ֥יר הַתְּמָרִ֖ים עַד־צֹֽעַר׃ ד וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהֹוָ֜ה אֵלָ֗יו זֹ֤את הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נִ֠שְׁבַּ֠עְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָ֨ם לְיִצְחָ֤ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹב֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לְזַרְעֲךָ֖ אֶתְּנֶ֑נָּה הֶרְאִיתִ֣יךָ בְעֵינֶ֔יךָ וְשָׁ֖מָּה לֹ֥א תַעֲבֹֽר׃
34 1 Now Mosheh went up from the Plains of Moav to Mount Nevo, at the top of the Pisgah (Range) that faces Yereḥo; and YHVH let him see all the land: Gil’ad as far as Dan​, 2 and all Naftali, and the land of Efrayim and Menasheh, and all the land of Yehudah, as far as the Hindmost Sea, 3 and the Negev and the round-plain, the cleft of Yereḥo, the town of palms, as far as Tso’ar. 4 And YHVH said to him: “This is the land that I swore to Avraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Yaaqov, saying: ‘To your seed I give it!’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but there you shall not cross!”

ה וַיָּ֨מׇת שָׁ֜ם מֹשֶׁ֧ה עֶבֶד־יְהֹוָ֛ה בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מוֹאָ֖ב עַל־פִּ֥י יְהֹוָה׃ ו וַיִּקְבֹּ֨ר אֹת֤וֹ בַגַּי֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מוֹאָ֔ב מ֖וּל בֵּ֣ית פְּע֑וֹר וְלֹא־יָדַ֥ע אִישׁ֙ אֶת־קְבֻ֣רָת֔וֹ עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃
5 So there died there Mosheh, servant of YHVH, in the land of Moav, at the order of YHVH. 6 He buried him in a valley in the land of Moav, opposite Bet Pe’or, and no man has knowledge of the site of his burial-place until this day.

ז וּמֹשֶׁ֗ה בֶּן־מֵאָ֧ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֛ים שָׁנָ֖ה בְּמֹת֑וֹ לֹא־כָהֲתָ֥ה עֵינ֖וֹ וְלֹא־נָ֥ס לֵחֹֽה׃ ח וַיִּבְכּוּ֩ בְנֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֧ל אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֛ה בְּעַֽרְבֹ֥ת מוֹאָ֖ב שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים י֑וֹם וַֽיִּתְּמ֔וּ יְמֵ֥י בְכִ֖י אֵ֥בֶל מֹשֶֽׁה׃
7 Now Mosheh was a hundred and twenty years old at his death; his eye had not grown-dim, his vigor had not fled. 8 The Children of Yisra’el wept for Mosheh in the Plains of Moav for thirty days. Then the days of weeping in mourning for Mosheh were ended.

ט וִיהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן מָלֵא֙ ר֣וּחַ חׇכְמָ֔ה כִּֽי־סָמַ֥ךְ מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶת־יָדָ֖יו עָלָ֑יו וַיִּשְׁמְע֨וּ אֵלָ֤יו בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וַֽיַּעֲשׂ֔וּ כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה׃ י וְלֹא־קָ֨ם נָבִ֥יא ע֛וֹד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל כְּמֹשֶׁ֑ה אֲשֶׁר֙ יְדָע֣וֹ יְהֹוָ֔ה פָּנִ֖ים אֶל־פָּנִֽים׃ יא לְכׇל־הָ֨אֹתֹ֜ת וְהַמּוֹפְתִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֤ר שְׁלָחוֹ֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה לַעֲשׂ֖וֹת בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם לְפַרְעֹ֥ה וּלְכׇל־עֲבָדָ֖יו וּלְכׇל־אַרְצֽוֹ׃ יב וּלְכֹל֙ הַיָּ֣ד הַחֲזָקָ֔ה וּלְכֹ֖ל הַמּוֹרָ֣א הַגָּד֑וֹל אֲשֶׁר֙ עָשָׂ֣ה מֹשֶׁ֔ה לְעֵינֵ֖י כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
9 Now Yehoshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Mosheh had leaned his hands upon him, and (so) the Children of Yisra’el hearkened to him and did as YHVH had commanded Mosheh. 10 But there arose no further prophet in Yisra’el like Mosheh, whom YHVH knew face to face, 11 in all the signs and portents that YHVH sent him to do in the land of Mitsrayim, to Pharaoh and to all his servants, and to all his land; 12 and in all the strong hand and in all the great, awe-inspiring (acts) that Mosheh did before the eyes of all Yisra’el.

The Masoretic text presented here is from Rabbi Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish’s Miqra al pi ha-Mesorah. For the translation in English, I have adapted the translation of Everett Fox in the Schocken Bible (1997), mostly to re-Hebraize divine names, place names, and personal names. Instead of “king-of-beasts,” I use “lioness” per the JPS 1917 translation. Aside from these, I have made minor punctuation changes.

I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Tzemah Yoreh for sharing his work — may it reach a larger audience of people through this effort. Shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot naqeni (Psalms 19:13).

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Cf. Genesis 49:9
  2. בספרי תימן אַשְׁרֶ֨יךָ באל”ף גדולה
  3. It is a big question what song J refers to when he says in 31:17,21 “My anger will be kindled against them in that day. I will forsake them and hide my face from them; they will become easy prey, and many terrible troubles will come upon them. In that day they will say, ‘Have not these troubles come upon us because our God is not in our midst? And when many terrible troubles come upon them, this song will be as a witness, because it will not be lost from the mouths of their descendants.” In other this song is supposed to prove that the Lord IS with them. It is difficult to imagine that the reference is to the song of Deuteronomy 32, which recounts a history showing how Israel became unfaithful to the Lord, and how the Lord punished them, this fits more with the vein of Deuteronomistic admonition. The second candidate for the song is Moses’ blessing to the tribes, which deals with the character of each of the tribes, and prophecies / hopes for the future, its purpose is clearly not to reassure. The present text is a description of the deity’s power and how it aids the Israelites, exactly what one would expect in a comforting song. Although it is difficult to discern any linguistic criteria connecting this poetic composition with J, it is the only song within these chapters that fits the bill.

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