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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 34

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-12

Deuteronomy 34:1-8 The Death of Moses Deuteronomy 34:1-8 gives the account of the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord. Note that the Lord had been making references to Moses’ death on a number of occasions.

Numbers 20:12, “And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them .”

Numbers 27:12-14, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel. And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people , as Aaron thy brother was gathered. For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes: that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.”

Numbers 31:2, “Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people .”

It is most likely that Moses went up to the mountain of Nebo to see the Promised Land accompanied with elders, even Joshua; for we have a record of the words that God spoke to him on this occasion. Or, these words could have been recorded when Moses returned to the camp before departing alone to an unknown valley where he gave up the ghost and was buried by the Lord.

Deuteronomy 34:5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.

Deuteronomy 34:5 “Moses the servant of the LORD” - Comments - I woke up this morning with the phrase “Moses, a servant of the Lord” being quickened to my heart. As I examined how this phrase was used in the Holy Scriptures, I realized that Moses could have carried many titles and accolades. He was well educated in the schools of Egypt. He was an author and a great leader; however, his greatest lay in the power of God that worked in his life as a faithful servant of the Lord. The greatest men of God are recognized as servants and not necessarily as leaders. Thus, the most honorable title that could ever be given to a man would be “a servant of God.” This title is used often in the Old Testament and even into the New Testament.

Joshua 1:1, “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,”

Hebrews 3:5, “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant , for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;”

Revelation 15:3, “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God , and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”

Later that day, I attended an event hosted by the President of Uganda. At this function, each speaker followed protocol by recognizing the President, Vice President and each office down. With each recognition came titles. I sat by a Catholic bishop who gave me the list of titles used in the Ugandan society, which he explained was an influence from the British colonialism. The President, his wife, and the Vice President were to be addressed as “Your Excellency.” The members of the Cabinet and Parliament were to be addressed as “Honorable Minister.” The mayor of the city was to be addressed as “Your Worship.” The judges were to be addressed as “Your Lordship.” Pastors are called “Reverend” or “Pastor.” Some of the highest ranking religious leaders would be called “Your Grace.” The titles went on, with man making every effort to find favor with one another. Later, the President walked by and I shook hands with him and I called him “Your Excellence” in proper protocol. But the greatest title still remains with Moses, who was called “a servant of the Lord.” (December 18, 2003)

Deuteronomy 34:7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

Deuteronomy 34:7 Comments - Deuteronomy 34:7 tells us that Moses had good eyesight and a strong physical body at the age of one hundred and twenty years. We know that a person’s strength and eyesight are the two most apparent outward evidences of the aging process. However, Moses was not the only one who did not show his age. Note the strength of Caleb in Joshua 14:11.

Joshua 14:11, “As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.”

Deuteronomy 34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,

Deuteronomy 34:10 “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses” - Comments - Deuteronomy 34:10 appears to reflect back across Israel’s history over a long expanse of time. This suggests that the epilogue to this book was composed later, perhaps as late as the time of Ezra when the Old Testament canon was edited into its final form. Sailhamer believes this epilogue is a later composition, written when the period of the Old Testament prophets had ceased. [38] He also suggests this verse reflects back to Deuteronomy 18:15, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;” He notes that this statement excludes Joshua, Moses successor, from fulfilling this particular prophetic role. This means that the Jews still looked forward to the coming of this prophet, which means Deuteronomy 18:15 predicts the coming of the Messiah.

[38] John H. Sailhamer, Introduction to Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, c1995), 247-8.

“whom the LORD knew face to face” - Comments - God originally intended to talk with man face to face. However, the Fall in the Garden hindered this method and caused God to seek other ways to speak to sinful men. He would speak to them through the prophets, the priests, and the kings. He also spoke to men through dreams and visions.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 34". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/deuteronomy-34.html. 2013.
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