The Lord Buries Moses

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

In Deuteronomy 34:5-6, Moses climbs the Mount and the text literally says that God buried Moses. Is this a literal reading of the Lord burying Moses and how would that have happened?

There are three options here that would agree with the grammar. The first is to understand that the Lord God himself buried Moses alone. No one else was present. This would explain why no one knows exactly where Moses is buried. Since there were no witnesses, only the Lord knows his actual burial site.

This would be the ideal situation so that the Israelites would not venerate or turn Moses into some type of idol. He is one of the three great leaders of Israel alongside of Abraham and David. So it was good that the Lord buried him himself.

A second option is to understand that “they” buried Moses. This may refer to a small group of his lights to did nowhere Moses was buried. If this is the case, they never told anyone with the same result that the Israelites don’t know where Moses’ aerial site is today.

A third option is to understand “he” as a solitary individual who buried Moses, perhaps Joshua himself. But she would have the same result as “they” burying Moses. This person would have not revealed the location to anyone.

The first option is most likely the best that agrees with the text in the most ways. It could have been the Angel of the Lord, a theophany in which the pre-existing Jesus shows up again in the Old Testament and berries Moses.

But there is one other example of the Lord doing something himself in a physical way. God spoke the world into existence but he took time with humanity. He formed Adam out of the dust of the ground and breathed life into his nostrils (Genesis 2:7).

No one knows how God did this physical thing. He is a spirit that has some kind of capability to do physical things when it wishes. It is possible that Moses’ burial was one of these times. I personally favorite taking this literally that the Lord himself in some form buried Moses so that no one would be able to venerate him.

Such a view also shows that God honored Moses and death as he stood beside him in life and the two of them spoke face-to-face. Moses hard one of the most intimate relationships with God that any human being has ever had. So God honored him in his death as he honored in his life.

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