The Scene and Circumstances of Moses' Death
Deuteronomy 32:49-52
Get you up into this mountain Abarim, to mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho…

I. THE LONELINESS OF THE DEATH ON NEBO. Moses was strong in faith, and its strength was tested here. It had often been tried before, and had stood the trial. In battles, in contentions with his people, it had been tested, and had stood the test. But what is death, when the blood is heated and the passions up, compared with death alone, apart from friends and friendly sympathy, with no kindly eyes and no sounds of loving words! There was great courage here. You have read of men who, in the excitement of battle, when death was strewing the red plain with human clay, rejoiced with a joy that knew no fear, and through the hell of carnage hewed their way to victory. In such cases death was met with great courage; but it was met with greater in the case of him who, with "eye undimmed and natural force unabated," quitted a high post of command, abandoned an enterprise when on the eve of accomplishment, without understanding the why or wherefore, and with life vigorous and strong within him, alone, unaccompanied, and by human eye unseen, calmly awaited death.

II. THE NEBO MYSTERY — one sows and another reaps. Have you never known a man whose youth and early manhood have been industriously spent in preparation for the serious work of life, in whose breast noble aspirations burned, of whom it was evident that the world would be the better for him, and who, with extensive acquirements, mature culture, confirmed principles, and thorough training, was about to step thus equipped into the arena of life, resolved to leave his mark for good on his age and time, when the command came, "Get thee up into the mountain, and die there," etc.? And the magnificent prospect of his life passed; the tree that many a sun had ripened and many influences of earth and sky had cherished, fell as its mass of blossom was passing into fruit. Have you never known a mother who, after a long and faithful training of her children, after patient watch and ward for many a year, during which she has considered no labour too great, no struggle too hard, no suffering and pinch too severe to equip them for the competition of life — as she is about to enter into the reward of her long and patient work, and to see in the success and gratitude of her children the recompense of many an anxious day and sleepless night, hears the command, sharp and sudden, from the Master of life, "Get thee up," etc.? Have you never known a merchant who, after many a year of ceaseless toil, during which, by shrewdness and patience, he had amassed fortune enough to give him ease and comfort for the remainder of his life, when about to enter his Canaan of rest, is suddenly struck down, the command having come, "Get thee up," etc.?

III. THE INGREDIENT OF JOY THAT WAS MINGLED IN THE CUP. "Be gathered unto thy people." These words imply a social heaven — not heaven as a dim, vague, ethereal scene, — but as a communion, a fellowship. Were it not so, our whole nature and instincts would require to be changed on entering it. "As Aaron thy brother died." Why this allusion, if not to give comfort to the old man? if not to intimate that his death would be meeting with his brother? This prospect must have taken at least one pang from death, and infused at least one drop of joy into the bitter cup he was called to drink.


(John Stuart, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:

WEB: "Go up into this mountain of Abarim, to Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and see the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel for a possession;

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