The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Author: Moses (date of writing: c 1400 BC).

Period: 1440-1400 BC.

Title: "Deuteronomy" is taken from the Latin form of the Greek word Deuteronomion, the title given to this book in the Septuagint. The word means "repetition of the law." The Hebrew title, "elleh haddebarim" ("These are the words..."), or simply "debarim" ("Words"), is taken from the first two words of the Hebrew text of this book.

Summary: Deuteronomy is the fifth and last book of the Pentateuch. It records the repetition of the law recorded in Leviticus. It was given on the plains of Moab just prior to the entrance into the Promised Land by the nation of Israel under the command of Joshua. This was Moses' last address to Israel as a whole prior to his death. At this time only two surviving members were left out of the generation that escaped from Egypt. Therefore, this repetition of the law was extremely important to the welfare of the new generation.

Theme: God will continue to honor His covenant. Moses calls the people to obedience and reminds them that God brought them out of Egypt, guided them and provided for them whilst they journeyed in the desert. He counsels them to be careful not to follow the pagan ways of the people of the surrounding countries.

They are given further laws and statutes to assist them in their daily life. The are told of the blessings that will come through obedience (Deu 28:1-14) and the cursings that will come through sin (Deu 28:15-68).

Deu 18:15 foretells a future great prophet, and was applied by Peter (Act 3:22) and Stephen (Act 7:37) to Jesus. Jesus referred to the book through the words "It is written..." or, "You have heard that it has been said..." (Mat 5:21, etc) -- showing the importance he placed on the OT scriptures, even as he began to fulfil them as the bringer of the new covenant. His insistence that he came to fulfill the law rather than destroy it is clearly given in Mat 5:17-20.

Paul places the law in perspective for us in Rom 15:4. It was written for "our instruction... that we might have hope."


I. First address: Deu 1--4

A. Events at Horeb Recalled: Deu 1:1-8

B. Appointment of Tribal Leaders: Deu 1:9-18

C. Failing faith (Deu 1:19--3:29)
1. Israel's Refusal to Enter the Land: Deu 1:19-33
2. The Penalty for Israel's Rebellion: Deu 1:34-45
3. The Desert Years: Deu 2:1-25
4. Defeat of King Sihon: Deu 2:26-37
5. Defeat of King Og: Deu 3:1-22
6. Moses Views Canaan from Pisgah: Deu 3:23-29

D. Moses Commands Obedience: Deu 4:1-40

E. Cities of Refuge East of the Jordan: Deu 4:41-43

F. Transition to the Second Address: Deu 4:44-49

II. Second address: Deu 5--28

A. Covenant faith: Deu 5--11
1. The Ten Commandments: Deu 5:1-21
2. Moses the Mediator of God's Will: Deu 5:22-33
3. The Great Commandment: Deu 6:1-9
4. Caution against Disobedience: Deu 6:10-25
5. Conquest of Canaan
a. A Chosen People: Deu 7:1-11
b. Blessings for Obedience: Deu 7:12-26
6. Lessons from the past
a. A Warning Not to Forget God in Prosperity: Deu 8:1-20
b. The Consequences of Rebelling against God: Deu 9:1-29
c. The Second Pair of Tablets: Deu 10:1-11
7. The Essence of the Law: Deu 10:12-22
8. Rewards for Obedience: Deu 11:1-32

B. The Law: Deu 12--26
1. Worship of a holy people: Deu 12:1--16:17
a. Pagan Shrines to Be Destroyed: Deu 12:1-12
b. A Prescribed Place of Worship: Deu 12:13-28
c. Warning against Idolatry: Deu 13:1-18
d. Pagan Practices Forbidden: Deu 14:1-2
e. Clean and Unclean Foods: Deu 14:3-21
f. Regulations concerning Tithes: Deu 14:22-29
g. Laws concerning the Sabbatical Year: Deu 15:1-18
h. The Firstborn of Livestock: Deu 15:19-23
i. The Passover Reviewed: Deu 16:1-8
j. The Festival of Weeks Reviewed: Deu 16:9-12
k. The Festival of Booths Reviewed: Deu 16:13-17

2. Duties of officials: Deu 16:18--18:22
a. Municipal Judges and Officers: Deu 16:18-20
b. Forbidden Forms of Worship: Deu 17:1-7
c. Legal Decisions by Priests and Judges: Deu 17:8-13
d. Limitations of Royal Authority: Deu 17:14-20
e. Privileges of Priests and Levites: Deu 18:1-8
f. Child-Sacrifice, Divination, and Magic Prohibited: Deu 18:9-14
g. A New Prophet Like Moses: Deu 18:15-22

3. Criminal law: Deu 19
a. Laws concerning the Cities of Refuge: Deu 19:1-13
b. Property Boundaries: Deu 19:14
c. Law concerning Witnesses: Deu 19:15-21

4. Rules of Warfare: Deu 20:1-20

5. Other laws: Deu 21--25
a. Law concerning Murder by Persons Unknown: Deu 21:1-9
b. Female Captives: Deu 21:10-14
c. The Right of the Firstborn: Deu 21:15-17
d. Rebellious Children: Deu 21:18-21
e. Welfare: Deu 22:1-12
f. Laws concerning Sexual Relations: Deu 22:13-30
g. Those Excluded from the Assembly: Deu 23:1-8
h. Sanitary, Ritual, and Humanitarian Precepts: Deu 23:9-25
i. Laws concerning Marriage and Divorce: Deu 24:1-4
j. Miscellaneous Laws: Deu 24:5-25:4
k. Levirate Marriage: Deu 25:5-10
l. Various Commands: Deu 25:11-19

6. First Fruits and Tithes: Deu 26:1-15
7. Concluding Exhortation: Deu 26:16-19

C. The Inscribed Stones and Altar on Mount Ebal: Deu 27:1-10

D. Twelve Curses: Deu 27:11-26

E. Blessings for Obedience: Deu 28:1-14

F. Warnings against Disobedience: Deu 28:15-68

III. Third Address: Deu 29; 30

A. The Covenant Renewed in Moab: Deu 29:1-29

B. God's Fidelity Assured: Deu 30:1-10

C. Exhortation to Choose Life: Deu 30:11-20

IV. Appendixes: Deu 31--34

A. Joshua Becomes Moses' Successor: Deu 31:1-8

B. The Law to Be Read Every Seventh Year: Deu 31:9-13

C. Moses and Joshua Receive God's Charge: Deu 31:14-39

D. The Song of Moses: Deu 32:1-47

E. Moses' Death Foretold: Deu 32:48-52

F. Moses' Final Blessing on Israel: Deu 33:1-29

G. Moses Dies and Is Buried in the Land of Moab: Deu 34:1-12


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