Deuteronomy 34:2
And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, to the utmost sea,
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Deuteronomy 34:2-3. All Naphtali — The land of Naphtali, which, together with Dan, was in the north of Canaan, as Ephraim and Manasseh were in the midland parts, and Judah on the south, and the sea on the west. So these parts, lying in the several quarters, are put for all the rest. He stood in the east, and saw also Gilead, which was in the eastern part of the land, and thence he saw the north, and south, and west. The utmost sea — The midland sea, which was the utmost bound of the land of promise on the west. The south — The south quarter of the land of Judah, which is toward the salt sea. The city of palm-trees — Jericho, so called from the multitude of palm-trees which were in those parts, as Josephus and Strabo write. From whence, and the balm there growing, it was called Jericho, which signifies, odoriferous or sweet smelling.34:1-4 Moses seemed unwilling to leave his work; but that being finished, he manifested no unwillingness to die. God had declared that he should not enter Canaan. But the Lord also promised that Moses should have a view of it, and showed him all that good land. Such a sight believers now have, through grace, of the bliss and glory of their future state. Sometimes God reserves the brightest discoveries of his grace to his people to support their dying moments. Those may leave this world with cheerfulness, who die in the faith of Christ, and in the hope of heaven.Dan - This can hardly be the Dan (Dan-Laish) of Judges 18:27 ff, which was not in Gilead. It is probably a town of this name which stood in the north of Peraea; perhaps the same as Dan-jaan, 2 Samuel 24:6; and the Dan of Genesis 14:14. CHAPTER 34

De 34:1-12. Moses from Mount Nebo Views the Land.

1. Moses went up from the plains of Moab—This chapter appears from internal evidence to have been written subsequently to the death of Moses, and it probably formed, at one time, an introduction to the Book of Joshua.

unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah—literally, the head or summit of the Pisgah; that is, the height (compare Nu 23:14; De 3:17-27; 4:49). The general name given to the whole mountain range east of Jordan, was Abarim (compare De 32:49), and the peak to which Moses ascended was dedicated to the heathen Nebo, as Balaam's standing place had been consecrated to Peor. Some modern travellers have fixed on Jebel Attarus, a high mountain south of the Jabbok (Zurka), as the Nebo of this passage [Burckhardt, Seetzen, &c.]. But it is situated too far north for a height which, being described as "over against Jericho," must be looked for above the last stage of the Jordan.

the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead—That pastoral region was discernible at the northern extremity of the mountain line on which he stood, till it ended, far beyond his sight in Dan. Westward, there were on the horizon, the distant hills of "all Naphtali." Coming nearer, was "the land of Ephraim and Manasseh." Immediately opposite was "all the land of Judah," a title at first restricted to the portion of this tribe, beyond which were "the utmost sea" (the Mediterranean) and the Desert of the "South." These were the four great marks of the future inheritance of his people, on which the narrative fixes our attention. Immediately below him was "the circle" of the plain of Jericho, with its oasis of palm trees; and far away on his left, the last inhabited spot before the great desert "Zoar." The foreground of the picture alone was clearly discernible. There was no miraculous power of vision imparted to Moses. That he should see all that is described is what any man could do, if he attained sufficient elevation. The atmosphere of the climate is so subtle and free from vapor that the sight is carried to a distance of which the beholder, who judges from the more dense air of Europe, can form no idea [Vere Monro]. But between him and that "good land," the deep valley of the Jordan intervened; "he was not to go over thither."

All Naphtali, i.e. the land of Naphtali, which, together with Dan, was in the north of Canaan, as Ephraim and Manasseh were in the midland parts, and Judah on the south, and the sea on the west. So these parts lying in the several quarters are put for all the rest. He stood in the cast, and saw also Gilead, which was in the eastern part of the land, and thence he saw the north, and south, and west.

The utmost sea, i.e. the midland sea, which was the utmost bound of the Land of Promise on the west. And all Naphtali,.... Which lay in the northern part of the land, and where was Galilee of the Gentiles, and so he had a sight of all that country most frequented by the Messiah when come, see Matthew 4:13,

and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh: which lay in the midland part of the country:

and all the land of Judah; which lay to the south:

unto the utmost sea; the Mediterranean sea, which was the western boundary of the land, called the "hinder sea", Zechariah 14:8; and might as well be so rendered here, for the same word is used: Jarchi would have it read, not the "hinder sea", but the "latter day": for, he says, the Lord showed to Moses all that should happen to Israel until the resurrection of the dead; and so the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases the above passages, and observes that the Lord showed Moses the mighty deeds of Jephthah of Gilead, and the victories of Samson, who was of the tribe of Dan; the idolatries of that tribe, and Samson the saviour that should spring from them; Deborah and Barak, and the princes of the house of Naphtali; Joshua the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, that should fight with and slay the kings of Canaan; and Gideon the son of Joash, of the tribe of Manasseh, that should fight with Midian and Amalek, and all the kings of Israel, and the kingdom of the house of Judah; the king of the south, that should join the king of the north to destroy the inhabitants of the earth; and even the destruction of Armiilus or antichrist, and the war of Gog and Magog, and the great affliction Michael shall save from.

And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost {b} sea,

(b) Called Mediterranean.

2. all Naphtali] The lofty country N. and N.W. of the Lake of Galilee, some of whose hills, over 2,500 feet, may (as Dri. says) be visible from Nebo, as the lower Mt Tabor to the S. of them is.

and all the land of Ephraim and Manasseh] So LXX. These certainly are in sight with Ebal and Gerizim and the intervening valley particularly distinct.

all the land of Judah, unto the hinder sea] A natural hyperbole; the hinder or Western Sea (Deuteronomy 11:24). The Mediterranean is hidden by the hills of Judah. But again the bulk of Judah is in sight, and the Sea is mentioned as its W. boundary.Verses 2-4. - Unto the utmost sea; rather, the hinder sea, viz. the Mediterranean (cf. Deuteronomy 11:24). The south; the Negeb, the pasture-land in the south, towards the Arabian desert. The plain of the valley of Jericho; the extensive plain through which the Jordan flows, extending from Jericho to Zoar, at the south end of the Dead Sea. This wide prospect could not be surveyed by any ordinary power of vision; so that Moses must for the occasion have had his power of vision miraculously increased. There is no ground for supposing that he saw the scene in an ecstatic vision, and not with his bodily eyes. Asher. - "Blessed before the sons be Asher; let him be the favoured among his brethren, and dipping his foot in oil. Iron and brass be thy castle; and as the days of thy life let thy rest continue." Asher, the prosperous (see at Genesis 30:15), was justly to bear the name. He was to be a child of prosperity; blessed with earthly good, he was to enjoy rest all his life long in strong fortresses. It is evident enough that this blessing is simply an exposition of the name Asher, and that Moses here promises the tribe a verification of the omen contained in its name. מבּנים בּרוּך does not mean "blessed with children," or "praised because of his children," in which case we should have בּניו; but "blessed before the sons" (cf. Judges 5:24), i.e., blessed before the sons of Jacob, who were peculiarly blessed, equivalent to the most blessed of all the sons of Israel. אחיו רצוּי does not mean the beloved among his brethren, acceptable to his brethren, but the one who enjoyed the favour of the Lord, i.e., the one peculiarly favoured by the Lord. Dipping the foot in oil points to a land flowing with oil (Job 29:6), i.e., fat or fertile throughout, which Jacob had already promised to Asher (see Genesis 49:20). To complete the prosperity, however, security and rest were required for the enjoyment of the blessings bestowed by God; and these are promised in Deuteronomy 33:25. מנעל (ἅπ. λεγ.) does not mean a shoe, but is derived from נעל, to bolt (Judges 3:23), and signifies either a bolt, or that which is shut fast; a poetical expression for a castle or fortress. Asher's dwellings were to be castles, fortresses of iron and brass; i.e., as strong and impregnable as if they were built of iron and brass. The pursuit of mining is not to be thought of as referred to here, even though the territory of Asher, which reached to Lebanon, may have contained brass and iron (see at Deuteronomy 8:9). Luther follows the lxx and Vulgate, and renders this clause, "iron and brass be upon his shoes;" but this is undoubtedly wrong, as the custom of fastening the shoes or sandals with brass or iron was quite unknown to the Israelites; and even Goliath, who was clothed in brass from head to foot, and wore iron greaves, had no iron sandals, though the military shoes of the ancient Romans had nails in the soles. Moreover, the context contains no reference to war, so as to suggest the idea that the treading down and cursing of the foe are intended. "As thy days," i.e., as long as the days of thy life last, let thy rest be (continue). Luther's rendering, "let thine old age be as thy youth," which follows the Vulgate, cannot be sustained; for although דּבא, derived from דאב, to vanish away, certainly might signify old age, the expression "thy days" cannot possibly be understood as signifying youth.
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