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The Talmud: Selections, by H. Polano, [1876], at

p. 163



"The Lord said to Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die."

The death of Moses is alluded to, in the Bible, ten times.

"Thy days approach that thou must die." (Deut. 31: 14.)

"And thou shalt die on the mount." (Deut. 33: 50.)

"For I am going to die."

"For I know that after my death." (Deut. 31: 29.)

"And how much more after my death." (Deut. 31: 27.)

". . . Blessed the children of Israel before his death." (Deut. 33: 1.)

"And Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died." (Deut. 34: 7.)

"And it came to pass after the death of Moses." (Josh. I: 1.)

"Moses, my servant, is dead." (Josh. 1: 2.)

Moses himself thought that he had committed but a slight offence, which would be pardoned; for ten times had Israel tempted God's wrath and been forgiven through his intercession, as it is written, "And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word." But when he became convinced that he would not be pardoned, he made the following supplication:

"Sovereign of the Universe, my trouble and my exertion

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for Israel's sake is revealed and known before Thee. How I have laboured to cause Thy people to know Thee, and to believe in Thy holy Name and practise Thy holy law, has come before Thee. O Lord, as I had shared their troubles and their distress, I hoped to share their happiness. Behold now the time has come when their trials will cease, when they will enter into the land of promised bliss, and Thou sayest to me, 'Thou shalt not pass over this Jordan.' Oh, Eternal, great and just, if Thou wilt not allow me to enter into this goodly land, permit me at least to live on here in this world."

Then God answered Moses, saying:

"If thou wilt not die in this world, how canst thou live in the world to come?"

But Moses continued:

"If Thou wilt not permit me to pass over this Jordan, let me live as the beasts of the field; they eat of the herbs and drink of the waters, and live and see the world; let my life be even as theirs."

And God answered:

"Let it suffice thee; do not continue to speak unto me any more on this matter." (Deut. 3: 26.)

Yet again Moses prayed:

"Let me live even as the fowls; they gather their food in the morning and in the evening they return unto their nests,--let my life be even as theirs."

And again God said:

"Let it suffice thee; do not continue to speak to me any more on this matter."

Then Moses, convinced that his death was determined on, proclaimed:

"He is the Rock; His work is perfect and His ways are just; the God of truth, just and upright is He."

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"And Moses died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord."

Holy Writ testifies to the righteousness of Moses, "And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face."

The heavens wept and exclaimed, "The pious one hath departed, there is none upright among men."

When Joshua searched for his friend and teacher and failed to find him, he wept bitterly and cried, "Help me, O Lord! for the pious have ceased to be."

The angels proclaimed, "He executed the justice of the Lord;" and Israel added, "And His judgments with Israel." And together they exclaimed:

"He shall come in peace; they shall rest in their beds every one walking in his uprightness."

Blessed be the memory of the just.

Next: IV. The Book of Esther