Deuteronomy 33: 12-13 And of Benjamin he said, 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. [King James translation]
Chapter 34 of the book of Deuteronomy is the blessing of the tribes. The very first verse of the chapter announces that “This is the blessing that Moses, the man of GOD, gave to the people of Israel before his death.” See, Deuteronomy 34:1, Living Bible translation. Like, Isaac blessing his sons Jacob and Esau (see Genesis 27) and like Jacob blessing his grandchildren Manasseh and Ephraim; (see Genesis 48), Moses wanted to share a prophetic word from the LORD with “the children of Israel.”
To the tribe of Benjamin, Moses prayed and declared that the LORD shall “cover him” and that the LORD “dwell between his shoulders.”
The shoulder in the Bible is associated with strength. In Luke 15:4, in the Parable of the Lost Sheep,” when the herdsman finds his lost sheep, he lifts it up and lays it on his shoulder, rejoicing. In Isaiah 9:6, the prophet Isaiah preaches a Messianic message that a Child is born, a son is given, and that his name shall be called “Wonderful,” “Counsellor,” “The Mighty GOD,” “the Everlasting Father,” “The Prince of Peace” and that “the government shall be upon HIS shoulder.”
In the Book of Job, in Chapter 31, Job uses a shoulder argument to defend himself against the guilty stares and condemnation of his “friends.” Job gives a number of examples of ungodly behavior and then basically states that if he has committed any of those offense against GOD (e.g., lied, deceived, lusted after another’s wife, been unfair to his servants, mistreated the poor, raised his hand to the fatherless, been insensitive to the plight of widow, “then let my arm fall from the shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.” In pronouncing this judgment upon himself, if he were guilty of offending GOD, Job makes it clear that losing the strength of shoulder or losing an arm, would be a harsh punishment indeed. See Job 31:22.
Protecting the Shoulder
The shoulders are still associated with power. And it’s important to not take your shoulders for granted. Your shoulders allow you to get something off a shelf, drive your car, type at a keyboard, and to do numerous other things during the course of a day. Reach for something and you are using your shoulders. Carry a bag of groceries, scratch your back, lift anything of any weight and you are using your shoulders.
The Anatomy of a Shoulder
According to WebMD, the shoulders are one the largest and one of the most complex joints in the body. Some of the important structures that make up a shoulder include:
- The rotator cuff (the collection of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder)
- The bursa (a small sac of fluid that cushions and protects the tendons that surround the rotator cuff)
- The Labrum (the collection of cartilage that forms a cup over the humerus)
- The shoulder bones- the clavicle collar bone; the scapula (the shoulder bone) and the humerus (upper arm bone).
See, “Picture of a Shoulder,” by Matthew Hoffman, MD, www.webmd.com/pain-management/picture-of-the-shoulder#1.
The shoulder is usually capable of a wide range of motion, which is why exercise is important.
Exercises that strengthen the shoulders, improve posture, increase flexibility and mobility can be done at home, at work or at a gym. As one writer noted, a pair of sculptured shoulders can look good on anyone.