Deuteronomy 34:1


(1) Pisgah.--See Numbers 21:20. The word seems to mean a height.

(1, 2) The Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali . . . unto the utmost sea--that is, He showed him all the land which was to be given to these several tribes. Whether He then showed it to him under the names which are given here or not is a question we cannot answer. Many deeply interesting queries suggest themselves here. Did Moses go up alone? or did Joshua accompany him? Who wrote these particulars of what was shown to him, and how were the particulars known? I am disposed to believe that as Elijah and Elisha "still went on and talked," until that chariot of fire appeared which "parted them both asunder," so it was with Moses and Joshua--that Moses' minister attended him until Jehovah withdrew him from his sight. But it speaks well for Joshua's character--in fact, it is altogether characteristic of the man--that in this record of the death of the great lawgiver he should have concealed himself and every other figure from sight except Jehovah and His servant Moses. Rashi, in his comment on this scene, says that the Lord showed Moses not only the land, but what should happen therein, in every part. But of this we know nothing. We know that the spectacle was complete. Probably "the eye that was not dim" was enabled to see farther than human eye ever saw from such a height before. "The utmost sea" is full fifty miles away from that spot.

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).

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.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; 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 against Jericho; 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 (p) and the Samaritan Chronicle (q) 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.

(p) Antiqu. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 48. (q) Apud Hottinger. Smegma, l. 1. c. 8. p. 456.

Deuteronomy 33:29
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