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It seems that Moses died at exactly 120 years old or at least in his 120th year, according to

Deut 34:7: And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

Deut 31:2: And I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in; also the Lord hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan.

What might be the significance of the 120 years?

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2 Answers 2

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Moses' life was divided into three providential periods of 40 years each. The first was his 40-years in Pharaoh's palace; the second was his 40 years of exile in Midian; and the third was his 40 years leading the Israelites through the wilderness.

And the end of the second period (the beginning of the Exodus) he also went through three 40-day periods: his first 40-day fast on Mount Sinai, his second 40-day fast there, and the 40-days of scouting the land of Canaan. Each of these ended in failure due to the faithlessness of the people. This was the reason for the third 40-year period of wandering in the wilderness.

The Bible often uses 400-year 40-year periods to indicate important providential accomplishments over time. Examples include the 400-year period of slavery in Egypt (Genesis 15:13), Isaac marrying Rebekah at the age of 40 (Genesis 25:20), the Israelites eating manna in the wilderness for 40 years (Exodus 16:35), Joshua beginning his public mission at the age of 40 (Joshua 14:7), several 40-year periods of peace in the Book of Judges (Judges 3:11, 5:31. etc.), Samuel's judging Israel for 40 years (1 Samuel 4:18), and the kingship of David and Solomon each lasting 40 years (1 Kings 2:11, 1 Kings 11:42).

The 120 years of Moses' life is also equivalent to the 120-year life-span of a human being mentioned in Gen. 6:3:

3 Then the Lord said: My spirit shall not remain in human beings forever, because they are only flesh. Their days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years.

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    @ Dan Fefferman. Good job ! I was looking for that Gen. 6 :3. I have always seen a possible connection there, but most think that verse relates to 120 years building the ark. The fact that Abraham and Isaac lived to 175 and 160 kind of conflicts though.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 7:58
  • I too thought about the ark, but when I looked it up, no verse actually says Noah took 120 years to build it. arkencounter.com/blog/2011/11/18/… Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 15:18
  • Therefore we are left with the MOST obvious answer from scripture. Gen 5:32) And Noah was five hundred years old; and begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ch.6:1 AND it came to pass______.. The conjunction AND connects the last verse in 5:32 with 6:1. Gen. 6:9-10 repeats. Noah begetting his 3 sons. This forms a sort of parentheses around the thought in Gen. 6:1-8. Therefore notwithstanding anything I have said above it takes from the 600th year of Noah (Gen.7:11) going backward to the 500th year of Noah for the building of the ark. Assuming all this true the 120 years means other.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 15:48
  • I ran out of space and had to squeeze that in. Not to leave anyone confused, it appears the building of the ark took 100 years from the time God gave Noah the reason for building it until the rain began to fall. This gives new meaning to the 120 years in Gen.6:3. No longer will God's spirit give life to maintain mankind to almost a thousand years but a new lifespan of 120 years has been established.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 16:00
  • you may have something to add to the answer to this question Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 4:08
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Isaiah 46:9-10

9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else, I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Based on these two verses coincidence is not an option. Therefore given that Moses' strength was not abated, we see that God did determine Moses' 120 years.

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  • @agarza. Thanks one more time! Have a great Christmas.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 15:19

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