1. And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho: and the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan,
1. Ascendit ergo Moses e planitie Moab ad mentern Nebo, in verticem collis qui est e regione Jericho, et ostendit illi Jehova omnem terram Gilaad usque Dan,
2. And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea.
2. Et universam Nephthali, et terram Ephraim, et Manasse, et omnem terram Jehuda usque ad mare novissimum:
3. And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.
3. Et meridiem, et planitiem, vallem Jericho urbis palmarum, usque ad Soar.
4. And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.
4. Et dixit ei Jehova, Haec est terra de qua juravi Abrahae, Isaac et Jacob, dieendo: Semini tuo dabo illam: videre to feci oculis tuis, at illuc non transibis.
5. So Moses the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.
5. Itaque mortuus est illic Moses servus Jehovae in terra Moab, sesundum mandatum Jehovae.
6. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulcher unto this day.
6. Et sepelivit eum in Gai, in terra Moab, e regione Beth-peor: neque cognovit quisquam sepulchrum ejus usque ad diem hunc.
7. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
7. Moses autem natus erat centum et viginti annos quando mortuus est: non caligavit oculus ejus, neque aufugit vigor ejus.
8. And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
8. Et fleverunt filii Israel Mosen in campestribus Moab triginta diebus, completique sunt dies fletus luctus Mosis.
9. And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.
9. Josua autem filius Nun repletus est spiritu sapientiae, quoniam posuerat Moses manus suas super eum: parueruntque ei filii Israel, ac fecerunt quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova Mosi.
10. And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face;
10. Neque surrexit prophera ultra in Israele sient Moses, quem nosset Jehova facie ad faciem.
11. In all the signs and the wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,
11. In onmibus signis et portentis ad quae facienda in terra Aegypti Pharaoni et servis ejus, et universae terrae ejus, miserat eum Jehova.
12. And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses showed in the sight of Israel.
12. Et ia omni manu forti, et in omni terrore magno, quae fecit Moses in oculis totius Israelis.
We have elsewhere said, that one part of mount Abarim was called Nebo, as another was called Pisgah, because they were distinct summits.
Now, the ascent of Moses was equivalent to a voluntary going forth to death: for he was not ignorant of what was to happen, but being called by God to die, he went to meet death of his own accord. Such willing submission proceeded from no other source than faith in God's grace, whereby alone all terror is mitigated, and set at rest, and the bitterness of death is sweetened. Doubtless to Moses, as to every one else, it must have been naturally an awful thing to die; but inasmuch as the testimony of God's grace is interposed, he does not hesitate to offer himself without alarm; and Because he was firmly persuaded that the inheritance of the people would be there set before his eyes, he cheerfully ascended to the place from which he was to behold it. Already, indeed, by faith had he beheld the land, and the promise of God had been, as it were, a lively representation of it; but; since some remaining infirmities of the flesh still environ even the most holy persons, an ocular view of it was no slight consolation, in order to mitigate the bitterness of his punishment, when he knew that he was prevented from actually entering it by the just sentence of God.
When it is said, that God "showed him all the land," it could not have been the case without a miracle. For, although history records that some have been endued with incredible powers of vision, so as to have been able to see further than the whole length of Canaan; there is still a peculiarity to be remarked in this case, that Moses distinctly examined every portion of it, as if he had been really on the spot. I allow, indeed, that Naphtali, and Ephraim, and Manasseh are mentioned by anticipation, but, nevertheless, the Holy Spirit would express that every part was shown to Moses, as if they were close beneath his feet. Else the vision would have been but unsatisfactory and useless, if he had not been allowed to behold the future habitation of the people. And to the same effect is also what is afterwards added, that it was the land, which God sware to give unto His servants; for otherwise the desire of Moses would not have been satisfied, unless he had seen what a pleasant, fertile, and wealthy region the sons of Abraham were about to inhabit.
What follows, "he buried him," some render passively, "he was buried;" and others transitively, "he buried himself;" but in both cases improperly; for, whilst they are afraid to assign this office to God, they labor to avoid an absurdity which does not exist; since it may be gathered from the end of the verse, that Moses was buried by divine means, for it is said that his sepulcher is unknown. It is likely that an effort to discover it was not omitted, or neglected to be made by the people; since it would have been barbarous for them not to discharge the last offices of humanity towards such, and so great a man. Since, therefore, no signs of his funeral, nor his body itself, were anywhere to be found, it might be inferred that he was hidden by God's determinate counsel; whilst it is superfluous to discuss in what manner God buried him, inasmuch as all the elements are under His control. It was enough, therefore, for Him to signify (annuere) to the earth, that it was to receive the body of the holy man into its bosom: nor was there any necessity to call in the assistance of angels, as some think, since the earth would have instantly obeyed the command of its Creator. From the Epistle of Jude (Jude 9) we learn that it was a matter of no slight importance that the sepulcher of Moses should be concealed from the eyes of men, for he informs us that a dispute arose respecting it. between Michael the archangel, and Satan: and, although the cause of its concealment is not stated, still it appears to have been God's intention to prevent superstition; for it was usual with the Jews, and it is a custom for which Christ reproves them, to kill the prophets, and then to pay reverence to their tombs. (Luke 11:47.) It would have, therefore, been probable that, in order to blot out the recollection of their ingratitude, they would have paid superstitious veneration to the holy prophet, and so have carried his corpse into the land, from which the sentence of God had excluded it. Timely precaution, then, was taken, lest in their inconsiderate zeal the people should attempt to subvert the decree of heaven.
It needs not that I expound at any length, what is added respecting the solemn mourning, because I have elsewhere shown, 1 that the ancients were particular in their attention to the performance of funeral rites, on account of their faith not being as yet so elevated from the measure of revelation they had received, as to be easily able to forego those external aids to it, for which there is not the same necessity under the Gospel. It is natural to man to mourn for the dead; and, besides, this mourning was justly instituted in consequence of the loss which the Church had sustained; but a ceremony is here recorded, which was brought to an end with the fulfillment of the shadows of the Law. Our dead are, therefore, now to be buried in such a manner as that our grief may be restrained by the hope of resurrection so clearly revealed by the coming of Christ.
END OF COMMENTARIES ON THE FOUR LAST BOOKS OF MOSES, IN THE FORM OF A HARMONY.
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