Deuteronomy 33:2

2 He said: “The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came witha myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes.b

Read Deuteronomy 33:2 Using Other Translations

And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
He said, "The LORD came from Sinai and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran; he came from the ten thousands of holy ones, with flaming fire at his right hand.
“The LORD came from Mount Sinai and dawned upon us from Mount Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran and came from Meribah-kadesh with flaming fire at his right hand.

What does Deuteronomy 33:2 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Deuteronomy 33:2

And he said
What follows, of which, in some things, he was an eye and ear witness, and in others was inspired by the Spirit of God, to deliver his mind and will concerning the future case and state of the several tribes, after he had observed the common benefit and blessing they all enjoyed, by having such a law given them in the manner it was:

the Lord came from Sinai;
there he first appeared to Moses, and sent him to Egypt, and wrought miracles by him, and delivered his people Israel from thence, and when they were come to this mount he came down on it, as Aben Ezra, from Gaon, or he came "to" it; so to Zion, ( Isaiah 59:20 ) , is "out of" or "from Zion", ( Romans 11:26 ) ; here he appeared and gave the law, and from thence went with Israel through the wilderness, and conducted them to the land of Canaan:

and rose up from Seir unto them:
not to the Edomites which inhabited Seir, as say Jarchi, and the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, but to the Israelites when they compassed the land of Edom; and the Lord was with them, and gave them some signal proofs of his power and providence, kindness and goodness, to them; particularly, as some observe, by appointing a brazen serpent to be erected for the cure those bitten by fiery ones, which was a type of the glorious Redeemer and Saviour, and this was done on the borders of Edom, see ( Numbers 21:4 Numbers 21:8 ) ; for the words here denote some illustrious appearance of the Lord, like that of the rising sun; so the Targum of Onkelos,

``the brightness of his glory from Seir was shown unto us;''

and that of Jonathan,

``and the brightness of the glory of his Shechinah went from Gebal:''

he shined forth from Mount Paran:
in which the metaphor of the sun rising is continued, and as expressive of its increasing light and splendour: near to this mount was a wilderness of the same name, through which the children of Israel travelled, and where the Lord appeared to them: here the cloud rested when they removed from Sinai; here, or near it, the Spirit of the Lord was given to the seventy elders, and from hence the spies were sent into the land of Canaan, ( Numbers 10:12 ) ( 11:24 ) ( 12:16 ) ( 13:3 ) ; in this wilderness Ishmael and his posterity dwelt, ( Genesis 21:21 ) ; but it was not to them the Lord shone forth here, as say the above Jewish writers, and others F4; but to the Israelites, for here Moses repeated the law, or delivered to them what is contained in the book of Deuteronomy, see ( Deuteronomy 1:1 ) ; beside, in a literal sense, as these mountains were very near one another, as Saadiah Gaon observes, the great light which shone on Mount Sinai, when the Lord descended on it, might extend to the other mountains and illuminate them, see ( Habakkuk 3:3 ) ;

and he came with ten thousands of saints:
or holy angels, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and so Jarchi; which sense is confirmed by the authorities of Stephen the protomartyr, and the Apostle Paul, who speak of the law as given by the disposition of angels, they being present, attending and assisting on that solemn occasion, ( Acts 7:57 ) ( Galatians 3:19 ) ( Hebrews 2:2 ) ; see ( Psalms 68:17 ) ; the appearance of those holy spirits in such great numbers added to the grandeur and solemnity of the giving of the holy law to the people of Israel, as the attendance of the same on Christ at his second coming will add to the lustre and glory of it, ( Luke 9:26 ) ( 2 Thessalonians 1:7 2 Thessalonians 1:8 ) ;

from his right hand [went] a fiery law for them:
the Israelites; Aben Ezra thinks the phrase, "his right hand", is in connection with the preceding clause; and the sense is, that fire came from the law, thousands of saints were at the right hand of God to surround Israel, as the horses of fire and chariots of fire surrounded Elisha; and the meaning of the last words, "a law for them", a law which stands or abides continually; and so the Septuagint version is,

``at his right hand angels with him:''

no doubt that law is meant which came from God on Mount Sinai, by the ministration of angels, into the hand of Moses; called a fiery law, because it was given out of the midst of the fire, ( Deuteronomy 5:26 ) ; so the Targum of Onkelos,

``the writing of his right hand out of the midst of fire, the law he gave unto us;''

and because of its effects on the consciences of men, where it pierces and penetrates like fire, and works a sense of wrath and fiery indignation in them, by reason of the transgressions of it, it being the ministration of condemnation and death on that account; and, because of its use, it serves as a lantern to the feet, and a light to the path of good men: this law may include the judicial and ceremonial laws given at this time; but it chiefly respects the moral law, and which may be said to come from God, who, as Creator, has a right to be Governor of his creature, and to enact what laws he pleases, and from his right hand, in allusion to men's writing with their right hand, this being written by the finger of God; and because a peculiar gift of his to the Israelites, gifts being given by the right hand of men; and may denote the authority and power with which this law came enforced, and Christ seems to be the person from whose right hand it came: see ( Psalms 68:17 Psalms 68:18 ) ( Acts 7:38 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F4 Vid. Pirke Eliezer, c. 41.
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