II. THE DEATH OF MOSES, AND HIS SUCCESSOR
Deuteronomy 32:48-52 and 34:1-12 are concerned with the death of Moses, and with Moses’ successor.
A. The Death of Moses
1. Jehovah Telling Moses to Go Up
to the Mountain of Abarim, Mount Nebo,
and See the Land of Canaan,
and Die in the Mountain
Jehovah spoke to Moses, telling him that he should go up to the mountain of Abarim, Mount Nebo, in the land of Moab, which faces Jericho, and see the land of Canaan, and die in the mountain (32:48-50a). There he was to be gathered to his people, to his forefathers, as Aaron his brother died in Mount Hor (v. 50b). Moses was to die in Mount Nebo because he was unfaithful to Jehovah among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, because he did not sanctify Jehovah among the children of Israel (v. 51).
2. Seeing the Land from a Distance
Moses would see the land from a distance, yet he would not go there into the land (v. 52).
3. Moses Going Up to Mount Nebo,
and Jehovah Showing Him the Land
Moses went up to Mount Nebo, and Jehovah showed him all the land and said to him, "This is the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob" (34:1-4).
4. Moses Dying There in the Land
of Moab according to the Word of Jehovah
Moses, the servant of Jehovah, died there in the land of Moab according to the word of Jehovah (v. 5). Jehovah buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor, but no man knows his burial site (v. 6). Immediately after Moses died, God buried him, having a particular purpose in doing so. We believe that Moses and Elijah, both of whom appeared when the Lord Jesus was transfigured (Matt. 17:1-3), will be the two witnesses in Revelation 11.
5. Moses Being a Hundred Twenty Years Old
When He Died
Moses was a hundred twenty years old when he died. Nevertheless, his eyes were not dim, nor had his freshness left him (Deut. 34:7). He had the freshness of a young man.
6. The Children of Israel Weeping for Moses
The children of Israel wept for Moses in the plain of Moab for thirty days (v. 8).
B. The Successor of Moses
1. Joshua Being Filled with the Spirit of Wisdom
Joshua, the successor of Moses, was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the children of Israel listened to him and did as Jehovah had commanded Moses (v. 9). From this we can see that everything was done in a good order.
2. There Not Having Arisen a Prophet
Since Then in Israel Like Moses
There has not arisen a prophet since then in Israel like Moses, whom Jehovah knew face to face, for all the signs and wonders which Jehovah sent him to do in Egypt and for all the mighty power and all the great terror done by him in the sight of all Israel (vv. 10-12).
Moses was great for three reasons. First, unlike any other man, he spoke with God face to face. Second, both in Egypt and in the wilderness, he did many signs and wonders. Third, he wrote the five books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Moses was great both in the worship of God and in human culture. The countries of the West have based many of their laws on the law of Moses. Even Roman law was based on the principle of the law of Moses. Therefore, Moses has had a great effect on Western culture. The culture and humanity of the West have been kept, preserved, and maintained largely due to the law of Moses.
(Life-Study of Deuteronomy, Chapter 30, by Witness Lee)