Blessings of Zebulun, Issachar, Gad, Dan, Naftali and Asher

Deuteronomy 33:18-29

Next, Moses blesses Zebulun and Issachar together, the former in their travels and the latter in their tents. He praises Gad for ‘executing God’s righteousness’, recognizing God for enlarging the tribe. He compares Dan to a leaping lion. He offers Naftali prosperity on the sea and in the south. He blesses Asher with oil and valuable metals.


After turning to each of the tribes individually, Moses offers his final words to the nation as a whole. Praising God, he notes that the Israelites should rejoice in being His chosen people, and appreciate that they have God to fight for them.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think Simeon is excluded from the tribal blessings?

Comments ( 6 )

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  • 1.It might be that Simeon was too small to mention separately, moreover 2.Simeon was living in the South in the Judah territory and in this way sharing in the blessings of Judah
    3.May be not mentioned because of Ja'acov had also scolded him (Gen. 49:5)
    4.This tribe was the main sinner at Baäl Peor in Num.25:15 mentioned

  • Herman

    This is for me a difficult point. G’d forgives, Moshe excludes without showing mercy ? In Shechem the planner of the genocide ? I am curiuos to know what our sages said about this.

    • Herman, Nachmanides’s answer may really appeal to you. He does not see the exclusion of Simeon as a punishment at all. Traditionally, only twelve tribes of Israel are reckoned at any given time. Usually, if Levi is included, Ephraim and Manasseh are grouped together as the tribe of Joseph, and if they are listed separately, Levi is typically the one left out. Here, however, Moses wanted to include Levi but also bless Ephraim and Manasseh separately. He opted instead to exclude Simeon, because their small portion in the land of Israel (they are the smallest of the tribes and therefore receive the smallest allotment of land) is completely surrounded by the tribe of Judah. Thus, the blessings of Judah will spill over onto the members of Simeon.

  • Sheila

    does this relate back to what happened at Shechem where there was no evidence of repentance and with no definite allotment of territory? Gen 49:5 -7 links him with Levi and foretold that their descendants would be divided and scattered. Josh19:1-9 their portion of inheritance was within the portion of Judah’s inheritance. Please put more light on this as I sense there is something I am missing. Thanks Ahuva.

    • Hi, Sheila. This is a great answer! In fact, it is more or less the conclusion Medieval commentator Ibn Ezra draws. He adds that Simeon was the primary tribe participating in the sin of Baal Peor. Nachmanides offers a different suggestion, but I want to give others a chance to weigh in with their own ideas first. Later in the week, I’ll share Nachmanides’s idea with everyone.

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