|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 6. - The valley in which God is supposed to have buried Moses was probably some depression on the Pisgah range, upon or close by Nebo. The rabbins say that Moses was buried by retiring into a cavern, where he died and where his body remained. It is probable that, like Enoch and Elijah, he was transferred to the invisible world without seeing corruption. Hence his appearance along with Elijah in bodily form on the Mount of the Transfiguration; and hence also, perhaps, the tradition of the contest for the body of Moses between Michael and Satan (Jude 1:9). If the body of Moses was actually buried, the concealment of his grave so that no man knew of it may be justly regarded as "the first instance on record of the providential obliteration, so remarkably exemplified afterwards in the gospel history, of the ' holy places' of Palestine; the providential safeguard against their elevation to a sanctity which might endanger the real holiness of the history and religion which they served to commemorate" (Stanley). The reverence which the Jews paid to graves shows that there was no small danger of their coming under a superstitious regard to that of Moses had it been known.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he buried him,.... Aben Ezra says he buried himself, going into a cave on the top of the mount, where he expired, and so where he died his grave was; but though he died on the mount, he was buried in a valley: Jarchi and so other Jewish writers (d) say, the Lord buried him; it may be by the ministry of angels: an Arabic writer says (e), he was buried by angels: it is very probable he was buried by Michael, and who is no other than the archangel or head of principalities and powers, our Lord Jesus Christ, for a reason that will be hereafter suggested, see Jde 1:9,
in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor; where stood a temple dedicated to the idol Peor, see Deuteronomy 3:29,
but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day; to the time when Joshua wrote this, or, as others think, Samuel: if Moses is the same with the Osiris of the Egyptians, as some think (f), it may be observed, that his grave is said to be unknown to the Egyptians, as Diodorus Siculus (g) and Strabo (h) both affirm; and the grave of Moses is unknown, even unto this our day: for though no longer ago than in the year 1655, in the month of October, it was pretended to be found by some Maronite shepherds on Mount Nebo, with this inscription on it in Hebrew letters, "Moses the servant of the Lord"; but this story was confuted by Jecomas, a learned Jew, who proved it to be the grave of another Moses (i), whom Wagenseil conjectures was Moses Maimonides (k); but some think the whole story is an imposition: the reason why the grave of Moses was kept a secret was, as Ben Gersom suggests, lest, because of his miracles, succeeding generations should make a god of him and worship him, as it seems a sort of heretics called Melchisedecians did (l): the death and burial of Moses were an emblem of the weakness and insufficiency of the law of Moses, and the works of it, to bring any into the heavenly Canaan; and of the law being dead, and believers dead to that through the body of Christ, and of the entire abrogation and abolition of it by Christ, according to the will of God, as a covenant of works, as to the curse and condemnation of it, and justification by it; who is Michael the archangel, and is the end of the law for righteousness; he abolished it in his flesh, nailed it to his cross, carried it to his grave, and left it there; the rites and ceremonies of it are to be no more received, nor is it to be sought after for righteousness and life, being dead and buried, Romans 7:6.
(d) Misn. Sotah, c. 1. sect. 9. Pirke Eliezer, c. 17. (e) Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. p. 32. (f) See Gale's Court of the Gentiles, B. 2. c. 7. p. 94. (g) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 18. (h) Geograph. l. 17. p. 552. (i) See Calmet's Dictionary, in voce "Sepulchre". (k) Not. in Sotah, p. 327. (l) Epiphan contr. Haeres. l. 2. Haeres. 55.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. he buried him—or, "he was buried in a valley," that is, a ravine or gorge of the Pisgah. Some think that he entered a cave and there died, being, according to an ancient tradition of Jews and Christians, buried by angels (Jude 9; Nu 21:20).
no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day—This concealment seems to have been owing to a special and wise arrangement of Providence, to prevent its being ranked among "holy places," and made the resort of superstitious pilgrims or idolatrous veneration, in after ages.
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