Moses Prepares for Death

Deuteronomy 32:44-52

When Moses finishes his song, which he sang with Joshua, he instructs the people to take heed of everything he has said and to teach it their children. It is with these lessons that the people will cross the Jordan, and they will keep the nation prosperous in the land.


God then tells Moses to ascend Mount Nebo so that he may overlook the land of Israel before he dies. Just as Aaron died upon a mountain, God tells Moses he shall, too, and for the same reason: because the two brothers sinned against God at Meribath-kadesh, neither merited to enter the land with the nation.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think Joshua sang the song with Moses? If you look back at the previous portion, where the song is commanded (31:16-22), he is not included in the command, nor do the introductory comments note that Joshua participated (31:30).

Comments ( 9 )

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  • Don Mueller

    This passing of the mantle from one who spoke “face to face” for 40 years were some Big sandals to fill and a Public declaration of Authority Had to be made to reassure and encourage. Now they were to be carrying sword and spear and sling offensively instead of the defensive they had been doing. Time to claim what they had been given.

  • They sang together because they both agreed with the contents of the "song". The song was meant to be learned by all the people of Israel so that in times of backsliding this "song" would remind them of G-ds decrees. They now knew that Joshua too knew the song and shouldn't act differently from Moshe. Moshe had Joshua sing with him to once more underscore the authority of Joshua and show him being of the same "line".

    • It is also possible that Torah symbolizes that as Moshe's lifesong was ended and the last part was sung together that Joshua couldn't any longer rely on the prayers (the songs of) of Moshe but Joshua had to sing "his own song".

  • I agree, Joshua was to be Moshe's successor, an extension of Moshe as Ahuva has put it; Joshua was accordingly anointed to prophesy to Bnei Yisrael just like Moshe. I also think being in the company of someone for a longtime, you get to resemble that person or even pick up some of their habits — Joshua had picked a lot from Moshe.

  • Sheila

    Joshua was commissioned at the Tent ofMeeting with Moses just prior to the Lord speaking with Moses — 31:16—- which to me infers that Joshua would have been with Moses and assisted him as the song was delivered to the people. This was also a reinforcing of Joshua’s position standing with Moses and now ready to take on the mantle.

    • It’s true, it could be inferred, and perhaps the question is disingenuous then, but a careful reading of the Joshua’s commission shows that he and Moses are both addressed separately by God. It may demonstrate, however, that Joshua is an extension of Moses, and whatever the one is responsible for, the other may complete.

  • Herman

    To show the people that Joshua knew all Moshe knew. No excuses of the side of the people or reproach the they had been lead astray. No Joshua knew and acted like Moshe.By allowing Jehoshua to sing with him Moshe also showed to stand behind Jehoshua. Kind of singing conveying authority.

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