Deuteronomy 33:17
Parallel Verses
New International Version
In majesty he is like a firstborn bull; his horns are the horns of a wild ox. With them he will gore the nations, even those at the ends of the earth. Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim; such are the thousands of Manasseh."

King James Bible
His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

Darby Bible Translation
His majesty is as the firstling of his ox; And his horns are as the horns of a buffalo. With them shall he push the peoples Together to the ends of the earth. These are the myriads of Ephraim, And these are the thousands of Manasseh.

World English Bible
The firstborn of his herd, majesty is his. His horns are the horns of the wild ox. With them he shall push the peoples all of them, [even] the ends of the earth: They are the ten thousands of Ephraim. They are the thousands of Manasseh."

Young's Literal Translation
His honour is a firstling of his ox, And his horns are horns of a reem; By them peoples he doth push together To the ends of earth; And they are the myriads of Ephraim, And they are the thousands of Manasseh.

Deuteronomy 33:17 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

His glory is like the firstling of his bullock - This similitude is very obscure. A bullock was the most excellent of animals among the Jews, not only because of its acceptableness in sacrifice to God, but because of its great usefulness in agriculture. There is something peculiarly noble and dignified in the appearance of the ox, and his greatest ornament are his fine horns; these the inspired penman has particularly in view, as the following clause proves; and it is well known that in Scriptural language horns are the emblem of strength, glory, and sovereignty; Psalm 75:5, Psalm 75:10; Psalm 89:17, Psalm 89:24; Psalm 112:9; Daniel 8:3, etc.; Luke 1:69; Revelation 17:3, etc.

His horns are like the horns of unicorns - ראם reem, which we translate unicorn, from the μονοκερως monokeros of the Septuagint, signifies, according to Bochart, the mountain goat; and according to others, the rhinoceros, a very large quadruped with one great horn on his nose, from which circumstance his name is derived. See the notes on Numbers 23:22; Numbers 24:8. Reem is in the singular number, and because the horns of a unicorn, a one-horned animal, would have appeared absurd, our translators, with an unfaithfulness not common to them, put the word in the plural number.

To the ends of the earth - Of the land of Canaan, for Joshua with his armies conquered all this land, and drove the ancient inhabitants out before him.

They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, etc. - That is, The horns signify the ten thousands of Ephraim, and the thousands of Manasseh. Jacob prophesied, Genesis 48:19, that the younger should be greater than the elder; so here Tens of thousands are given to Ephraim, and only thousands to Manasseh. See the census, Numbers 1:33-35 (note).

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the firstling

1 Chronicles 5:1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but for as much as he defiled his father's bed...

his horns

Numbers 23:22 God brought them out of Egypt; he has as it were the strength of an unicorn.

Numbers 24:8 God brought him forth out of Egypt; he has as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies...

Job 39:9,10 Will the unicorn be willing to serve you, or abide by your crib...

Psalm 22:21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for you have heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

Psalm 29:6 He makes them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.

Psalm 92:10 But my horn shall you exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.

Isaiah 34:7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood...

unicorns [heb] an unicorn
he shall push

1 Kings 22:11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus said the LORD, With these shall you push the Syrians...

2 Chronicles 18:10 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus said the LORD...

Psalm 44:5 Through you will we push down our enemies: through your name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

the ten thousands

Genesis 48:19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great...

Numbers 26:34,37 These are the families of Manasseh, and those that were numbered of them, fifty and two thousand and seven hundred...

Hosea 5:3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, you commit prostitution, and Israel is defiled.

Hosea 6:4 O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? for your goodness is as a morning cloud...

Hosea 7:1 When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood...

Library
Israel the Beloved
'The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between His shoulders.'--DEUT. xxxiii. 12. Benjamin was his father's favourite child, and the imagery of this promise is throughout drawn from the relations between such a child and its father. So far as the future history of the tribes is shadowed in these 'blessings' of this great ode, the reference of the text may be to the tribe of Benjamin, as specially distinguished by Saul
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Shoes of Iron, and Strength Sufficient: a New Year's Promise
"And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be."--Deuteronomy 33:24-25. I once heard an old minister say that he thought the blessing of Asher was peculiarly the blessing of ministers; and his eyes twinkled as he added, "At any rate, they are usually blessed with children, and it is a great blessing for them if they are acceptable to their
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 35: 1889

On Deut. xxxiii. Ii
On Deut. xxxiii. II Hippolytus, the expositor of the Targum, has said that Moses, when he had finished this prophecy, also pronounced a blessing upon all the children of Israel, by their several tribes, and prayed for them. Then God charged Moses, saying to him, Go up to Mount Nebo, which indeed is known by the name of the mount of the Hebrews, which is in the land of Moab over against Jericho. And He said to him: View the land of Chanaan, which I am to give to the children of Israel for an inheritance.
Hippolytus—The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus

The Best Things Work for Good to the Godly
WE shall consider, first, what things work for good to the godly; and here we shall show that both the best things and the worst things work for their good. We begin with the best things. 1. God's attributes work for good to the godly. (1). God's power works for good. It is a glorious power (Col. i. 11), and it is engaged for the good of the elect. God's power works for good, in supporting us in trouble. "Underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deut. xxxiii. 27). What upheld Daniel in the lion's den?
Thomas Watson—A Divine Cordial

Cross References
Numbers 23:22
God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox.

1 Samuel 2:1
Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.

1 Kings 22:11
Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, "This is what the LORD says: 'With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.'"

Job 39:9
"Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will it stay by your manger at night?

Psalm 44:5
Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes.

Psalm 60:7
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah is my scepter.

Ezekiel 34:21
Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away,

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Buffalo Bull Bullock Earth Ends Ephraim Herd Honour Horns Majesty Manasseh Mountain Myriads Once Ox Peoples Push Reem Ten Thousands Together Unicorns Wild Wild-Ox Wounded
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Buffalo Bull Bullock Earth Ends Ephraim Herd Honour Horns Majesty Manasseh Mountain Myriads Once Ox Peoples Push Reem Ten Thousands Together Unicorns Wild Wild-Ox Wounded
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