Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 34:5 - 34:5

Online Resource Library

Return to PrayerRequest.com | Commentary Index | Bible Index | Search | Prayer Request

Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 34:5 - 34:5


(Show All Books | Show All Chapters)

This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

After this favour had been granted him, the aged servant of the Lord was to taste death as the ages of sin. There, i.e., upon Mount Nebo, he died, “at the mouth,” i.e., according to the commandment, “of the Lord” (not “by a kiss of the Lord,” as the Rabbins interpret it), in the land of Moab, not in Canaan (see at Num 27:12-14). “And He buried him in the land of Moab, over against Beth Peor.” The subject in this sentence is Jehovah. Though the third person singular would allow of the verb being taken as impersonal (ἔθαψαν αὐτόν, lxx: they buried him), such a rendering is precluded by the statement which follows, “no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.” “The valley” where the Lord buried Moses was certainly not the Jordan valley, as in Deu 3:29, but most probably “the valley in the field of Moab, upon the top of Pisgah,” mentioned in Num 21:20, near to Nebo; in any case, a valley on the mountain, not far from the top of Nebo. - The Israelites inferred what is related in Deu 34:1-6 respecting the end of Moses' life, from the promise of God in Deu 32:49, and Num 27:12-13, which was communicated to them by Moses himself (Deu 3:27), and from the fact that Moses went up Mount Nebo, from which he never returned. On his ascending the mountain, the eyes of the people would certainly follow him as far as they possibly could. It is also very possible that there were many parts of the Israelitish camp from which the top of Nebo was visible, so that the eyes of his people could not only accompany him thither, but could also see that when the Lord had shown him the promised land, He went down with him into the neighbouring valley, where Moses was taken for ever out of their sight. There is not a word in the text about God having brought the body of Moses down from the mountain and buried it in the valley. This “romantic idea” is invented by Knobel, for the purpose of throwing suspicion upon the historical truth of a fact which is offensive to him. The fact itself that the Lord buried His servant Moses, and no man knows of his sepulchre, is in perfect keeping with the relation in which Moses stood to the Lord while he was alive. Even if his sin at the water of strife rendered it necessary that he should suffer the punishment of death, as a memorable example of the terrible severity of the holy God against sin, even in the case of His faithful servant; yet after the justice of God had been satisfied by this punishment, he was to be distinguished in death before all the people, and glorified as the servant who had been found faithful in all the house of God, whom the Lord had known face to face (Deu 34:10), and to whom He had spoken mouth to mouth (Num 12:7-8). The burial of Moses by the hand of Jehovah was not intended to conceal his grave, for the purpose of guarding against a superstitious and idolatrous reverence for his grave; for which the opinion held by the Israelites, that corpses and graves defiled, there was but little fear of this; but, as we may infer from the account of the transfiguration of Jesus, the intention was to place him in the same category with Enoch and Elijah. As Kurtz observes, “The purpose of God was to prepare for him a condition, both of body and soul, resembling that of these two men of God. Men bury a corpse that it may pass into corruption. If Jehovah, therefore, would not suffer the body of Moses to be buried by men, it is but natural to seek for the reason in the fact that He did not intend to leave him to corruption, but, when burying it with His own hand, imparted a power to it which preserved it from corruption, and prepared the way for it to pass into the same form of existence to which Enoch and Elijah were taken, without either death or burial.” - There can be no doubt that this truth lies at the foundation of the Jewish theologoumenon mentioned in the Epistle of Judge, concerning the contest between Michael the archangel and the devil for the body of Moses.