Several key themes of Deuteronomy are presented here.
Different streams of tradition have been combined in these opening verses to provide an introduction to the content of the book. Several important themes are announced:
- MosesProphet who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land and received the law at Sinai More is God’s mediator (vv. 1, 3).
- Moses addresses the 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 to “all Israel”–not just to various tribes, or the later northern kingdomThe Northern Kingdom consisted of ten of the twelve tribes of Israel and lasted for 200 years until it was destroyed by Assyria in 721 B.C.E. In the northern kingdom the kings were evil. Prophets like Elijah and Amos railed against them and their evildoing. More, or JudahJudah was the name of Jacob's fourth son and one of the 12 tribes. More, or even the Israelites present on the verge of the Jordan, but all Israel down through the ages. The frequent use of “today” in the ensuing narrative also testifies to this contemporizing aspect of the message.
- At the heart of the text, we read that God had commanded Moses to engage in all these activities (v. 3b).
- The jarring juxtaposition of an eleven-day journey (v. 2) that took forty years (v. 3) would remind readers/hearers of Israel’s apostasy and the prolongation of the wilderness wanderings that ensued.
- Moses is also the one whom God has chosen to expound the torah, to teach and to educate the people in the ways 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.