Deuteronomy 33:1 This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death. 2He said: “The Lord came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with a myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes. b 3Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction, 4the law that Moses gave us, the possession of the assembly of Jacob.

Why didn't he say "I"?

  • 1
    See illeism. Writing in the third person, either about oneself or others, was abandoned within modern Western European literature over the past few centuries, mainly for philosophical reasons concerning the narrator's subjectivity or objectivity.
    – Lucian
    Sep 30, 2020 at 13:28

2 Answers 2


Did Moses write Deuteronomy 33:4?

The Tanakh reveals in [Joshua 8:32] that the completed scroll of Deuteronomy (Devarim, דְּבָרִ֗ים) was written by Joshua (Yehoshua, יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙). The modern text of Deuteronomy is based on Joshua's copy of the original scroll written by Moses (Moshe, משֶׁה֙).

Joshua 8:32 [MT]

"And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the Torah of Moshe, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Yisrael." (וַיִּכְתָּב־שָׁ֖ם עַל־הָֽאֲבָנִ֑ים אֵ֗ת מִשְׁנֵה֙ תּוֹרַ֣ת מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר כָּתַ֔ב לִפְנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל)

Joshua's edition of [Devarim 33:4] helps give credit to Moses for writing the Torah.

Deuteronomy 33:4 [MT]

"Torah that Moshe commanded us is a legacy for the congregation of Yaqov." (תּוֹרָ֥ה צִוָּה־לָ֖נוּ משֶׁ֑ה מֽוֹרָשָׁ֖ה קְהִלַּ֥ת יַֽעֲקֹֽב )


The content of the Book of Deuteronomy itself suggests that Moses' contribution to it almost certainly ended with Deut 32, possibly, 32:33 specifically. Whether Moses or Joshua actually write chapter 32 after Moses spoke the words is unknown. Indeed, Joshua may have also written chapter 31 as well because Moses then occurs in the 3rd person.

Chapters 33 & 34 were also certainly written by his successor, Joshua as is obvious from Chapter 34 itself which records events after the death of Moses.

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