|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
34:1-4 Moses seemed unwilling to leave his work; but that being finished, he manifested no unwillingness to die. God had declared that he should not enter Canaan. But the Lord also promised that Moses should have a view of it, and showed him all that good land. Such a sight believers now have, through grace, of the bliss and glory of their future state. Sometimes God reserves the brightest discoveries of his grace to his people to support their dying moments. Those may leave this world with cheerfulness, who die in the faith of Christ, and in the hope of heaven.
Verse 1. - Unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah; rather, unto Mount Nebo, the summit of Pisgah. Gilead unto Dan. Not Dan Laish, near the central source of the Jordan, which was not in Gilead, but another Dan in Northern Perea, the site of which has not yet been discovered (cf. Genesis 14:14).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moses went up from the plains of Moab,.... Where the Israelites had lain encamped for some time, and where Moses had repeated to them the law, and all that, is contained in this book of Deuteronomy; and after he had read to them the song in Deuteronomy 32:1; and had blessed the several tribes, as in the preceding chapter: at the command of God he went up from hence:
unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho; Nebo was one of the mountains of Abarim, which formed a ridge of them, and Pisgah was the highest point of Nebo, and this was over against Jericho on the other side Jordan, see Deuteronomy 32:49; hither Moses went, to the top of this high mountain, for aught appears, without any support or help, his natural force not being abated, though an hundred and twenty years old; and hither he seems to have gone alone, though Josephus (p) and the Samaritan Chronicle (q) say, Eleazar, Joshua, and the elders of Israel accompanied him:
and the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan; the Word of the Lord, as the Targum of Jonathan, who appeared to him in the bush, sent him to Egypt, wrought miracles by him there, led him and the people of Israel through the Red sea and wilderness, and brought them to the place where they now were: and though the eye of Moses was not become dim, as was usual at such an age he was of, yet it can hardly be thought it should be so strong as to take a distinct view of the whole land of Canaan, to the utmost borders of it: no doubt but his natural sight was wonderfully strengthened and increased by the Lord, by whom he was directed first to behold the land of Gilead on that side of Jordan where he was, and which was the possession of the two tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh; and then he was directed to look forward to the land of Canaan beyond Jordan, to the northern part of it; for Dan is not the tribe of Dan, but a city of that name, formerly Leshem, which the Danites took, and lay the farthest north of the land, hence the phrase "from Dan to Beersheba", see Joshua 19:47; this city is so called by anticipation: Aben Ezra thinks Joshua wrote this verse by a spirit of prophecy; and it is very likely the whole chapter was written by him, and not the eight last verses only, as say the Jewish writers: this view Moses had of the good land a little before his death may be an emblem of that sight believers have, by faith, of the heavenly glory, and which sometimes is the clearest when near to death; this sight they have not in the plains of Moab, in the low estate of nature, but in an exalted state of grace, upon and from off the rock of Christ, in the mountain of the church of God, the word and ordinances being often the means of it; it is a sight by faith, and is of the Lord, which he gives, strengthens, and increases, and sometimes grants more fully a little before death.
(p) Antiqu. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 48. (q) Apud Hottinger. Smegma, l. 1. c. 8. p. 456.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
De 34:1-12. Moses from Mount Nebo Views the Land.
1. Moses went up from the plains of Moab—This chapter appears from internal evidence to have been written subsequently to the death of Moses, and it probably formed, at one time, an introduction to the Book of Joshua.
unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah—literally, the head or summit of the Pisgah; that is, the height (compare Nu 23:14; De 3:17-27; 4:49). The general name given to the whole mountain range east of Jordan, was Abarim (compare De 32:49), and the peak to which Moses ascended was dedicated to the heathen Nebo, as Balaam's standing place had been consecrated to Peor. Some modern travellers have fixed on Jebel Attarus, a high mountain south of the Jabbok (Zurka), as the Nebo of this passage [Burckhardt, Seetzen, &c.]. But it is situated too far north for a height which, being described as "over against Jericho," must be looked for above the last stage of the Jordan.
the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead—That pastoral region was discernible at the northern extremity of the mountain line on which he stood, till it ended, far beyond his sight in Dan. Westward, there were on the horizon, the distant hills of "all Naphtali." Coming nearer, was "the land of Ephraim and Manasseh." Immediately opposite was "all the land of Judah," a title at first restricted to the portion of this tribe, beyond which were "the utmost sea" (the Mediterranean) and the Desert of the "South." These were the four great marks of the future inheritance of his people, on which the narrative fixes our attention. Immediately below him was "the circle" of the plain of Jericho, with its oasis of palm trees; and far away on his left, the last inhabited spot before the great desert "Zoar." The foreground of the picture alone was clearly discernible. There was no miraculous power of vision imparted to Moses. That he should see all that is described is what any man could do, if he attained sufficient elevation. The atmosphere of the climate is so subtle and free from vapor that the sight is carried to a distance of which the beholder, who judges from the more dense air of Europe, can form no idea [Vere Monro]. But between him and that "good land," the deep valley of the Jordan intervened; "he was not to go over thither."
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