20:7-13). The frequency of the root עבר in God and Moses’ dialogue (3:23–28), as part of the broader context of Deuteronomy 3, indicates the authenticity of Moses’ sentence in the chapter. [24] Cf. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. According to tradition, Moses’ parents, Amram and Jochebed (whose other children were Aaron and Miriam), hid him for three months and then set him afloat on the Nile in a reed basket daubed with pitch. Secondly, as mentioned above, Levi was born to Jacob in Haran, and before his brother Joseph, who we know was born when Jacob was 91 years old (see study Genesis 31:38-41, Note 2 ). Loewenstamm argues that the expression indicates an extension in the text (Samuel E. Loewenstamm, “The Formula BaÊ¿et Hahi’ in the introductory speeches in Deuteronomy”, From Babylon to Canaan [Jerusalem 1992], 42–53). Summoned by God, Moses ascended the mountain and received the tablets of stone while the children of Israel heard the thundering forth of the Ten Commandments. The grounds for Moses’ “premature” death are presented differently in various sources of the Torah. Rather, the account indicates that God’s anger is evoked by the people’s negative response to the journey (v. 34). Moses was 120 years old when he died. 17:3–8 [cf. Moses is overreaching, asking for an unnatural extension of life so he could participate in the next stage of Israel’s destiny. The best known, and most often repeated claim is found in a narrative ascribed to the Priestly school, recounting that Moses’ death was a result of his wrongdoing with Aaron at Meribah: While the leader’s wrongdoing in the story is not entirely clear,[3] the narrative explicitly indicates that the failure was of Moses and Aaron (20:24, 27:12–14). Because of Moses’ sin of disobedience at the waters of Meribah Kadesh (Numbers 20:12; Deuteronomy 32:51), Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. This same Deuteronomistic quality is also apparent in Deut 4:1–40, an even later passage, which contains a prediction of Israel’s future repentance and return to the land. ; Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1983), 251–265 [251, 257–258, 264]. At that point, Moses pleads to YHWH to allow him to enter the land with Israel, but YHWH refuses. Initially adamant, the Pharaoh began to yield slowly, finally relenting when his eldest son died from the plague, allowing the Israelites to leave Egypt. 13:28, 31–33, 32:9), the Deuteronomist makes no mention of the information that led to the people’s opposition. Despite his age, Moses was still in his prime when he was called home. [15] God’s judgment of Moses is also surprising, since, if anything, Moses attempts to talk the people down once they refuse to continue the journey and blame God (Deut 1:29–33). But as the research proceeded, the conclusions changed. Even in the making of the Golden Calf the … 7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. Moses then went up Mount Nebo to the top of Pisgah, looked over the promised land of Israel spread out before him, and died, at the age of one hundred and twenty. The people are very sad and cry because Moses is dead. [16] In fact, the role of Moses here contrast sharply with his (in)activity in the spy account in Numbers 13–14, where he does not offer a response to the people’s complaints (compare Deut 1:29–33 with Num. the premature dismissal of Elijah in the midst of his prophetic activity (1 Kings 19:15–18) detached from the end of his life (2 Kings 2:11). Share. While בעבור can be used interchangeably with the particle למען (Gen 18:24–29, 27:19–25; Exod 9:16), it does not always convey “in favour of” (e.g. 32:51). The Biblical female name Miriam is of Hebrew origin and is considered to be an older version of the name Mary. Accomplishments and Strengths Jochebed gave birth to Moses, future Giver of the Law, and cleverly spared him from death as an infant. Deut 34:7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eyes were undimmed and his freshness unabated. Let us look at each statement in turn, paying careful attention to what it says in context. 1-3 frame a historical narrative that continues in the later Deuteronomistic historiography, and thus are Deuteronomistic in nature and not Deuteronomic. According to tradition, Moses’ parents, Amram and Jochebed (whose other children were Aaron and Miriam), hid him for three months and then set him afloat on the Nile in a reed basket daubed with pitch. Her book, When God Wanted to Destroy the Chosen People: Biblical Traditions and Theology on the Move, was published in 2019 by De Gruyter. For more on this, see Zev Farber, “Punishing Children for the Sins of Their Parents,”TheTorah.com [2015].) His eyesight wasn’t impaired and he was still vigorous and strong. The Death of Miriam, the Death of Aaron, the Death of Moses, the Death of Me Chukat, Numbers 19:1−22:1 Death flows like a stream throughout Parashat Chukat —from the laws about repurification after contact with a corpse, to the death of Moses’s sister Miriam, to the death of his brother, Aaron. Moses died in the year 2488, just before the people crossed over into the Promised Land (Deut. These supplements reflect the development of certain mythical dimensions of Moses, requiring that he did not die as a regular man. It is interesting to note that, when Moses died at the age of 120, he did not die of old age. [8] The NRSV translates two of the statements identically (“The Lord was angry with me on your account”, 1:37, 3:26), and uses closely similar language for the third occurrence (“The Lord was angry with me because of you”, 4:21). [6] The notion that Moses is suffering because of the people’s fault led scholars to define the Deuteronomic narrative as an expression of the belief in God’s vertical retribution, in which the penalty is extended to people other than the sinner. [18] The verb resonates with its more typical use related to “crossing,” thereby emphasizing that Moses’ crossing is against YHWH’s plan, in contrast to Joshua and the people’s crossing, which is in line with YHWH’s plan. Launched Shavuot 5773 / 2013 | Copyright © Project TABS, All Rights Reserved. Herbert B. Huffmon et al. In eight out of nine instances, it is used in two related ways: Significantly, the one remaining use of the root is the very unusual hitpa’el-form verb ויתעבר, meaning “became furious,” which refers to YHWH’s reaction to Moses’ request. It is the name of the coveted land beyond the border of the Jordan (עבר הירדן). This is despite the fact that, by Moses’ day, the typical lifespan was much shorter than 120. His prophecy was of a higher order than that of all other prophets. [13] In contrast to the story in the book of Numbers that attributes to the spies explicit words of criticism (Num. Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever. [8] But the tendency to translate these statements of Moses with identical or similar wording misses the diverse terminology of the statements in the Hebrew text. other incidents that describe Moses’ direct reactions to the people’s rebellions: Exod 32:19–29; Num 16:4–12, 16). The NRSV takes a similar approach. Aaron died soon after this event. His mission ends at the climax of his life, closing the period of the wilderness wandering. Moses - Moses - Years and deeds: One of the measures taken by the Egyptians to restrict the growth of the Hebrews was to order the death of all newborn Hebrew males. Abraham lived to be 175 years old; Joseph’s lifespan was 110 years; Moses was 120 years old when he died. 7 Moses was 120 years old when he died. (The Priestly agenda finds a marked reflection in Ezekiel’s prophecy that denounces the common view of collective/vertical retribution (Ezek 3:17–21, 14:12–23, 18:2–24, 33:7–20.) // Javascript URL redirection Why do they err in the case of Deut 4:21? He was closer to G‑d than any human being ever was. 2 Chron 9:5), דבריך, which can refer to King Solomon’s wise words (cf. And 1 Kings 8:46 [אנף]). Most English translations mistranslate this phrase. על דברי, על דבריו, על דבריכם) it means “word” or “speech.”[10] The phrase here thus means, “owing to your words” or “due to what you said.” This is accurately conveyed in the LXX Greek translation, περὶ τῶν λεγομá½³νων ὑφ᾿ ὑμῶν, as well as in Targum Onkelos’ Aramaic rendering על פתגמיכון, both of which mean “on account of your words,”stating that Moses was condemned because of specific words spoken by the people. Following Martin Noth, scholars have noted the strong connection between the book of Deuteronomy and the historical books, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, which he called the Deuteronomistic History. Deuteronomy here imagines that a new leader might better facilitate this process, enabling the people to begin a new stage released from their past bonds.[23]. 4, reflect an attempt to correct the impression that Moses died just because of old age like any other mortal, suggesting that a grave sin was responsible for his death. Instead, chs. See the diverse rabbinic interpretations of the story in Jacob Milgrom, “Magic, Monotheism, and the sin of Moses,” The Quest for the Kingdom of God: Studies in Honor of George E. Mendenhall (eds. A hint to this concept is also found in von Rad, Deuteronomy, 210. But how does Moses’ death benefit Israel and why is God angry with him? His death was destined to take place together with the demise of the congregation (vv. [19]In contrast, the redactional supplements in chs. more likely indicate the consolidation of the passages rather than their patches. Not a perfect man, but indeed, a great man of God. There on top of Mount Neʹbo Moses dies. 7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. בגללכם, על דבריכם; “because of you”, “because of your words”, 1:37, 4:21). 37-38).[17]. [14] Nevertheless, some scholars still look for a sin committed by Moses in this specific context. [14] But here too, Moses’ comment about his death seems out of place, interrupting the flow from what will happen to the generation of the spies and their children: The obscurity of the judgment of Moses is especially noticeable in this context when comparing the narrative with its textual source in the account of the spy story in Numbers 13–14. In addition, we do not know how long Noah’s wife lived, but Noah’s son Shem only lived 600 years. Then, on his 120th birthday, Moses ascended Mount Nebo, where G‑d granted him a view of the Land of Israel, which he so longed to enter. In Deuteronomy 3, Moses encourages Joshua by saying that the natives of the Cisjordan will fall to him just as easily as the Transjordan fell to Moses (vv. 13:30, 14:7–9). Deuteronomy 31:2 And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the LORD hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. Acts 7:23,30,36 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel…. עבר here functions as a Leitwort (literally, “leading word”; Hebrew, מילה מנחה) , appearing six times, and thrice in the previous passage (vv. – Apologetic and Polemical Tendencies in the Story of Caleb in Josh 14” (VT) and “The Cruel Theology of Ezekiel 20” (ZAW). It is within this historiographical unit that we find Moses’ autobiographical statements regarding the assurance that he is not to enter the land. 5 And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. Two of the statements refer to God’s reaction with the word התאנף (Deut 1:37, 4:21) whereas the verb ויתעבר is used in the other statement (3:26). Moses Harmon's passing at the age of 81 has been publicly announced by Aikens Funeral Home - Tampa in Tampa, FL . As a result, Aaron's death was more intensely mourned than Moses': when Aaron died the whole house of Israel wept, including the women, (Numbers 20:29) while Moses was bewailed by "the sons of Israel" only (Deuteronomy 34:8). Moreover, he argued that chapters 1–3(4) in Deuteronomy are not part of the core book (4:44–30:20) made up of a block of laws (chs. The use of the preposition למען, when attached to a noun, indicates anyone on whose behalf action is done. Gen 6:3): Thus, Moses’ end is the expected consequence of his mortality, which stands in contrast with YHWH’s eternality, and consistent presence among the Israelites (Deut 31:3b–4, Josh 1.2–5). 9 Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. Something went wrong while submitting the form. List of prophets names and Ages, prophets life duration, age of prophets noah, ibrahim, sulaiman, musa-moses a.s, muhammad s.a.w etc [3] And thus traditional (and modern) commentators have debated for two millennia exactly what they did wrong. One likely factor driving these translators is their desire to make this text correspond with 1:37, which reads בגללכם, “because of you.” Another factor may be the general context of chapter 4, which lacks any mention of specific words uttered by the people. [12] The only words mentioned in the chapter are God’s commandments (דבר, דברים, Deut 4:2, 9–10, 12–13, 15, 30, 36), referring to laws and statutes declared by him (דִּבֶּר, vv. For example, NRSV and ESV render, “because of you,” NJPS translates, “on your account,” and the King James reads, “for your sakes.” Whereas these translations elsewhere render על דבר correctly, as connected to words,[11] they miss it here. Over time, man’s lifespan continues to shrink. [7] J. Gordon McConville, Deuteronomy (AOTC; Leicester 2002), 55, 92, 95, 98. Contrarily, some sources claim that, as the kingdom went into mourning, Moses took the chance and left stealthily with his kinsmen, numbering around 15,000. The narrative further states that Moses’ death was because of the people (v. 37), suggesting that he dies as a result of a kind of collateral damage: all the Israelites who left Egypt (except for the good scout Caleb) may not enter the land, and this must include their leader, Moses. Among her articles are, “Who Conquered Hebron? He died in a ripe old age, no longer able (or allowed) to be active (Deut 31:2), though he was as fresh as a young man (34:7). Num 14:11–24), the terminology of Moses’ speech in Deut 1:29–33 is an indication of the author’s familiarity with this scene (compare Deut 1:32 with Num 14:11 and Deut 1:33 with Num 14:13–14). Much later, Caleb became one of the leaders of Israel after the death of Joshua. script type="text/javascript"> Joshua 14:10,11 And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old…, Conjunctive waw | Noun - proper - masculine singular, Moses -- a great Israelite leader, prophet and lawgiver, Preposition-b | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct | third person masculine singular, Death, the dead, their place, state, pestilence, ruin, Noun - common singular construct | third person masculine singular, Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person feminine singular, Noun - masculine singular construct | third person masculine singular, Conjunctive waw | Adverb - Negative particle, Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular, OT Law: Deuteronomy 34:7 Moses was one hundred twenty years old (Deut. These scholars argue that this is evidence that Deuteronomy’s explanation for Moses’ death predates the innovative doctrine of individual retribution reflected in the Priestly narrative about Moses. Dr. Gili Kugler is a lecturer of Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew at the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies in the University of Sydney. February 20, 2021. Moses Dies. These differences must be taken into consideration, as they reveal the diverse intentions of the authors, reflecting the complex process of the growth of the tradition. Moses had been supernaturally strengthened and protected from the effects of aging; he died because God had completed what He had planned for Moses. So why does God allow Moses to … 5:9; Jer 18:21; Job 27:14), whereas here, the leader’s fate is affected by the fate of his contemporary generation. Please support us. Verses 10-12 sum up the life of a great man of God. Thus chapter 1, followed by ch. Thus, by choosing the preposition למענכם for Deut 3:26, the author conveys that God’s anger was for the benefit of the people, rather than a result of their deeds. From Mount Nebo on “the top of Phasga” Moses views for the last time the Promised Land, and then dies at the age of 120 years. 4–6, 11). He was 120 years of age. 15, 33) at Horeb. He is buried in “the valley of Moab … More humble than any other man (Num. Moses wrote this speech down as well, forming the book of Deuteronomy, the last of the Five Books of Moses. [4], In contrast to this Priestly conception, three earlier references to Moses’ death in Deuteronomy (1:37, 3:26, and 4:21) make no mention of a sin on Moses’ or Aaron’s part, and seem to offer a different explanation. 12:3), "there hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom YHWH knew face to face" ( Deuteronomy 34:10). 12–27), framed by a motivational introduction (4:44-11:32) and a blessings-and-curses conclusion (chs. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. De Du). My considerations, however, were different from the considerations of those who pointed out that Moses could not function as a substitute that bears the people’s punishment, since the people were still punished. In fact, the text says that YHWH became furious with Moses “on your behalf” (למענכם), meaning that the decision was for Israel’s benefit. [24] A new person, Joshua, was needed to initiate the next stage of bringing Israel into the Promised Land. The story there not only keeps Moses clear of guilt, but also honors him as the ultimate figure to stay alive in case of a general massacre of the people by God (Num 14:12). Apart from the description of the suffering servant of Isaiah this interpretation must have been inspired by the belief in Jesus as destined to bear the people’s sins (Rom 4:25; 1 Cor 15:3; Col 2:13–14; 1 Pet 2:24). Oops! For modern engagements, see, George W. Coats, “Legendary Motifs in the Moses Death Reports,” CBQ 39 (1977): 34–44 (40); Thomas W. Mann, “Theological Reflections on the Denial of Moses,” JBL 98 (1979), 481–494 (481); Susan Ackerman, “Moses’s death,” Myth and Scripture: Contemporary Perspectives on Religion, Language, and Imagination (ed: Dexter E. Callender; Resources for Biblical Studies 78; Atlanta: SBL, 2014), 103–117 [105, 107]. Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, was 40 years old when he became one of the 12 spies sent by Moses into the promised land. [12] This explanation thus points to a problem in the text itself—the entire accusation about the people’s words (על דבריכם, 4:21) and the following reference (v. 22) seem misplaced. There is also a very similar Egyptian name, based on the word myr, meaning beloved or mr meaning love. 18-22), for a total of nine occurrences. According to Deut. TheTorah.com is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.We rely on the support of readers like you. Thus, the age of Moses and Aaron at the time of the Exodus was 81 and 84 years old, respectively (rounding up the 8 months to the next year). In fact, it is arguable that Moses’ death was not considered punishment at all. Mark 9:4–8; Luke 9:30–36]). 1 Kings 10:7–8), as well as to his great achievements and wealth (cf. Horeb, called Mt. Although Noah lived 950 years, his father, Lamech, lived only 777 years (granted we do not know if he died from old age). vv. [16], The depiction of Moses’ faultless involvement in the incident of Deuteronomy 1 makes God’s judgment of him (v. 37) even more obscure. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. Alexander Rofé, Introduction to the Literature of the Hebrew Bible (Jerusalem 2006 [Hebrew]), 30. The verses were added to supplement the information about the entrance into the land. According to the Bible, Moses was 120 when he died. However, in Old Testament times that would be considered prematurely. [15] While the recounting in Deut 1 does not record the scene of God’s threat of destruction (cf. Initiate the next stage of Israel ’ s destiny within this historiographical unit that we find ’. A very similar Egyptian name, based on the support of readers like you Chron )! Together with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had good vision and strong. Enter the land of Moab, as well, forming the book of Deuteronomy attributed to Moses the... Led to the people are very sad and cry because Moses had good vision and was strong to. ] ; Josephus, Antiquities 4:8, 48 ; Mat עבר הירדן ) force abated criticism Num... In turn, paying careful attention to what it says in context encouraged by the time weeping! Resembled those of today support of readers like you sole exception is the ambiguous use of the information about fate... Sequence ( six times! the border of the Lord showed him of! 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