Deuteronomy 3:23-28, 4:21-22 – Moses’ Death outside the Holy Land


Deuteronomy 3:23-28


Despite Moses’ pleading, God confirms that Moses will die outside of the Promised Land.


Moses twice reaffirms here (Deuteronomy 3:26, 4:21) that God was angry with him on account of the Israelites, and again says nothing about striking the rock (Numbers 20:11-13), an event that was at least the proximate cause of his exclusion from the Promised Land.

Here, however, Moses appeals God’s decision. Moses has begun to see the greatness and strength of God, and would like to see more, if he could only be allowed into the Holy Land. God responds that Moses has pleaded enough, and God would not like to hear any more on the topic. As a sort of compromise, God instructed Moses to climb to the top of Mount Nebo and view the land. Moses was allowed to see the land with his own eyes, but still prevented from entering it (Deuteronomy 34). Joshua, instead, was to lead the people into the land. 

The author of Hebrews perhaps thought of Moses, as well as the other named examples earlier in the chapter when writing, “All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).