Deuteronomy 33:6


King James Version (KJV)

Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.

American King James Version (AKJV)

Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.

American Standard Version (ASV)

Let Reuben live, and not die; Nor let his men be few.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

Let life not death be Reuben's, let not the number of his men be small.

Webster's Revision

Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.

World English Bible

"Let Reuben live, and not die; Nor let his men be few."

English Revised Version (ERV)

Let Reuben live, and not die; Yet let his men be few.

Definitions for Deuteronomy 33:6

Let - To hinder or obstruct.

Clarke's Deuteronomy 33:6 Bible Commentary

Let Reuben live, and not die - Though his life and his blessings have been forfeited by his transgression with his father's concubine, Genesis 49:3, Genesis 49:4; and in his rebellion with Korah, Numbers 16:1-3, etc., let him not become extinct as a tribe in Israel. "It is very usual," says Mr. Ainsworth, "in the Scripture, to set down things of importance and earnestness, by affirmation of the one part, and denial of the other; Isaiah 38:1 : Thou shalt die, and not live; Numbers 4:19 : That they may live, and not die; Psalm 118:17 : I shall not die, but live; Genesis 43:8 : That we may live, and not die; Jeremiah 20:14 : Cursed be the day - let not that day be blessed; 1 John 2:4 : He is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 1 John 2:27 : Is truth, and no lie; John 1:20 : He confessed, and denied not; 1 Samuel 1:11 : Remember me, and not forget thy handmaid; Deuteronomy 9:7 : Remember, forget not; Deuteronomy 32:6 : O foolish people, and unwise. In all these places it is evident that there is a peculiar emphasis in this form of expression, as if he had said, Let him not only not die, but let him live in great and increasing peace and prosperity. Do not only not forget me, but keep me continually in remembrance. He denied not, but confessed Fully and Particularly. O foolish people - silly and stupid, and unwise - destitute of all true wisdom."

And let not his men be few - It is possible that this clause belongs to Simeon. In the Alexandrian copy of the Septuagint the clause stands thus: Και Συμεων εστω πολυς εν αριτμῳ, and let Simeon be very numerous, but none of the other versions insert the word. As the negative particle is not in the Hebrew, but is supplied in our translation, and the word Simeon is found in one of the most ancient and most authentic copies of the Septuagint version; and as Simeon is nowhere else mentioned here, if not implied in this place, probably the clause anciently stood: Let Reuben live, and not die; but let the men of Simeon be few. That this tribe was small when compared with the rest, and with what it once was, is evident enough from the first census, taken after they came out of Egypt, and that in the plains of Moab nearly forty years after. In the first, Simeon was 59,300; in the last, 22,200, a decrease of 37,100 men!

Barnes's Deuteronomy 33:6 Bible Commentary

Let not his men be few - literally, "a number," i. e., "a small number," such as could be easily counted (compare Genesis 34:30 note). While the verse promises that the tribe shall endure and prosper, yet it is so worded as to carry with it a warning. The Reubenites, occupied with their herds and flocks, appear, soon after the days of Joshua, to have lost their early energy, until in later times its numbers, even when counted with the Gadites and the half of Manasseh, were fewer than that of the Reubenites alone at the census of Numbers 1 (Compare 1 Chronicles 5:18 with Numbers 1:20.) No judge, prophet, or national hero arose out of this tribe.

The tribe of Simeon, which would according to the order of birth come next, is not here named. This omission is explained by reference to the words of Jacob concerning Simeon Genesis 49:7. This tribe with Levi was to he "scattered in Israel." The fulfillment of this prediction was in the case of Levi so ordered as to carry with it honor and blessing; but no such reversal of punishment was granted to Simeon. Rather had this latter tribe added new sins to those which Jacob denounced (compare Numbers 26:5 note). Accordingly, though very numerous at the Exodus, it had surprisingly diminished before the death of Moses (compare Numbers 1:22-23 with Numbers 26:12-14); and eventually it found territory adequate for its wants within the limits of another tribe, Judah. Compare Joshua 19:2-9.

Wesley's Deuteronomy 33:6 Bible Commentary

33:6 Let Reuben live — Though Reuben deserve to be cut off or greatly diminished and obscured, according to Jacob's prediction, Genesis 49:4, yet God will spare them and give them a name and portion among the tribes of Israel, and bless them with increase of their numbers. All the ancient paraphrasts refer this to the other world, so far were they from expecting temporal blessings only. Let Reuben live in life eternal, says Onkelos, and not die the second death. Let Reuben live in this world, so Jonathan and the Jerusalem Targum, and not die that death which the wicked die in the world to come.

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