|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
34:5-8 Moses obeyed this command of God as willingly as any other, though it seemed harder. In this he resembled our Lord Jesus Christ. But he died in honour, in peace, and in the most easy manner; the Saviour died upon the disgraceful and torturing cross. Moses died very easily; he died at the mouth of the Lord, according to the will of God. The servants of the Lord, when they have done all their other work, must die at last, and be willing to go home, whenever their Master sends for them, Ac 21:13. The place of his burial was not known. If the soul be at rest with God, it is of little consequence where the body rests. There was no decay in the strength of his body, nor in the vigour and activity of his mind; his understanding was as clear, and his memory as strong as ever. This was the reward of his services, the effect of his extraordinary meekness. There was solemn mourning for him. Yet how great soever our losses have been, we must not give ourselves up to sorrow. If we hope to go to heaven rejoicing, why should we go to the grave mourning?
Verse 5. - According to the word of the Lord; literally, at the mouth of the Lord. The rabbins interpret this, "by a kiss of the Lord" ('Baba Bathra,' 17 a); i.e. as Maimonides explains it ('More Nevoch.,' 3:51), Moses "died in a moment of holiest joy in the knowledge and love of God." The phrase, however, simply means "by or according to the command of" (cf. Genesis 45:21; Exodus 17:1; Leviticus 24:12; Numbers 3:16, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So Moses the servant of the Lord died there, in the land of Moab,.... Which formerly belonged to Moab, and was taken from them by Sihon king of the Amorites, and now in the possession of Israel: here on a mountain in this land Moses died; and yet, contrary to the express words of this text, some Jewish writers affirm (w) that be died not, but was translated to heaven, where he ministers; yea, that he was an angel, and could not die: but it is clear he did die, even though a servant of the Lord, as he was, and a faithful one; but such die as well as others, Zechariah 1:5; there is a saying of some (x) Jews,"Moses died, and who shall not die?''no man can promise himself immortality here, when such great and good men die: the Targum of Jonathan says, he died on the seventh of Adar or February, on which day he was born; and it is the general opinion of the Jewish writers (y), that he died on the seventh of that month, in the middle of the day, and that it was a sabbath day: though, as Aben Ezra observes (z), some say he died on the first of Adar; and Josephus (a) is express for it, that it was at the new moon, or first day of the month; and with this agrees the calculation of Bishop Usher (b):
according to the word of the Lord; according to the prophecy of the Lord, and according to a command of his, that he should go up to the above said mountain and die, Numbers 27:12; or, as the Targum of Jerusalem, according to the decree of the Lord; as the death of every man is, both with respect to time and place, and manner of it: it is appointed for men once to die, Hebrews 9:27; because it is in the original text, "according to the mouth of the Lord" (c); hence some Jewish writers, as Jarchi particularly, interpret it of his dying by a kiss of his mouth, with strong expressions and intimations of his love to him, Sol 1:2; and no doubt but he did die satisfied of the love of God to him, enjoying his presence, and having faith and hope of everlasting life and salvation; but the true sense is, he died according to the will of God, not of any disease, or through the infirmities of age, but by the immediate order and call of God out of this life.
(w) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 13. 2. Yalkut & R. Abraham Seba in Tzeror Hammor in loc. (x) Seder Tephillot, fol. 213. 1. Ed. Basil. (y) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 38. 1. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 10. p. 29. Judasin, fol. 10. 1. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 7. 2. so Patricides apud Hottinger, p. 457. (z) Pirush in Deut. i. 2. so Midrash Esther, fol. 93. 2.((a) Ut supra, (De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 18.) sect. 49. (b) Annales Vet. Test. p. 37. (c) "super os", Montanus; "juxta os", Tigurine version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. Moses … died—After having governed the Israelites forty years.
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