Blessings begin and end with God, and it is no different in Deuteronomy 33. Verses 1-5 and 26-39 bookend what Moses says about the tribes, and highlight God's love, defense, and care for them. It is from God that blessings flow, and it is only as we remain connected with God that they continue to flow. Individual blessings can be seen as extensions of God's presence in the midst of the people. Levi's blessings come from their defense of God at the incident with the golden calf (Exodus 32:26), even though it was a descendant of Levi (Aaron) who got things going by making the calf in the first place. Joseph's blessing (both Ephraim and Manasseh) seems to be the longest and most attractive, next to Levi's. The blessings for Reuben, Dan, Naphtali and Benjamin are rather short, and the other tribes fall somewhere in between.
Deuteronomy 34 is an account of the passing of Moses after he got to see the land Israel was going into. Joshua is tapped as the successor of Moses, and probably is the one to write some of the last verses here. The haftorah portion (Joshua 1:1-18 ) repeatedly encourages Joshua to "be bold, be strong," as the nation gets ready to cross the Jordan, which might indicate that he was a little timid following in the footsteps of someone like Moses. Verse 17 startled me as I read it.
17"Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses." (Joshua 1:17 NASB95)
I don't know about Joshua, but this statement would've caused me alarm, given the track record that Israel had with "obeying" Moses!
Acts 27 is a description of the first part of Paul's trip to Rome, asked for during his last trial with Festus. The voyage begins okay, but they encounter some difficulties with weather that slows them down. The centurion Julius treats Paul and his companions well, but doesn't listen to him when he tells them they are headed for more problems including large economic loss and possible loss of life. He listens instead to the pilot and captain of the vessel who think they've got a shot to make it to Rome. The creep along as best they can until a strong off-shore wind begins to blow and drives the ship before it. The crew tries to reinforce the ship with cables and lets out the sea-anchors but all they can do is drift. Paul tells them after a few days that he got a visit from and angel and they will all be fine as long as they stay with the ship, but the ship will be lost. After 14 days of this, the crew sensed they were approaching land and so were setting out anchors to keep from running aground. But some were thinking of getting out of there, so Paul tells the centurion that unless those people stayed with the boat all would be lost. The soldiers cut the ropes securing the ship's boat so the crew couldn't take off. Later, Paul encourages them all (276 people) to eat because they are all about to be delivered. After the meal they throw every remaining item overboard, and seeing a beach cut the anchors and prepared to run aground. Instead they hit a reef, and the soldiers want to kill the prisoners to keep them from escaping, but the centurion orders them left alone. Everyone who can swim jumps in, and the rest grab whatever will float and try to make for the beach. All make it.
Acts 28 informs us that the beach is on an island called Malta, and how the residents show extraordinary kindness towards the survivors of the wreck. They are building a fire and Paul is helping by gathering some brush when a viper bites him. The residents think that Paul must be a murderer and the victim of relentless justice to escape from the sea only to be bitten by a poisonous snake. However, Paul just shakes off the snake into the fire and nothing happens. So then the Maltese think he must be a god. They stayed in the area three days, healing the father of Publius (the owner of the land) and many other people of the island. Three months later they set sail again and gradually make their way to Rome. Upon arrival Paul speaks with the leading Jews of the city, telling them he was forced to appeal to Caesar not because he had anything against Israel but because certain people were intent on causing him trouble. They haven't heard anything from the Jerusalem leadership about Paul although they have heard of the new sect, but want to hear more about what he is teaching that is getting others so upset. He teaches at length but the leadership is divided as it is at so many other places, so Paul quotes Isaiah 6:9&10 to them and says that the message will now go to the Gentiles. The book of Acts closes with the note that Paul stays there at least another two years in his own rented quarters teaching whoever will listen that Jesus is the hope of Israel and the Gentiles.