Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 34:9 - 34:9

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 34:9 - 34:9


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Joshua now took Moses' place as the leader of the people, filled with the spirit of wisdom (practical wisdom, manifesting itself in action), because Moses had ordained him to his office by the laying on of hands (Num 27:18). And the people obeyed him; but he was not like Moses. “There arose no more a prophet in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,” i.e., so far as the miracles and signs were concerned which Moses did, by virtue of his divine mission, upon Pharaoh, his servants, and his land, and the terrible acts which he performed before the eyes of Israel (Deu 34:11 and Deu 34:12; vid., Deu 26:8, and Deu 4:34). “Whom Jehovah knew:” not who knew Him, the Lord. “To know,” like γινώσκειν in 1Co 8:3, relates to the divine knowledge, which not only involves a careful observance (Deu 2:7), but is also a manifestation of Himself to man, a penetration of man with the spiritual power of God. Because he was thus known by the Lord, Moses was able to perform signs and wonders, and mighty, terrible acts, such as no other performed either before or after him. In this respect Joshua stood far below Moses, and no prophet arose in Israel like unto Moses. - This remark concerning Moses does not presuppose that a long series of prophets had already risen up since the time of Moses. When Joshua had defeated the Canaanites, and conquered their land with the powerful help of the Lord, which was still manifested in signs and wonders, and had divided it among the children of Israel, and when the tribes had settled down in their inheritance, so that the different portions of the land began to be called by the names of Naphtali, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Judah, as is the case in Deu 34:2; the conviction might already have become established in Israel, that no other prophet would arise like Moses, to whom the Lord had manifested Himself with such signs and wonders before the Egyptians and the eyes of Israel. The position occupied by Joshua in relation to this his predecessor, as the continuer of his work, would necessarily awaken and confirm this conviction, in connection with what the Lord had said as to the superiority of Moses to all the prophets (Num 12:6.). Moses was the founder and mediator of the old covenant. As long as this covenant was to last, no prophet could arise in Israel like unto Moses. There is but One who is worthy of greater honour than Moses, namely, the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, who is placed as the Son over all the house of God, in which Moses was found faithful as a servant (compare Heb 3:2-6 with Num 12:7), Jesus Christ, the founder and mediator of the new and everlasting covenant.