Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Ordinary A48


Then MosesA went up from the plainsB of MoabC to Mount Nebo,D to the top of Pisgah,E

Notes on verse 1a

A “Moses” = mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
B “plains” = arabah. From the same as arab (desert plateau, Arabia) OR from arab (to become evening); {from ereb (evening) or from arab (to exchange, give or take on pledge, braid, intermix)}. This is a desert valley or plain, wilderness. Also, the name of a place Arabah.
C “Moab” = moab. May be from ab (father, ancestor, grandfather; father in a literal or figurative sense). This is Moab or Moabite. Name could mean “from her father” in reference to the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters. The name could also mean, more pleasantly, “seed of a father” or “desirable land.” See
D “Nebo” = nebo. 13x in OT. From Akkadian nabu (to prophesy, announce); related to Hebrew nabi (prophet) and nabah (to be important or high). This is Nebo – the name of a city and mountain in Moab. It is also a Babylonian god of wisdom and the god of the scribes. The name likely means foreteller or height. See
E “Pisgah” = Pisgah. 8x in OT. From pasag (to go between, pass through; figuratively to contemplate or consider). This is Pisgah, meaning cleft. It is a mountain in Moab.

 which is oppositeF Jericho,G and the LordH showed him the whole land: GileadI as far as Dan,J 

Notes on verse 1b

F {untranslated} = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
G “Jericho” = yericho. From yareach (moon); {from the same as yerach (month)} OR from ruach (small, breathe, perceive, anticipate, accept, enjoy). This is Jericho meaning either “moon city” or “fragrant place.”
H “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
I “Gilead” = gilad. From gala (to lay bare, quarrel, expose) OR from gal’ed (heap of testimony); {from gal (wave, billow, rock pile; something rolled; a spring of water); {from galal (to roll, roll away, wallow, commit, remove; rolling in a literal or figurative sense)} + ed (witness, testimony, recorder); from ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve)}}. This is Gilead, meaning “perpetual fountain” or “heap of testimony.” See
J “Dan” = dan. From din (to judge, straight course). This is Dan or a Danite. It means “judge” and can refer to Dan, his tribe, or the lands of the tribe.

all Naphtali,K the land of EphraimL and Manasseh,M all the land of JudahN as far as the WesternO Sea,P 

Notes on verse 2

K “Naphtali” = Naphtali. From pathal (to twist, twine, wrestle, struggle, behave in an unsavory way). This is Naphtali, meaning “my wrestling.” It can refer to Naphtali, his tribe, or the lands of the tribe.
L “Ephraim” = ephrayim. From the same as epher (ashes or dust – properly something strewn) OR from parah (to grw, increase, be fruitful in a literal or figurative sense). This is Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons, his descendants, and their land.
M “Manasseh” = menashsheh. From nashah (to forget, neglect, remove, deprive). This is Manasseh, literally “causing to forget.” It is Manasseh, his tribe, or the lands of the tribe.
N “Judah” = yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”
O “Western” = acharon. From achar (to be behind, delay, be late, procrastinate, continue). This is end, last, coming behind, to loiter, later. It can also refer to the west.
P “Sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.

the Negeb,Q and the PlainR—that is, the valleyS of Jericho, the cityT of palm treesU—as far as Zoar.V 

Notes on verse 3

Q “Negeb” = negeb. Root may mean to be parched. The Negeb is the south country – sometimes used to refer to Egypt. This is a land that suffers from a lot of drought.
R “Plain” = kikkar. From karar (to dance or whirl). This is round so it can refer to a circle, a circular region, a weight used for measurement, money, a loaf of bread that is round, a cover, a plain, or a valley in the Jordan.
S “valley” = biqah. From baqa (to divide, split open, tear, breach, break open, dash to pieces). This is a valley or plain. Properly, it refers to a place where the mountains have split – a wide, flat valley between them.
T “city” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
U “palm trees” = tamar. 12x in OT. From the same as tomer (palm tree, the trunk of that tree, a post). The root may mean being erect. This is a date palm or other palm tree. This is also the root of Tamar’s name in the Bible.
V “Zoar” = tsoar. 10x in OT. From tsaar (to be brought low, small, little one; figuratively, be insignificant or ignoble). This is Zoar or Tsoar, a city whose name means “insignificance” or “little.”

The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I sworeW to Abraham,X to Isaac,Y and to Jacob,Z saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’;AA I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross overBB there.” 

Notes on verse 4

W “swore” = sheba. From sheba (seven, by sevenfold; it can also be used to imply a week or an indefinite number; symbolically, this is the number of fullness, sacredness, perfection). This verb, properly means to be complete – literally, to seven yourself. In terms of oath taking, this is to swear with the same seriousness as if you had declared the thing seven times.
X “Abraham” = Abraham. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
Y “Isaac” = yitschaq. From tsachaq (to laugh, mock, play, make sport; this is laughing out loud whether in joy or in a scornful way). This is Isaac, meaning “he laughs.”
Z “Jacob” = yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.
AA “descendants” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
BB “cross over” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.

Then Moses, the servantCC of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command.DD He was buried in a valleyEE in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor,FF but no oneGG knowsHH his burial place to this day. 

Notes on verses 5-6

CC “servant” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
DD “command” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
EE “valley” = gay. Perhaps from the same as gevah (pride, confidence); from gevah (the back or body); from gey (the back, among); from ga’ah (to grow up, rise, triumph, be majestic). This is valley or gorge that has high walls. It is, perhaps, a narrow valley, but not a winter-torrent.
FF “Beth-peor” = beth peor. 4x in OT. From bayit (house, court, family, palace, temple); {from banah (to build)} + Peor (Peor – a mountain in Moab and a god of Moab; perhaps meaning gap); {from paar (to gape, yawn; open wide – especially the mouth – in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Beth-Peor, meaning House of Peor.
GG “one” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
HH “knows” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.

Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpairedII and his vigorJJ had not abated.KK 

Notes on verse 7

II “unimpaired” = lo + kahah. Literally “not dimmed.” Kahah is 8x in OT. This is to darken, grow faint, fail, be weak, have one’s eye dim or become dull.
JJ “vigor” = leach. 1x in OT. From the same as lach (fresh, green, moist; root may mean to be new). This is moisture, freshness, or vigor.
KK “abated” = nus. This is to flee, vanish away, hide, escape, be displayed.

The IsraelitesLL weptMM for Moses in the plainsNN of Moab thirty days; then the periodOO of mourningPP for Moses was ended.QQ

Notes on verse 8

LL “Israelites” = ben + yisrael. Literally “children of Israel.” Yisrael is from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
MM “wept” = bakah. This is to weep, complain, or lament.
NN “plains” = arabah. Same as “plains” in v1. See note B above.
OO “period” = yom. Literally “days.”
PP “mourning” = beki. Related to “wept” in v8. From bakah (see note MM above). This is ongoing weeping, overflowing. By analogy, this can also mean dripping.
QQ “was ended” = tamam. This is to finish or accomplish. It is to make perfect, demonstrate that you are upright, consume or cease. It is to complete in a literal or figurative sense, positive or negative.

JoshuaRR son of NunSS was fullTT of the spiritUU of wisdom,VV

Notes on verse 9a

RR “Joshua” = Yehoshua. Related to “Lord” in v1. From YHVH (see note H above) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Joshua, Jeshua, or Yehoshua, which means “the Lord is salvation.”
SS “Nun” = nun. From nun (to propagate, continue, resprout, be perpetual). This is Nun or Non, meaning “perpetuity.”
TT “full” = male. From male (fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate; fill in a literal or figurative sense). This is full in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean filling or pregnant.
UU “spirit” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
VV “wisdom” = chokmah. From chakam (to be wise or teach wisdom; this is wisdom in thought, word, or action). This is wisdom, wit, or skillfulness.

because Moses had laidWW his handsXX on him; and the Israelites obeyedYY him, doing as the Lord had commandedZZ Moses.

Notes on verse 9b

WW “laid” = samak. This is to lean, rest, support, brace, uphold, sustain, or establish. It is to lean on in a positive or negative sense.
XX “hands” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
YY “obeyed” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
ZZ “commanded” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).

10 Never since has there arisenAAA a prophetBBB in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. 11 He was unequaled for all the signsCCC and wondersDDD that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt,EEE against PharaohFFF and all his servants and his entire land, 

Notes on verses 10-11

AAA “arisen” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
BBB “prophet” = nabi. Perhaps related to “Nebo” in v1. See note D above. This is prophet, prophecy, speaker, or someone inspired.
CCC “signs” = ot. From avah (to mark, sign, point out); OR from uth (to agree). This is a sign in a literal or figurative sense. It could be a flag or monument. It could be evidence or a mark. It could also be an omen or a miracle. 
DDD “wonders” = mopheth. Perhaps from yaphah (to be beautiful, decorate; root means being bright, which implies being beautiful). This is a wonder, miracle, symbol, sign, or omen.
EEE “Egypt” = mitsrayim. Perhaps from matsor (besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment; something hemmed in; a siege or distress or fastness); from tsur (to confine, besiege, to cramp). This is Egypt.
FFF “Pharaoh” = paroh. From Egyptian pr (palace, pharaoh; literally house + great). This is Pharaoh, a title for Egyptian kings. See

12 and for all the mightyGGG deedsHHH and all the terrifyingIII displays of powerJJJ that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

Notes on verse 12

GGG “mighty” = chazaq. From chazaq (to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden). This is strong, hard, powerful, loud, bold, violent, impudent. It is usually strong in a negative sense.
HHH “deeds” = yad. Same as “hands” in v9. See note XX above.
III “terrifying” = mora. 12x in OT. From yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.). This is fear, dread, respect, or reverence. It can also be a fearful thing or action.
JJJ “displays of power” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.

Image credit: “Moses Viewing the Promised Land” by Frederic Edwin Church, 1846.

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