DATE: 1410 B.C.
The Hebrew title of this book is taken from the opening phrase Eleh ha-devarim, “These are the words…” The English title “Deuteronomy” comes from the Greek deuteronomion, meaning “second law,” or “a copy of this law” in Deuteronomy 17:18.
Deuteronomy elaborates on the responsibilities of Israel as God’s covenant people. Many of the laws contained in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers are repeated in Deuteronomy.
The book records the words of Moses spoken during the final months of his life in the plains of Moab prior to the nation’s entrance into the Promised Land. The people would soon be led by Joshua into a land in which they would face war, temptations, and a new way of life. These people had not personally experienced God’s deliverance at the Red Sea or the giving of the law at Sinai so Moses reminded them of God’s power and His laws.
It’s understood that the account of Moses’ death in chapter 34 could not have been written by Moses, but that does not deny the authorship of Moses for the rest of the book. It was customary to add an obituary to the final work of a great man, and it presumed that someone (perhaps Joshua) would have added the obituray to the last writings Moses.
The book may be considered to be a constitution for the nation of Israel in the land. The document begins with a preamble (1:1-5) and a historical prologue (1:6-4:49). It then offers provisions (5:1-26:19) and consequences for disobedience and blessings for faithful obedience (27:1-30:20). Finally, if closses with arrangements for continuation of the covenant (31:1-33:29).
Jesus quoted from this book to refute the devil (Matt. 4:1-11) and to summarize the law (Matt. 22:37). Of the 27 books of the New Testament, 17 books contain quotes from Deuteronomy.
Important passages in Deuteronomy include: 5:6-21 (the Ten Commandments); 6:4-9 (the Shema, “Hear, O Israel”); 13:1-5 (on false prophets); 18:9-15 (on false diviners); 29:1-30:20 (the Palestinian covenant).
OUTLINE OF DEUTERONOMY
I. Introduction, 1:1-5
II. Recapitulation of Israel’s Wanderings: Historical, 1:6-4:43
A. Israel at Sinai, 1:6-18
B. Israel at Kadesh-barnea, 1:19-46
C. Israel’s Journey from Kadesh to Moab, 2:1-3:29
1. The journey to Transjordan, 2:1-23
2. The conquest of Transjordan, 2:24-3:11
3. The allotment of Transjordan, 3:12-29
D. Israel on the Plains of Moab, 4:1-43
1. A call to obedience, 4:1-40
2. The cities of refuge, 4:41-43
III. Rehearsal of Israel’s Law: Legal, 4:44-26:19
A. Commands Concerning God, 4:44-12:32
1. The Ten Commandments, 4:44-5:33
2. The command to love the Lord, 6:1-25
3. The command to destroy the Canaanites, 7:1-26
4. The command to remember God’s past dealings, 8:1-10:11
5. The call to commitment, 10:12-11:32
6. The command concerning the central sanctuary, 12:1-32
B. Commands Concerning False Prophets, 13:1-18
C. Commands Concerning Food, 14:1-21
D. Commands Concerning Tithes, 14:22-29
E. Commands Concerning the Sabbath Year, 15:1-23
F. Commands Concerning Festivals, 16:1-17
G. Commands Concerning Leaders, 16:18-18:22
1. Judges, Deut 16:18-17:13
2. Kings, Deut 17:14-20
3. Levites, Deut 18:1-8
4. False Diviners, 18:9-14
5. Messiah, 18:15-19
6. Prophets, 18:20-22
H. Commands Concerning Human Relationships, 19:1-26:19
1. The cities of refuge, 19:1-13
2. The boundary mark, Deut 19:14
3. Witnesses, 19:15-21
4. Warfare, 20:1-20
5. Manslaughter, 21:1-9
6. Marriage and family life, 21:10-22:30
7. The assembly, 23:1-18
8. Protection for the weak, 23:19-25:19
9. First Fruits, 26:1-19
IV. Ratification of Israel’s Covenant, 27:1-30:20
A. Prerequisite Ceremonies, 27:1-26
B. Promise of Blessings, 28:1-14
C. Promise of Curses, 28:15-68
D. Provisions of the Palestinian Covenant, 29:1-30:20
V. Conclusion, 31:1-34:12
A. Charges Related to Moses, 31:1-29
B. Song of Moses, Deut 31:30-32:47
C. Testament of Moses, 32:48-33:29
D. Death of Moses, 34:1-12
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