555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

88. What Was the Dispute Over Moses' Body Between Michael and Satan?




The passage in Jude 1 :g referring to the dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses, is regarded by Vitringa, Lardner, McKnight and other distinguished commentators as symbolical, "the body of Moses" being intended to represent the Mosaic law and institutions (see Zech. 3:1), in the same manner in which modern Christians call the Church "the body of Christ." According to others, it has reference to a Jewish legend connected with the secret burial of the great lawgiver (Deu. 34 6). The Targum of Jonathan attributes the burial of Moses to the hands of angels, led by Michael as the guardian of Israel. Other views set forth in the Hebrew books are that Satan disputed the burial, claiming the body because of the blood of the Egyptian whom Moses slew, and because of the leader's sin at Meribah. Having "the power of death," he opposes the raising of Moses' body again for these reasons, but the hitter's visible presence with Enoch and Elijah at the Transfiguration gave evidence of Michael's triumph, and was also a pledge of the coming resurrection. Josephus, the Jewish historian (in Anri quities 4:8), states that God hid the body of Moses, lest it should be worshiped by the people.