*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Deuteronomy 33:7 meaning

Moses pronounced blessings on the tribe of Judah.

Moses continues the poem of blessing he pronounced upon Israel that he began in Deuteronomy 33:1. The next verse contains what Moses said of Judah (v. 7), the fourth son of Jacob by Leah (Genesis 29:35). As with his blessing on Reuben (see v. 6 above), Moses’ blessing on Judah was in the form of a prayer, asking the LORD to hear the voice of Judah. The tribe of Judah was positioned at the head of the Israelite procession during the exodus (Numbers 2:9). This would cause them to be first to engage in battle.

This would result in Judah crying to the LORD for help and victory in battle, which was why Moses asked the LORD to hear the voice of Judah when calling for help. This is probably the meaning in light of Moses saying that with his hands he contended for them. Judah would engage in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy because they were at the front (or east side) of the assembly during the exodus (Numbers 2:3). Because of this, they would bear the brunt of the battle, and Moses was asking the LORD to be a help against his adversaries. Later, the adversaries would be the Canaanites.

Another reason Judah might call for the LORD’s help was because the tribe would be isolated from the other tribes and thus their adversaries. After the death of King Solomon in 931 BC, the kingdom of Israel, which had been unified under David and Solomon, was split apart into a northern kingdom (Israel or Samaria) and a southern kingdom (Judah). This happened because Solomon’s son and successor, Rehoboam, rejected the advice of the elders who told him to modify and ease Solomon’s policies of taxation and forced labor, giving them a “tax cut.” But, when all the people of Israel “saw that the king did not listen to them, Israel” (the ten northern tribes) “departed to their tents… None but the tribe of Judah followed the house of David” (1 Kings 12:16-20). As a result, the other tribes formed the northern kingdom, and only Judah (and later Benjamin) comprised the southern kingdom (1 Kings 12:21, 23) (see map in Additional Resources ).

Many years earlier, Jacob had blessed Judah as the ruler of the other tribes (Genesis 49:8-10). As history shows, Judah produced many kings. King David was of the tribe of Judah (1 Samuel 17:12), and the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah (Numbers 24:17; Hebrews 5:7).

Biblical Text

And this regarding Judah; so he said,
Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah,
And bring him to his people.
With his hands he contended for them,
And may You be a help against his adversaries.

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