Deuteronomy Chapter 34  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Deuteronomy 34
Deu 34:1

“the Pisgah range.” In this context, “Pisgah” with the definite article most likely means “the range” or the “ridge” (sawtooth ridge). Thus the text can be understood to be saying that Moses went “to the summit (top, highest point—thus Mount Nebo) in the sawtooth range opposite (across from) Jericho."

Deu 34:2

“and all the land of Judah to the western sea.” From Mount Nebo it is impossible to see in detail the places listed here in Deuteronomy 34:1-3. God could have shown Moses all that land by augmenting what Moses saw by revelation, or what Moses saw was the horizons of those places, where they were generally located in the Promised Land across the Jordan from where Moses was. While it is true that the atmosphere would have been clearer in Moses’ time than it is now, the western mountains in the Promised Land would have blocked the view of the territory that was beyond them.

Deu 34:3

“City of Date Palms.” The palm trees in Israel were date palms, not coconut palms or other varieties of palm trees. Jericho was also known as the “City of Date Palms,” especially after it was destroyed by Joshua.

Deu 34:4

“but you will not cross over there.” Moses was mentally prepared for this because God had told him that before (cp. Deut. 3:27; 4:21-22; 32:52). We can understand that Moses was as willing as he was to obey God’s command about not crossing the Jordan because he so strongly held the Hope of resurrection and being in the land in the future when the Messiah ruled the earth. Eighty years earlier he had refused his position as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter because he had such a strong hope (Heb. 11:24-26), and now Moses, the willing servant of God, did as God commanded.

[For more on Christ’s Millennial Kingdom and his rule on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].

Deu 34:5

“Moses the servant of Yahweh.” Here God honors Moses with the title “the servant of Yahweh” because he truly was that, even to his death. Moses willingly gave up his life, the text makes it clear that he did not die of disease or because his body wore out, even though he was 120 years old.

Deu 34:6

“He buried him.” God Himself buried Moses; and no human knows where. Moses truly was a servant of Yahweh, and Yahweh had watched over him and directed him from an early age. Moses’ life is a testimony that doing the will of God and living a righteous life does not guarantee that life will be easy. Moses’ life was anything but easy. But doing the will of God and living righteously will guarantee great rewards in the future.

Deu 34:7

“vigor.” This is usually understood to refer to his sexual force, which was taken as a sign of full health.

Deu 34:8

“The children of Israel wept for Moses...for 30 days.” In biblical Israel it was customary that people were allowed to weep and mourn for 30 days when someone died (cp. Num. 20:29; Deut. 21:13). However, there is a difference between a time of mourning prescribed by custom, usually when normal work would stop, and the time a person would personally mourn the loss of a loved one: there is no time given in the Bible for that, and different people process loss differently (see commentary on Rom. 12:15).

Deu 34:9(top)
Deu 34:10(top)
Deu 34:11(top)
Deu 34:12

“great terrifying deeds that Moses did.” The Hebrew text is more literally, “the great terror that Moses did,” but in this context, “terror” is put by the figure of speech metonymy for the deeds that cause terror, or “terrifying deeds.” The Hebrews and others were afraid of many of powerful works that Moses did. Also, the word for “terror” can also refer to “awe-inspiring,” and some translations go that way, for example, the NIV2011 has “awesome deeds,” and the GWN has “awe-inspiring deeds.” However, often the Israelites were more afraid of the powerful acts of God than inspired by them, so “terrifying deeds” seems the better choice here.

“in the sight of all Israel.” The Hebrew is more literally, “before the eyes of all Israel.”


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