7. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old. Again he celebrates a special favor of God, viz., that all the senses of Moses remained unimpaired to extreme old age, in order that he might be fit for the performance of his duties: for thus it was manifested how dear to God was the welfare of the people, for which He so carefully provided. Some, indeed, though very few, are found, who are capable of public government, even to their hundredth year. Already, however, at that period, the rigor of the whole human race had so diminished that, after their seventieth year, they dragged on their life in “labor and sorrow,” as Moses himself bears witness. (<199010>Psalm 90:10.) It was, consequently a conspicuous sign of the paternal favour wherewith God regarded His people, that Moses should have been thus unusually preserved in rigor and strength. If the powers of Moses had failed him long before their entrance of thepromised land, his debility would have been very inconvenient to thepeople: yet naturally he would not have been so long sufficient for the performance of his onerous duties. It follows, then, that when God did not suffer him to fail, He showed wonderful consideration for the people’s welfare. Mention is specially made of his eyes, by synecdoche, yet the sum of the matter is this, that he was neither imbecile nor feeble, for neither were the faculties of his mind exhausted, nor his body dried up.
It needs not that I expound at any length, what is added respecting the solemn mourning, because I have elsewhere shown, f330 that the ancients were particular in their attention to the performance of funeral rites, on account of their faith not being as yet so elevated from the measure of revelation they had received, as to be easily able to forego those external aids to it, for which there is not the same necessity under the Gospel. It is natural to man to mourn for the dead; and, besides, this mourning was justly instituted in consequence of the loss which the Church had sustained; but a ceremony is here recorded, which was brought to an end with the fulfillment of the shadows of the Law. Our dead are, therefore, now to be buried in such a manner as that our grief may be restrained by the hope of resurrection so clearly revealed by the coming of Christ.
9. And Joshua the son of Nun. It is again shown how perseveringly God provided for the welfare of the people. We have already seen how, at the request of Moses, Joshua was chosen to succeed him. Now, when he is about to take upon him his office, “thespirit of wisdom” was imparted to him, that it might be effectually manifested that he was appointed by God. He had been, indeed, previously endowed with excellent gifts, but he was now much more splendidly adorned with the ensigns of dignity, in order that his calling by God might be more certainly proved; for thus is God wont to furnish those, whom He calls, with capacity for action. The imposition of hands was also subjoined, which was no empty symbol of God’s grace. But inasmuch as I have already fully spoken of these things, I now only lightly touch upon them.