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However, there is some mixture of narrative and didactic material in sections V and VII. Moses interspersed much legal material in the narrative of Leviticus, and he interspersed much sermonic material in the narrative of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy is essentially a story in which Moses included several of his speeches to the new generation of Israelites. In both books, there is less narrative material than either legal or sermonic material. They summarize and introduce, with historical references, what follows.
"According to the Index locorum of Nestle's Novum Testamentum Graece Deuteronomy is quoted or otherwise cited at least 95 times in the New Testament (compared to 103 for Genesis, 113 for Exodus, 35 for Leviticus, and 20 for Numbers), making it one of the favorite Old Testament books of Jesus and the apostles." "The general theme of Deuteronomy can be comprehensively stated in a single sentence: it is a call to the service of one God by an elect people centered around one sanctuary, through obedience to the law in the land which God has given." "As we shall see, God is placing before His people, in this Book of Deuteronomy, the conditions of their occupancy of this land of Canaan. It is no exaggeration to maintain that the concept of covenant lies at the very heart of the book and may be said to be the center of its theology. This indicates that Moses assumed that those who read Deuteronomy would have prior knowledge of his preceding four books. The Israelites already far exceeded that number, being at the last census above 600,000." God had already "multiplied" the Israelites ("you are this day like the stars of heaven in number," v. "The remembrance of our dangers should make us thankful for our deliverances." The Hebrew word translated "take possession" (v. They were innocent, having "no knowledge of good or evil," and so had to depend on God to "give it to them" as a gracious Father (v. God disinherited them, and they wandered in the wilderness for forty years." The "consuming fire" metaphor refers to the manifestation of God's glory that burns in judgment all that is impure (cf. 24), but if they turn from Him, and He disciplines them, He will afterward have compassion on them (cf. The promise that God would "not fail" or "destroy" His people, or "forget [His] covenant" with them, indicates the extent of His love for Israel (Rom. "Heaven and earth are witnesses to the activity of Yahweh [v. Heaven and earth and other natural phenomena were part of the Hittite pantheon and functioned actively as treaty witnesses (cf. The total impression which God and Moses intended must have been awe and humble gratitude in the hearts of the Israelites. "Moses pleads for obedience; he must, for he is the Law-giver; Paul pleads for loving consecration [cf. 12:1-2]; he must, for he is the Grace-preacher; but the foundation of their pleas is the same'the mercies of God.'" III. 32:1-43)." Catholic Biblical Quarterly 13:2 (April 1951):153-63.
We shall see all these conditions sum themselves up into one great word: OBEDIENCE." Theology "In line with the general correspondence of the form of a thing to its function, it is safe to say that one cannot understand the theology of Deuteronomy without reference to its covenant form and structure . "Covenant by its very definition demands at least three elementsthe two contracting parties and the document that describes and outlines the purpose, nature, and requirements of the relationship. He did not just write Deuteronomy for the generation of Israelites about to enter the Promised Land, but for later generations as well, including our generation. 21), referring to the Promised Land, occurs over 50 times in Deuteronomy. looked behind his own failure and referred to the cause of his action, which was the people's criticism of the Lord's provision of food." God's provision of a new leader who would take the nation into the land followed Moses' failure ("Joshua the son of Nun . Moran, Bib[lica] 43, 1962, 318f.)." Moses' three rhetorical questions (vv. "In addition to His self-disclosure in event, in history, Yahweh revealed Himself as sovereign in theophany. "One of the principal means by which God has revealed Himself is in historical event, that is, by acts the community of faith could recognize as divine. HISTORICAL INTERLUDE: preparation for the covenant text -49 Having completed his address that reminded the Israelites to look backward and remember God's faithfulness so they would remain faithful in the future, Moses next turned to a reminder of what God's will for His chosen people involved.
The measure of one's love for God is the measure of a person's obedience to the revealed will of God (1 John 5:3). "Deuteronomy: An Exposition of the Spirit of the Law." Grace Theological Journal 8:2 (Fall 1987):213-25.
Consistent obedience is not the same as sinless perfection. 1692; reprint ed., Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1976.
In spite of such conclusive evidence, some scholars prefer a later date for Deuteronomy. In contrast, the name "Elohim" occurs only 38 times in this book. The English term "law" has negative connotations, but the Hebrew torah (lit. Similarly, Matthew structured his Gospel around five discourses of Jesus. Some expositors believe that God's faithfulness is the central message of this book of the Bible (cf. God did not consider Israel's responsibility to Him, before the giving of the Covenant, as great as it was after He gave it. This probably refers to the caravan route that ran from several miles south of the Dead Sea to Elath. Apparently later, when Israel was moving north toward Edom from Elath, God told Moses that they would pass through Edom (vv. They did this through "the way of the wilderness of Moab" (v. 23) were part of the "sea people," who had invaded Canaan from the northwest and settled in the southwest portion of that land. The conquest of the kingdom of Sihon -37 This narrative closely parallels the one in Numbers -32. 25) is an idiomatic hyperbole signifying all the nations in the vicinity; that is, at least from horizon to horizon (under heaven)." "The process of Sihon's fall was much the same as that of the fall of . This extensive portion of real estate was part of the land God had promised to Abraham. 14) occupied two Aramean states, located immediately north of Bashan. The author of the treaty is named (1, 2, 5, 10), reference is made to the preceding historical acts, the treaty stipulations are mentioned, the appeal is made for Israel to obey, the treaty sanctions, blessing and cursing, are referred to, witnesses are mentioned (26), and the obligation to transmit the knowledge of the treaty to the next generation is stated (10). Moses used the illustration of the recent seduction of the Israelites by the Midianites ("the case of Baal-peor"), and God's consequent plague (Num. He also referred to the praise that would come on the Israelites from other peoples for the Israelites' obedience ("Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people," v. Though they were perceived in highly anthropomorphic terms, they also were thought to be so busy and preoccupied with their own affairs that they could scarcely take notice of their devotees except when they needed them. Fearing God is becoming so acutely aware of His moral purity and omnipotence that one is genuinely afraid to disobey Him. Though the 'furnaces' of the OT world could not be heated sufficiently to make molten iron, artisans had learned to use bellows to make the hottest fire then known; and they knew that the hottest fire they could produce was necessary for their iron productions. "What is important to note here is that the exodus deliverance was predicated on Israel's prior election by the Lord. Rather, it was because they were his people by virtue of having been descended from the patriarchs, the objects of his love and choice, that he was moved to save them and enter into covenant with them." "This is the first time in the Bible that God tells anybody that He loves them.
Of course, Moses could have written these verses too, but this would be quite unusual. Some scholars have identified Deuteronomy with the "book of the law" that King Josiah discovered as he was cleaning out the temple (2 Kings 2223). The theory is impossible to prove, but there are reasons why some scholars have made this connection. The appointment of cities of refuge in Transjordan -43 B. Moses' second major address: an exposition of the law chs. The name "Yahweh" appears for the first time in verse 3, in Deuteronomy, and it occurs more than 220 times. "What the man and woman lost in the Garden is now restored to them in the Torah, namely, God's plan for their good." Four superscriptions signal the beginnings of Moses' speeches in Deuteronomy (1:1-5; -49; 29:1; 33:1). MOSES' FIRST MAJOR ADDRESS: A REVIEW OF GOD'S FAITHFULNESS Moses delivered three major addresses in Deuteronomy: first, a review of God's past faithfulness (), second, an exposition of Israel's present responsibility (chs. it is not an overstatement to propose that covenant is the theological center of Deuteronomy. All these formal features characterize Deut ." Moses began this first "sermon" by reviewing God's faithfulness to Israel. both names, Elath and Ezion-geber, referred to this place, perhaps to two parts of the oasis." God's care of "Moab" (v. 10-12, 20-23) to Moses' narrativeafter Israel had settled in the land. 11]: not an ethnic term, but a general designation for legendary pre-Israelite inhabitants of Palestine. The crossing of the Jordan River would mark the beginning of a new era in the Promised Land. 11) in order to document the fact that God gave the Israelites victory even over the giants, whom they had so greatly feared. The primary components of this profile show Moses as a suffering servant [here], teacher (see discussion of -33), intercessor (see ch. The Hebrew verb translated "to hear" occurs frequently in Deuteronomy. 1) were the permanent basic rules of conduct, whereas "judgments" (ordinances, v. In establishing treaties the sovereign had one copy of the treaty and the vassal the other, and each deposited his copy at his own sanctuary.
This theory goes back as far as the early church father Jerome (A. The form in which Moses wrote Deuteronomy is very similar to that of ancient Near Eastern suzerainty-vassal treaties, dating before and during the Mosaic era. This name is most expressive of God's covenant role with Israel. 526), and third, an exhortation to future obedience (chs. Moses gave these addresses so the new generation of Israelites would not repeat the sins of their fathers. an explicit literary structure to the book is expressed in the sermons or speeches of Moses; a substructure is discernible in the covenantal character of the book; and a theological structure is revealed in its theme of the exclusive worship of the Lord as found in the Ten Commandments, particularly in the First Commandment and its positive expression in the Shema (Deut. God had been faithful in bringing the nation from Sinai to her present location, and by giving her victory over her Transjordanian enemies. God's guidance from Sinai to Kadesh 1:6-46 Moses began his recital of Israel's history at Horeb (Sinai), because this was where Yahweh adopted the nation by making the Mosaic Covenant with her. the main settlement was the oasis of Aqabah, at the northeast corner of the gulf, and . They refer to events that happened after Israel crossed the Jordan (vv. These legendary heroes were apparently known by different names in different areas: Emim in Moab (see also Gen. "The reference to the demise of all the fighting men accomplishes at least two purposes: (1) it brings that whole era of desert sojourning to an end, and (2) it emphasizes more than ever that the impending victories of Israel in both the Transjordan and Canaan must be attributed not to Israel but to the Lord alone. Each was approached with a request to favor the Israelites (vv. Some writers have argued that the Hebrew word 'eres means "sarcophagus" rather than "bed." 5. for Yahweh [the covenant-keeping God] your Elohim [strong One], He [emphatic] is the one fighting for you." Israel's future success was certain, only because of Israel's God, not because of Israel's strength or wisdom. God did, however, allow Moses to view the land from a good vantage point ("the top of Pisgah [Mt. 9), and prophet (see 18:9-22)." God charged Moses with encouraging Joshua further ("charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him"; v. It is much easier to live by sight (human or carnal power) than by faith in God's promises (godly or spiritual power). The appeal to hearken and obey 4:1-8 Moses urged the Israelites to "listen to" (v. 1) were decisions God revealed in answer to specific needs. In the case of Israel the sanctuary was at the same time the sanctuary of Yahweh and that of Israel, and so held the two copies of the treaty/covenant; cf. 'with His presence'] brought you up from Egypt," v. Dallas, London, Vancouver, Melbourne: Word Publishing, 1997.
Deuteronomy is not so much a book of history, as Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers are, as it is a book of law. Moses' first major address: a review of God's faithfulness A. The nature of Deuteronomy, as a whole, is that it is an "exposition" (explanation) of all that God had commanded (v. What God had done in the past, he could continue to do in the future. "Virtually all of Palestine and Syria are included in these terms [in v. It will echo and anticipate disobedience and unwillingness to live by promise and instruction. Even though we in the Church Age have received much revelation about God, we cannot fully grasp all there is to appreciate about Him. Even Moses was excluded from the land of Canaan (i.e., the inheritance) because of his disobedience (Dt. Clearly, Moses will be in heaven, but he forfeited his earthly inheritance. God's "jealousy" is His zeal for righteousness that springs from His holiness. Israel's repentance, following apostasy, was to be wholehearted ("with all your heart and all your soul"; v. The "heart" refers to the seat of one's intellect and will (cf. Israel was not to miss the point ("He is God; there is no other besides Him"; v. The articulation of God's motivation in His great redemptive and saving acts for Israelas being His love for them ("because He loved . What national election does guarantee is that God's purpose(s) for choosing the nation will be accomplished and that the elect nation will always survive as a distinct entity.
In contrast to Leviticus, however, Deuteronomy is law preached rather than law taught. There is thus a presentation of a faithful God, whose demand was for a faithful people." Moses reflected on the past, mainly as Israel's history stands as revealed in the earlier books of the Pentateuch. 7], an area larger than Israel ever possessed in fact, even during the reigns of David and Solomon." "The Lord's gift of Canaan to Israel (v. 16) to help Moses carry the burden of legal decisions that resulted from the giving of the Law. Further, the chapter gives us clues about the purpose and context of Deuteronomy. Moses stressed this to assure the people that their future success was certain because of God's faithfulness, not theirs (cf. Evidently the thought of God, bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, "the iron furnace," in order to bring them into the land (v. Not entering Canaan does not necessarily mean one is not born again. He would not tolerate Israel's allegiance to any other god. ; f.) they witness the saving activity of Yahweh, especially in creation. 15:9), and the "soul" to the source of emotion, especially desire (cf. It guarantees the physical salvation of the nation and, in the case of Israel, even a national salvation. "The Law: God's Standard for Life." Biblical Viewpoint 19:2 (November 1985):10-15.