Divine anger, divine holiness and the exclusion of Moses in Numbers and Deuteronomy
Man, Kin Foon
This dissertation investigates the exclusion of Moses from the Promised Land in Numbers and Deuteronomy. Why are there different reasons given for his exclusion in the two books? Can they be explained by the complex redactions of Deuteronomy? There are four different answers to the question of Moses’ exclusion. According to Deut 1-3, divine anger is directed at Moses because he is the leader of the first exodus generation on whom the wrath of God is visited. Moses is excluded because he should bear the same punishment as the first generation of Israelites who left Egypt. Another reason is given in Deut 4, a mixture of late layers in the Deuteronomistic History. Accordingly, Moses’ exclusion is compared to the destruction and scattering of the future generations of the Israelites who provoked God to anger. The “anger-punishment pattern” of Moses’ exclusion, which is a theme of divine anger in the Deuteronomistic History, is used to confess the sin of the Israelites. Thirdly, in the post-Priestly passages in Numbers and Deuteronomy, Moses is ordered to die because of the sin of failing to sanctify YHWH. The exclusion of Moses is a natural consequence of his death outside the Promised Land. Finally, Deut 31 and 34 imply that Moses has reached the limit of life span which was set by YHWH.