And Moses went up from the plains of Moab
Where the Israelites had lain encamped for some time, and where Moses had repeated to them the law, and all that, is contained in this book of Deuteronomy; and after he had read to them the song in ( Deuteronomy 32:1-43 ) ; and had blessed the several tribes, as in the preceding chapter: at the command of God he went up from hence,
unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that [is] over
Nebo was one of the mountains of Abarim, which formed a ridge of them, and Pisgah was the highest point of Nebo, and this was over against Jericho on the other side Jordan, see ( Deuteronomy 32:49 ) ; hither Moses went, to the top of this high mountain, for aught appears, without any support or help, his natural force not being abated, though an hundred and twenty years old; and hither he seems to have gone alone, though Josephus F16 and the Samaritan Chronicle F17 say, Eleazar, Joshua, and the elders of Israel accompanied him:
and the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan;
the Word of the Lord, as the Targum of Jonathan, who appeared to him in the bush, sent him to Egypt, wrought miracles by him there, led him and the people of Israel through the Red sea and wilderness, and brought them to the place where they now were: and though the eye of Moses was not become dim, as was usual at such an age he was of, yet it can hardly be thought it should be so strong as to take a distinct view of the whole land of Canaan, to the utmost borders of it: no doubt but his natural sight was wonderfully strengthened and increased by the Lord, by whom he was directed first to behold the land of Gilead on that side of Jordan where he was, and which was the possession of the two tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh; and then he was directed to look forward to the land of Canaan beyond Jordan, to the northern part of it; for Dan is not the tribe of Dan, but a city of that name, formerly Leshem, which the Danites took, and lay the farthest north of the land, hence the phrase "from Dan to Beersheba", see ( Joshua 19:47 ) ; this city is so called by anticipation: Aben Ezra thinks Joshua wrote this verse by a spirit of prophecy; and it is very likely the whole chapter was written by him, and not the eight last verses only, as say the Jewish writers: this view Moses had of the good land a little before his death may be an emblem of that sight believers have, by faith, of the heavenly glory, and which sometimes is the clearest when near to death; this sight they have not in the plains of Moab, in the low estate of nature, but in an exalted state of grace, upon and from off the rock of Christ, in the mountain of the church of God, the word and ordinances being often the means of it; it is a sight by faith, and is of the Lord, which he gives, strengthens, and increases, and sometimes grants more fully a little before death.
F16 Antiqu. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 48.
F17 Apud Hottinger. Smegma, l. 1. c. 8. p. 456.