October 10, 2011

The View From Mount Pisgah

This week's portion was the last chapter in Deuteronomy- chapter 34. In this portion, YHWH has told Moshe that it is his time to die, and shows Moshe the land of Yisrael's inheritance. The question was raised, "Did Moshe literally see the land, or was this one of those 'vision' sort of things?"

On Google Earth, I zoomed in to the top of what is supposed to be Mt. Pisgah, and followed the Horizon line using the "Path" tool. After zooming out to see the area that I had just drawn out, I realized that it *may* have been literally talking about some of the parts of the Land of Yisrael which were mentioned, but not likely. After showing this to my parents, Dad said that it pretty much matched the results of what he had found by doing virtually the same thing on his computer.

So...we looked at the Hebrew- using the Strong's translations, what little we know of the Hebrew language, and some Paleo-Hebrew information from Jeff Benner. This is some of what we found. Hopefully it is comprehensible. :-)

"And Mosheh went up from the desert plains of Mo’aḇ to Mount Neḇo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Yeriḥo. And יהוה showed him all the land of Gilʽaḏ as far as Dan, and all Naphtali and the land of Ephrayim and Menashsheh, all the land of Yehuḏah as far as the Western Sea, and the Negeḇ, and the plain of the Valley of Yeriḥo, the city of palm trees, as far as Tsoʽar. And יהוה said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Aḇraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Yaʽaqoḇ, saying, ‘To your seed I give it.’ I have let you look at it with your eyes, but you do not pass over there.” And Mosheh the servant of יהוה died there in the land of Mo’aḇ, according to the mouth of יהוה."
- Deuteronomy 34:1-5

Here's what it says with the name meanings translated:

"And [the drawn out] went up from the desert plains [of her father] to Mount [Prophecy], to the top of [the Cleft] which is opposite [The city of the Moon]. And YHWH showed him all the land of AlefTav [heap of witness] as far as [the Judge] and all [my wrestling] and the land of [double fruit] and [causing to forget], all the land of [the celebrated] as far as the [latter seas], and the [parched], and the plain of the valley of [the city of the moon], the city of [the upright ones], as far as [the little one]. And YHWH said to him, 'This is the land of which I swore to [the father of many nations], to [laughter], and to [hand on the heel], saying, 'To your seed I give it.' I have let you look at it with your eyes, but you do not pass over there." And [the drawn out], the servant of YHWH died there in the land [of her father], according to the mouth of YHWH."

There is lots of interesting stuff in this set of verses when you break down the words, but way too much to be able to type into a blog post. But the part that seemed most important to me was the phrase, "...And YHWH showed him all the land of Gil'ad..."

Gil'ad has an AlefTav in front of it (as do several other words) and means "heap of testimony".

The image below shows the AlephTav, the pictographic spelling and meaning of the word Gilad, the Strong's # and definition. (Remember, hebrew is read from right-to-left.)


It seemed to me that in that one word, YHWH was showing Moshe time. Everything that YHWH did for His people from that day forward, was revealed to Moshe on top of that mountain.

Because he took the credit for producing the water from the rock at Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Tsin (Deut. 32:51), Moshe wasn't allowed to enter into Yisra'el's inherited land. He did not give a "heap of testimony" of YHWH to the children of Yisra'el. But at the mountain, before he died, YHWH let Moshe see the "heap of testimony" that would happen throughout history, which would glorify YHWH and purify His people. Regardless of whether Moshe did the right thing or not, YHWH would make himself known to all generations. That one mess-up won't stop Him.

Moshe couldn't enter into the land personally, but he was able to see much more than any of those going into the land were able to see. So here's my personal theory- I think Moshe may have died of a heart-attack, from the awe of seeing all of Yah's story. Honestly, I think it would have been breath-taking. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Love this! I was looking at the AlefTav's too but that is an incredible way to look at it. :D Enjoy your Sukkot!

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