Matthew Poole's Commentary
And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan,Moses from Mount Nebo vieweth the land, Deu 34:1-4. He dieth there, Deu 34:5. His burial, Deu 34:6. His age, Deu 34:7. Thirty days’ mourning for him, Deu 34:8. Joshua succeedeth him, Deu 34:9. The praises of Moses, Deu 34:10-12.
Moses went up, in compliance with God’s will, that he should then and there resign up his soul to God.
Of the mountain of Nebo, see Numbers 27:12 32:38 Deu 32:49. Of the land of Gilead Moses had as yet seen and enjoyed but a small part. Of this land, see Genesis 31:21 Numbers 32:1,19, &c.
Unto Dan; to that city which after Moses’s death was called Dan, Joshua 19:47 Judges 18:29. So that here is an anticipation. But it seems most probable, and is commonly believed, that this chapter was not written by Moses, but by Eleazar, or Joshua, or Ezra, or some other man of God, directed herein by the Holy Ghost; this being no more impeachment to the Divine authority of this chapter, that the penman is unknown, which also is the lot of some other books of Scripture, than it is to the authority of the acts of the king or parliament, that they are written or printed by some unknown person.
And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea,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 the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.i.e. The south quarter of thee land of Judah, which is towards the Salt Sea, which is described Numbers 34:3-5 Joshua 15:1-4, as the western quarter of Judah was described in the words next foregoing. The plain of the valley of Jericho; or, in which lies Jericho; which was in the tribe of Benjamin.
The city of palm trees, i.e. Jericho, so called both here and Judges 1:16 3:13 2 Chronicles 28:15, 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.
And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.With thine eyes, to wit, by a miraculous power strengthening thy sight, or making a clear representation of all these parts to thy view.
So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.i.e. In the land which Israel took from the Amorites, which anciently was the land of Moab.
And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.He, i.e. the Lord, last mentioned, buried him either immediately, or by the ministry of angels, whereof Michael was the chief or prince, Judges 1:9.
No man knoweth of his sepulchre, i.e. of the particular place of the valley where he was buried; which God hid from the Israelites, to prevent their superstition and idolatry, to which he knew their great proneness. And for this very reason the devil endeavoured to have it known, and contended with Michael about it, Judges 1:9. And seeing God would not endure the worship of the relics or tomb of so eminent a person as Moses was, it is ridiculous to think God would permit this honour to be given to any of the succeeding saints, who were so far inferior to him.
And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.By a miraculous work of God in mercy to his church and people.
And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.Thirty days was the usual time of mourning for persons of high place and eminency. See Genesis 1:3,10 Num 20:29. For others seven days sufficed.
And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.The spirit of wisdom; and other gifts and graces too, as appears from the history; but wisdom is mentioned as being most necessary for the government, to which he was now called.
Moses had laid his hands upon him; which God had appointed as a sign to Moses, and Joshua, and the Israelites, that this was the person whom he had appointed and qualified for his great work. See Numbers 27:18, &c. Compare Genesis 48:10 Numbers 8:10.
And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,Like unto Moses, in the privileges here following.
Whom the Lord knew face to face, i.e. whom God did so freely, and familiarly, and frequently converse with. See Poole "Exodus 33:11". See Poole "Numbers 12:8". See Poole "Deu 5:4".
In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,In all the signs: this is to be joined, either,
1. With the words immediately foregoing, as an eminent instance wherein God did know or acknowledge and own or converse so familiarly with Moses, namely, in the working of all his signs and wonders in Egypt, where God spake to him so oft, and sometimes even in Pharaoh’s presence, and answered his requests so particularly and punctually, whether he called for vengeance or for deliverance. Or,
2. With the more remote words, there was none like unto Moses in regard of all the signs, &c., the words, whom the Lord knew face to face, coming in by way of parenthesis.
And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.No text from Poole on this verse.