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,
Verse 1. - Unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah; rather, unto Mount Nebo, the summit of Pisgah. Gilead unto Dan. Not Dan Laish, near the central source of the Jordan, which was not in Gilead, but another Dan in Northern Perea, the site of which has not yet been discovered (cf. Genesis 14:14).
And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea,
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.
And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.
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.
So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.
Verse 5. - According to the word of the Lord; literally, at the mouth of the Lord. The rabbins interpret this, "by a kiss of the Lord" ('Baba Bathra,' 17 a); i.e. as Maimonides explains it ('More Nevoch.,' 3:51), Moses "died in a moment of holiest joy in the knowledge and love of God." The phrase, however, simply means "by or according to the command of" (cf. Genesis 45:21; Exodus 17:1; Leviticus 24:12; Numbers 3:16, etc.).
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.
Verse 6. - The valley in which God is supposed to have buried Moses was probably some depression on the Pisgah range, upon or close by Nebo. The rabbins say that Moses was buried by retiring into a cavern, where he died and where his body remained. It is probable that, like Enoch and Elijah, he was transferred to the invisible world without seeing corruption. Hence his appearance along with Elijah in bodily form on the Mount of the Transfiguration; and hence also, perhaps, the tradition of the contest for the body of Moses between Michael and Satan (Jude 1:9). If the body of Moses was actually buried, the concealment of his grave so that no man knew of it may be justly regarded as "the first instance on record of the providential obliteration, so remarkably exemplified afterwards in the gospel history, of the ' holy places' of Palestine; the providential safeguard against their elevation to a sanctity which might endanger the real holiness of the history and religion which they served to commemorate" (Stanley). The reverence which the Jews paid to graves shows that there was no small danger of their coming under a superstitious regard to that of Moses had it been known.
And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
Verse 7. - Though Moses had reached the age of a hundred and twenty years, his eye had not become dim, nor were the juices of his body dried. Natural force. The word so rendered (לֵחַ) occurs only here; but it is doubtless the subst. connected with the adj. לַח moist, fresh (cf. Genesis 30:37; Numbers 6:3), and properly means moisture, freshness. It is used here of the natural juices of the body.
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.
Verse 8. - The people mourned for Moses thirty days, as they did for Aaron (Numbers 20:29).
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.
And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,
Verse 10. - (Cf. Exodus 33:11.) Whom the Lord knew. "For the Lord was revealed to him face to face" (Onkelos). The knowledge here referred to was not merely that cognizance which God as the Omniscient has of all men, but that special knowledge by which men, being known of God, are made to know him (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:3). The statement in this verse could only have been inserted some time after the death of Moses, and after the people had had manifestations of God's presence with them, both by communications from him through the prophets and by the successes which he had given them over their enemies. But it is not necessary to suppose that a long period during which a lengthened succession of prophets had arisen had elapsed. "Moses was the founder and mediator of the old covenant. As long as this covenant was to last, no prophet could arise in Israel like unto Moses. There is but One who is worthy of greater honor than Moses, namely, the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, who is placed as a Son over all the house of God, in which Moses was found faithful as a servant (comp. Hebrews 3:2-6 with Numbers 12:7), Jesus Christ, the Founder and Mediator of the new and everlasting covenant" (Keil).
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,
And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.