Summary of Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy is couched in the form of a farewell discourse delivered by MosesProphet who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land and received the law at Sinai More on the plains of Moab (1:1-5). It opens with a review of how God had brought the people to the verge of the Jordan (1:1-4:43). In a second discourse, Moses explains the significance of the covenantA covenant is a promise or agreement. In the Bible the promises made between God and God's people are known as covenants; they state or imply a relationship of commitment and obedience. More (chapters 5-11) and introduces the Deuteronomic Law Code (chapters 12-26), the heart of the book. This is followed by instructions for the renewal of the covenant (chapter 27), a list of blessings and curses (chapter 28), and a final exhortation to observe the covenant (chapters 29-30). The Song of Moses (chapters 31-32), his final blessingBlessing is the asking for or the giving of God's favor. Isaac was tricked into blessing Jacob instead of his firstborn Esau. At the Last Supper Jesus offered a blessing over bread and wine. To be blessed is to be favored by God. More of Israel (chapter 33), and the account of his death on Mt. NeboNebo is a mountain in Jordan. It is known as the promontory from which Moses, at the end of the book of Deuteronomy, observed but did not enter the Promised Land. According to tradition Moses is buried on Mount Nebo, though the biblical record states... More (chapter 34) bring the book to a close.
Deuteronomy, more than any other book, has set the tone for subsequent interpretation of the PentateuchThe Pentateuch is a Christian term the first five books of the Old Testament. These books contain stories of Israel's early history, God's covenants, and many laws such as the Ten Commandments). More (Genesis-Deuteronomy), including its title in Judaism, “TorahThe Torah is the law of Moses, also known as the first five books of the Bible. To many the Torah is a combination of history, theology, and a legal or ritual guide. More.” In addition, Deuteronomy became the theological basis for and introduction to the next major section of the Bible: the Former Prophets in Judaism and the Historical Books in Christianity (JoshuaThe successor of Moses, Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan More, Judges, SamuelThe judge who anointed the first two kings of Israel More, and Kings), as well as the book of JeremiahProphet who condemned Judah's infidelity to God, warned of Babylonian conquest, and promised a new covenant More. It is among the most commonly quoted books in the New Testament, with JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More quoting from Deuteronomy more often than any other book.
WHERE DO I FIND IT?
In English Bibles, Deuteronomy is the fifth book in the Old Testament (and the final book of the Pentateuch). It follows Numbers and comes before Joshua.
WHO WROTE IT?
Ancient tradition identifies Moses as the author of Deuteronomy. Today, many scholars believe that Deuteronomy is the initial part of the Deuteronomistic HistoryDeuteronomistic history refers to the narrative contained in the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings. This narrative, probably written in the age of Israel's exile (mid-6th century B.C.E.), recounts Israel's history prior to the exile. More (Joshua-Kings) and that various older traditions have been gathered together and edited by a nameless exilic editor or editors.
WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN?
There is some agreement that the central core of Deuteronomy (chapters 12-26) was the basis for the extensive reforms of JosiahJudean king noted for his reforms of Israel's worship in the time of Jeremiah More (2 Kings 22-23) in 622/621 B.C.E. Deuteronomy as we know it is the final result of a long process of growth, probably culminating during the Babylonian exile in the sixth century B.C.E.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Deuteronomy is cast in the form of a series of three sermons delivered by Moses on the plain of Moab just prior to the Israelites’ entrance into the land of Canaan (1:6-4:43; 4:44-28:68; 29:1-30:20). Much of the second sermon consists of a long body of legislation (chapters 12-26). Wedged between the second and third sermons are a covenant renewal at Shechem (chapter 27) and a list of blessings and curses (chapter 28). Deuteronomy concludes with the Song of Moses (chapters 31-32); Moses’ blessing of the tribes (chapter 33); and the death of Moses on Mt. Nebo (chapter 34).
HOW DO I READ IT?
While Deuteronomy is presented as three sermons delivered by Moses, a careful reading of the book reveals that this is not the case. The concern for worship only at the central sanctuaryA sanctuary is the consecrated area around the altar of a church or temple. It also means a place of safety where one can flee for protection. In the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms, God is referred to as a sanctuary, a refuge from... More (chapter 12) and the various legal traditions reflect the social, political, and economic situation of an established community. As the product of a long process of the application of Israel’s historic traditions, Deuteronomy seeks to apply those traditions to the contemporary Israelite community whether that community is the audience addressed by Moses, the reforming king Josiah in the seventh century B.C.E., or the exiles in Babylon.