Book of Deuteronomy-Devarim


JJ Tissot - Moses Views the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34).The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth and final Book of the Pentateuch of Moses, also known as the Torah or Law. The Law includes the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which is followed by the Book of Joshua. The Book of Deuteronomy was known as Hadabarim in Hebrew Scripture, which means “the Words,” namely, the words Moses spoke to the people in the fortieth year following the Exodus, on the other side of the Jordan River from the Promised Land. It is known asDeuteronomy (Second Law) because Moses recaps the Ten Commandments and the Laws governing the Covenant between God and the Israelites. There were also additional Laws in the Deuteronomic Covenant not present in the Sinai Covenant, such as the provision for warfare, to allow the conquest of Canaan; a provision for Kingship; and the Law given for one Sanctuary.




The Book is organized into three discourses of Moses: Historical Review and Exhortation (1:1 – 4:43), God and His Covenant (4:44 – 11:32), Exposition of the Law (12:1 – 28:69), as well as a prolonged Epilogue (29:1-34:12), which includes his Final Words, the Song of Moses, and his death. Moses emphasizes the Covenant with God and includes the second rendering of the Ten Commandments (5:6-21). He further calls for the Israelites to be faithful to the Covenant.Deuteronomy 30:15-20 expresses the conditional nature of the promise of the Land, as it emphasizes the correlation between faithfulness to the Covenant and settlement in the Land, and between infidelity and Exile. The final portion of Deuteronomy (Chapters 31-34) relates the last acts of Moses and his death.




Moses offered excellent medical advice on Marine Life (14:9-10), which remains just as relevant today! The Book of Deuteronomy in a sense provides a bridge, for it serves both as a summary of the Providence of God towards his chosen people in the Pentateuch, and as a prologue to the theological History of the Israelites in the Promised Land as recorded in the Historical Books of the Old Testament. For example, Deuteronomy 12:17 points to one Sanctuary, “the place where he dwells,” a place of centralized worship, accomplished with the building of Solomon’s Temple (I Kings 5-8); Chapter 17 speaks of the role of a King should the people decide on one, and the three provisions of a just king; and Chapter 30 prophetically warns of an Exile if the people are disobedient to their Covenant with God.




The Book of Deuteronomy is often alluded to and quoted in the New Testament, as noted in the following three examples. When Jesus Christ named the first of the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27), He referenced Deuteronomy 6:4-5 – “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. Therefore, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Jesus answered the devil in the first temptation (Luke 4:4) by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, “It is written, ‘man does not live by bread alone.'” Moses is quoted is both Acts 3:22-23 and 7:37 when he gave the definition and promise of a prophet in Deuteronomy 18:15-19.




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