Deuteronomy 34:6
And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
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(6) And he buried him.—Moses is alone in this honour. The Son of God was buried by sinful men. Moses was buried by Jehovah.

But no man knoweth of his sepulchre.—I have always believed that the contention between Michael and the devil about the body of Moses (Jude 1:9) was in fact, a struggle for his body—that Moses was to be raised from the dead, and that Satan resisted his resurrection. When the contest took place we cannot say. But Moses, who died and was buried, and Elijah, who was translated, “appeared in glory” on the holy mount, and the New Testament gives no hint of difference between them. We do not know how Moses could have appeared as a disembodied spirit so as to be seen of men.

Deuteronomy 34:6. And he — That is, the Lord, the immediate and only antecedent to the pronoun he; buried him — Using, no doubt, the ministry of angels for this purpose. Some, indeed, who are of opinion that there was nothing miraculous in his death or burial, propose rendering the words, He was buried, urging in defence of this interpretation, that active verbs in the Hebrew are often taken passively. This may be true; but still upon the very face of the narrative it evidently appears, that the manner both of his death and burial was miraculous. He died, it is said, according to the word of the Lord — Who commanded him to go up to the mount and die there, as soon as he had viewed the promised land, (Deuteronomy 32:49-50,) and that at a time when his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated, (Deuteronomy 34:7,) and when certainly he had no symptom of any disease or weakness about him. And if there was nothing miraculous in his burial; if the Lord did not bury him, but he was buried by some of the people, and if by some, no doubt by thousands and myriads, why is it said, nay, how could it with truth be said, as it is in the next clause, No man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day? Surely, the plain and obvious meaning of this is, not, as the same persons would interpret it. “That, when this was written, time, which brings all things to decay, had left no footsteps of Moses’s monument, or had worn out the remembrance of the place where his body was laid,” but that no man ever knew of his sepulchre, as well as that none knew of it then. And the reason which has generally been assigned for God’s concealing from the Israelites the place where he was interred, namely, to prevent their superstition and idolatry, must be thought sufficient by those who recollect how these Israelites burned incense, long after this, to the brazen serpent which Moses made, and would probably much more have paid some superstitious, if not religious honour to his body, or the relics thereof, if they could have been found. Nor is the interpretation that, with a reference hereto, has usually been put upon Jdg 1:9, which speaks of Michael contending with the devil about the body of Moses, so unreasonable or unlikely, as some would insinuate. But of this when we come thither.

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?No man knoweth of his sepulchre - Hardly, lest the grave of Moses should become an object of superstitious honor, because the Jews were not prone to this particular fore of error. Bearing in mind the appearance of Moses at the Transfiguration Matthew 17:1-10, and what is said by Jude Jde 1:9, we may conjecture that Moses after death passed into the same state with Enoch and Elijah; and that his grave could not be found because he was shortly translated (transported) from it. 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.

He, i.e. the Lord, last mentioned, buried him either immediately, or by the ministry of angels, whereof Michael was the chief or prince, Judges 1:9.

No man knoweth of his sepulchre, i.e. of the particular place of the valley where he was buried; which God hid from the Israelites, to prevent their superstition and idolatry, to which he knew their great proneness. And for this very reason the devil endeavoured to have it known, and contended with Michael about it, Judges 1:9. And seeing God would not endure the worship of the relics or tomb of so eminent a person as Moses was, it is ridiculous to think God would permit this honour to be given to any of the succeeding saints, who were so far inferior to him.

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.

And {c} he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto {d} this day.

(c) That is, the angel of the Lord, Jude 1:9.

(d) That the Jews might not have opportunity to commit idolatry by it.

6. he buried] He can only be Jehovah, for no man knew the grave; hence the rendering they buried, though possible, so far as the grammar goes, is contrary to the sense.

the valley … Beth-peor] See on Deuteronomy 3:29.

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. Deuteronomy 34:6After this favour had been granted him, the aged servant of the Lord was to taste death as the ages of sin. There, i.e., upon Mount Nebo, he died, "at the mouth," i.e., according to the commandment, "of the Lord" (not "by a kiss of the Lord," as the Rabbins interpret it), in the land of Moab, not in Canaan (see at Numbers 27:12-14). "And He buried him in the land of Moab, over against Beth Peor." The subject in this sentence is Jehovah. Though the third person singular would allow of the verb being taken as impersonal (ἔθαψαν αὐτόν, lxx: they buried him), such a rendering is precluded by the statement which follows, "no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." "The valley" where the Lord buried Moses was certainly not the Jordan valley, as in Deuteronomy 3:29, but most probably "the valley in the field of Moab, upon the top of Pisgah," mentioned in Numbers 21:20, near to Nebo; in any case, a valley on the mountain, not far from the top of Nebo. - The Israelites inferred what is related in Deuteronomy 34:1-6 respecting the end of Moses' life, from the promise of God in Deuteronomy 32:49, and Numbers 27:12-13, which was communicated to them by Moses himself (Deuteronomy 3:27), and from the fact that Moses went up Mount Nebo, from which he never returned. On his ascending the mountain, the eyes of the people would certainly follow him as far as they possibly could. It is also very possible that there were many parts of the Israelitish camp from which the top of Nebo was visible, so that the eyes of his people could not only accompany him thither, but could also see that when the Lord had shown him the promised land, He went down with him into the neighbouring valley, where Moses was taken for ever out of their sight. There is not a word in the text about God having brought the body of Moses down from the mountain and buried it in the valley. This "romantic idea" is invented by Knobel, for the purpose of throwing suspicion upon the historical truth of a fact which is offensive to him. The fact itself that the Lord buried His servant Moses, and no man knows of his sepulchre, is in perfect keeping with the relation in which Moses stood to the Lord while he was alive. Even if his sin at the water of strife rendered it necessary that he should suffer the punishment of death, as a memorable example of the terrible severity of the holy God against sin, even in the case of His faithful servant; yet after the justice of God had been satisfied by this punishment, he was to be distinguished in death before all the people, and glorified as the servant who had been found faithful in all the house of God, whom the Lord had known face to face (Deuteronomy 34:10), and to whom He had spoken mouth to mouth (Numbers 12:7-8). The burial of Moses by the hand of Jehovah was not intended to conceal his grave, for the purpose of guarding against a superstitious and idolatrous reverence for his grave; for which the opinion held by the Israelites, that corpses and graves defiled, there was but little fear of this; but, as we may infer from the account of the transfiguration of Jesus, the intention was to place him in the same category with Enoch and Elijah. As Kurtz observes, "The purpose of God was to prepare for him a condition, both of body and soul, resembling that of these two men of God. Men bury a corpse that it may pass into corruption. If Jehovah, therefore, would not suffer the body of Moses to be buried by men, it is but natural to seek for the reason in the fact that He did not intend to leave him to corruption, but, when burying it with His own hand, imparted a power to it which preserved it from corruption, and prepared the way for it to pass into the same form of existence to which Enoch and Elijah were taken, without either death or burial." - There can be no doubt that this truth lies at the foundation of the Jewish theologoumenon mentioned in the Epistle of Judge, concerning the contest between Michael the archangel and the devil for the body of Moses.
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