Deuteronomy 1:1-5 – Introduction to Deuteronomy


Deuteronomy 1:1-5


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:

  • Moses is God’s mediator (vv. 1, 3).
  • Moses addresses the Torah to “all Israel”–not just to various tribes, or the later Northern Kingdom, or Judah, 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 11-day journey (v. 2) that took 40 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 covenant.