Deuteronomy 34

1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan,
2 all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea,
3 the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar.
4 The Lord said to him, "This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, "I will give it to your descendants'; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there."
5 Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord's command.
6 He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day.
7 Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated.
8 The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.
9 Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.
10 Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.
11 He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land,
12 and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

Deuteronomy 34 Commentary

Chapter 34

Moses views the promised land from mount Nebo. (1-4) The death and burial of Moses, The mourning of the people. (5-8) Joshua succeeds Moses, The praise of Moses. (9-12)

Verses 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.

Verses 5-8 Moses obeyed this command of God as willingly as any other, though it seemed harder. In this he resembled our Lord Jesus Christ. But he died in honour, in peace, and in the most easy manner; the Saviour died upon the disgraceful and torturing cross. Moses died very easily; he died "at the mouth of the Lord," according to the will of God. The servants of the Lord, when they have done all their other work, must die at last, and be willing to go home, whenever their Master sends for them, Ac. 21:13 . The place of his burial was not known. If the soul be at rest with God, it is of little consequence where the body rests. There was no decay in the strength of his body, nor in the vigour and activity of his mind; his understanding was as clear, and his memory as strong as ever. This was the reward of his services, the effect of his extraordinary meekness. There was solemn mourning for him. Yet how great soever our losses have been, we must not give ourselves up to sorrow. If we hope to go to heaven rejoicing, why should we go to the grave mourning?

Verses 9-12 Moses brought Israel to the borders of Canaan, and then died and left them. This signifies that the law made nothing perfect, ( Hebrews 7:19 ) It brings men into a wilderness of conviction, but not into the Canaan of rest and settled peace. That honour was reserved for Joshua, our Lord Jesus, of whom Joshua was a type, (and the name is the same,) to do that for us which the law could not do, ( Romans 8:3 ) . Through him we enter into the spiritual rest of conscience, and eternal rest in heaven. Moses was greater than any other prophet of the Old Testament. But our Lord Jesus went beyond him, far more than the other prophets came short of him. And see a strong resemblance between the redeemer of the children of Israel and the Redeemer of mankind. Moses was sent by God, to deliver the Israelites form a cruel bondage; he led them out, and conquered their enemies. He became not only their deliverer, but their lawgiver; not only their lawgiver, but their judge; and, finally, leads them to the border of the land of promise. Our blessed Saviour came to rescue us out of the slavery of the devil, and to restore us to liberty and happiness. He came to confirm every moral precept of the first lawgiver; and to write them, not on tables of stone, but on fleshly tables of the heart. He came to be our Judge also, inasmuch as he hath appointed a day when he will judge all the secrets of men, and reward or punish accordingly. This greatness of Christ above Moses, is a reason why Christians should be obedient and faithful to the holy religion by which they profess to be Christ's followers. God, by his grace, make us all so!

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 34

This chapter informs us of Moses going up to the top of Pisgah, where he was shown the whole land of Canaan, De 34:1-4; of his death, burial, and age, De 34:5-7; of Israel's mourning for him, and the time of it, De 34:8; of his successor Joshua, De 34:9; and of the character of Moses, to whom no prophet was to be compared, De 34:10-12.

Deuteronomy 34 Commentaries