Deut. 32:2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain
Neal A. Maxwell
In Moses’ day, a generous God let his doctrine “drop as the rain.” (Deut. 32:2.) In Eli’s day, however, “there was no open vision.” (1 Sam. 3:1.) In Joseph Smith’s day, there was a “pouring down” of “knowledge from heaven” (D&C 121:33), a cascade of “plain and precious” truths, including the pivotal doctrine of the premortal existence of man. (See 1 Ne. 13:39–40.) (“Premortality, a Glorious Reality,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 17)
Deut. 32:4 He is the Rock
“Moses spoke of the God of Israel as a Rock: ‘Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect, … a God of truth and without iniquity.’ (Deut. 32:3–4.) David wrote, ‘the Lord is my rock, and my fortress, … my shield, … my high tower.’ (2 Sam. 22:2–3.) Enoch heard the Lord say, ‘I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven.’ (Moses 7:53.) Paul explained that the children of Israel under the leadership of Moses ‘drank of that spiritual rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.’ (1 Cor. 10:4.) Nephi praised the Lord as the ‘rock of my salvation’ and the ‘rock of my righteousness.’ (2 Ne. 4:30, 35.) The patriarch Jacob spoke of the Lord as ‘the shepherd, the stone of Israel.’ (Gen. 49:24.) This stone is identified in latter-day revelation as Jesus Christ: ‘I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall.’ (D&C 50:44; see also “Jesus Christ, Rock,” in Topical Guide, LDS edition of the King James Version of the Bible.)
“Isaiah spoke particularly of the Lord as ‘a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.’ (Isa. 28:16.) And Paul explained that the faithful Saints belong to the household of God ‘built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.’ (Eph. 2:20.)” (Robert J. Matthews, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Jan. 1984, 52)
Deut 32:8 the most High divided to the nations their inheritance
Howard W. Hunter
The whole human race is the offspring of one man. Paul said that by divine plan the offspring has been scattered over the earth at the “times before appointed”—that is, the period fixed by God for the several families to go into the countries where he decreed they should dwell. Not only did God determine the times when they should go, but also the “bounds of their habitation.” or, in other words, the countries where they should dwell so that their posterity might carry out the Lord’s divine purposes.
The second passage of scripture is from the Book of Deuteronomy. The writer uses these words:
“When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel” (Deut. 32:8).
This would indicate that the Lord separated the offspring of Adam into nations and at the same time provided an inheritance for the children of Jacob…
From those passages of scripture we learn these basic principles:
First: All men on earth are of one blood—we stem from common ancestors, Adam and Eve.
Second: God, our Father, in his omniscient wisdom, determined premortally the nation in which we were to live.
Third: Nationalities are apparently circumscribed in relation to the House of Israel.
Fourth: Our Father does not favor one people over another, but accepts all those of every nation who fear him and work righteousness. (“All Are Alike unto God,” Ensign, June 1979, 72)
Deut. 32:9 Jacob is the lot of his inheritance
Harold B. Lee
It would seem very clear, then, that those born to the lineage of Jacob, who was later to be called Israel, and his posterity, who were known as the children of Israel, were born into the most illustrious lineage of any of those who came upon the earth as mortal beings.
All these rewards were seemingly promised, or foreordained, before the world was. Surely these matters must have been determined by the kind of lives we had lived in that premortal spirit world. Some may question these assumptions, but at the same time they will accept without any question the belief that each one of us will be judged when we leave this earth according to his or her deeds during our lives here in mortality. Isn’t it just as reasonable to believe that what we have received here in this earth life was given to each of us according to the merits of our conduct before we came here? (“Understanding Who We Are Brings Self-Respect,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 5)
Theodore M. Burton
This tells me that approximately 2,500 years before there were any children of Israel, God had divided Adam’s sons into families to reflect the coming destiny of those same children of Israel. Jesus Christ himself came through definite lineage lines. Thus there was, and is, planning for the preservation of priesthood lineage. Alma made this clear when he said of men holding the high priesthood that they were “called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works.” (Alma 13:3. Italics added.) (“Blessed Are the Peacemakers,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 55)
Deut. 32:10 the apple of his eye
“The King James Version most likely can never be completely replaced because it is such a vital part of the heritage of English-speaking nations. Its language that has become ‘part and parcel of our common tongue—bone of its bone and flesh of its flesh.’ In one fifty-year period alone, this Bible was the source of more than eleven hundred titles of published books, a credit to its ‘terse and telling imagery.’ And everywhere in our language are its unforgettable phrases: ‘the apple of his eye’ (Deut. 32:10; see Ps. 17:8; Prov. 7:2), ‘the signs of the times’ (Matt. 16:3), ‘a pearl of great price’ (Matt. 13:46), ‘a labor of love’ (1 Thes. 1:3), ‘straining at a gnat’ (Matt. 23:24), ‘a thorn in the flesh’ (2 Cor. 12:7).” (Lenet H. Read, “How the Bible Came to Be: Part 7, The Sweet and Ripened Fruit,” Ensign, Aug. 1982, 55)
Deut. 32:49-52 The Death of Moses
The Genesis version of the death of Moses is confusing. It states that the Lord ‘buried him in a valley in the land of Moab’ (Deut 34:6). Well what does it mean to be buried by the Lord?
Mark E. Petersen
Many are the stories about the death of Moses. One says that he died on Adar 7, his own birthday, when he was 120 years old. Another story says that he died as a hero and was fittingly buried. But others say that actually he did not die at all. One legend says that while he was ascending Mount Abarim with Joshua and Eleazar and the elders of the people, suddenly a cloud enveloped him and took him into heaven.
To explain the account of his burial place, which was known only to God, one story says that "God concealed Moses, keeping him for the life in the future world, and no creature knew where he was."
In the Pseudepigrapha (2:409), there is a quotation from the Midrash Tanchuma Debarim, a Hebew apocalypse, that says that when Moses' life was over, he was transformed into "the form of a fiery angel" and ascended "through the seven heavens." This same volume also gives a legend that when Moses arrived in heaven he saw there the heavenly Jerusalem and the holy temple, both of which were to return to earth in the latter days when God had gathered all Israel from the four quarters of the earth. (Moses: Man of Miracles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 47)
Mark E. Petersen
Did Moses die, or was he translated?
After Moses had completed his work and had brought the Twelve Tribes to the borders of the Promised Land, he climbed "the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah" and the Lord "shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan."
And the Lord said: "This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed."
But then the Lord added:
I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.
So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.
And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. (Deut. 34:1-8.)
In the first chapter of Joshua, who was appointed as Moses' successor, we read:
Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,
Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. (Josh. 1:1-2.)
A puzzling scripture occurs in Jude, where we read: "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses." (Jude 9:1)
And then we have this from the Book of Mormon:
And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of.
Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial. (Alma 45: 18-19. Italics added.)
President Joseph Fielding Smith discussed this matter and said:
Now, there was a reason for the translation of Elijah. Men are not preserved in that manner unless there is a reason for it. Moses was likewise taken up, though the scriptures say that the Lord buried him upon the mountain. Of course, the writer of that wrote according to his understanding; but Moses, like Elijah, was taken up without tasting death, because he had a mission to perform. . . (Moses: Man of Miracles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 185.)