Photo Credit: courtesy
Area of Mount Nebo (in Red) as seen from the Israeli town of Mitzpe Yericho (the town in the foreground is Biblical Jericho)

Moses ascended from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the summit of the cliff that face Jericho, and Hashem (G-d) showed him the entire land…And Hashem (G-d) said to him “This is the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob saying “I will give it to your offspring.” I have let you see it with you own eyes, but you shall not cross over to there (Deutoronomy 31: 1-4).”

Area of Mount Nebo (in Red) as seen from the Israeli town of Mitzpe Yericho (the town in the foreground is Biblical Jericho)

As we saw last week, Jordan’s best Biblical sites can be experienced WITHOUT ever leaving Israel (to read about the Gilead Mountains & Jabbok River, click here).  Today, we will explore a site so important that the Torah (Five books of Moses) ends with it and the Book of Joshua begins in that area.  Of course, I am talking about Mount Nebo!


For the best view, we will head to Mitzpe Yericho, a Jewish Israeli town in Judea & Samaria which has an amazing lookout!

Pointing out Mount Nebo on a tour of Vered Yericho, which also has a great lookout of Har Nebo. Jericho, one of the world’s oldest cities, can be seen in the background.

On a clear day many sites of significance are visible from here, including Jerusalem (Israel’s eternal capital), Amman (Jordan’s capital), Jericho (the first city conquered by the Children of Israel upon entering Israel), the Dead Sea (which is the lowest spot on Earth), Biblical Mount Nebo and more.

The story of Moses ascending Mount Nebo on his last day on earth actually started 40 years earlier with the exodus from Egypt, where the Children of Israel spent 40 years wandering in the desert.  The route they traveled encompassed Egypt, Jordan, Eilat (known as Ezion-Geber in the Bible, not part of Biblical Israel) and perhaps Saudi Arabia.

The possible route taken by the Children of Israel. Note that this route is not universally accepted, and some suggest that Saudi Arabia was really the location of Mount Sinai.

After 40 years the Jews, led by Moses, crossed the Arnon river and conquered the territory of the giant Sihon, who controlled the Ammonite Mountains.  They then found themselves just east of the Jordan River, opposite Jericho, in the plains of Moab.

The Jews were in eastern Jordan and crossed, via the Arnon River (see Numbers 21 about the Miracles that took place), to the other side which faces Israel (see red circle). They then conquered the mountains of Ammon controlled by the Giant Sihon (see aqua circle) and found themselves in the plains of Moab facing Jericho (see Yellow circle)

The tribe of Reuben asked Moses to be able to stay on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Moses reluctantly agreed and gave them the newly conquered territory of Sihon, which included Mount Nebo, as their tribal portion.

On the last day of his life (his 120th birthday) Moses was told by G-d that he was about to die, and that he should ascend to the top of Mount Nebo (Deutoronomy 32:49) to see the land of Israel before he died.  Before he ascended, he blessed all of the twelve tribes who were encamped at the plains of Moab and then ascended the mountain.

Giving a tour at Mitspe Yericho’s lookout point. The Plains of Moab, where Moses blessed the tribes and took leave from them, is clearly visible in the background (see red circle)

According to Jewish sources, when it was time for Moses’ soul to depart, G-d did not allow the angel of death to take his soul (as is done with most people) but told him to lie down, close his eyes, and then took his soul with a Divine kiss, and buried him himself in an unknown location on Mount Nebo.  In Jordan by Mount Nebo, there is a touristy site called “Tomb of Moses”.  There is actually little validity to this claim, in fact the Bible says, “No one knows his burial place to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:6).

View from Mount Nebo in Jordan, similar to what Moses saw on his last moments on Earth.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock


After Moses died, the Children of Israel mourned thirty days for their beloved leader.  After the thirty days, G-d told Joshua (Moses’ successor) to get his troops ready, for in three days they would be crossing the Jordan River.

The Jordan River is today’s border between Israel and Jordan (I am giving a tour on the Israel side, the people sitting on the steps are on the Jordanian side). This is believed to be the exact location of the river that the Children of Israel used to cross into the holy land!

Three days later, the Children of Israel were about to change world history forever…

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-To Be Continued…

(All images used are either free usage or properly licensed by the author)


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Nosson Shulman, veteran tour guide makes Israel come alive for you.; [email protected];