Books of the Bible: Deuteronomy
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Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible. It is the final book of the Pentateuch, a term used to described the books of the Bible attributed to Moses. Most scholars agree that Deuteronomy was written around the 7th century, B.C. Written close to Moses’ death, the book record the words Moses spoke to the Israelites while they were camped on the east side of the Jordan River (Deuteronomy 1:1).
Deuteronomy contains three of Moses’ discourses as he prepared the Israelites to enter the Promised Land.
- The first discourse (Deut. 1:6-3:29) is a survey of the journey from Mount Sinai to their current position.
- In the second discourse (Deut. 4:1-40), Moses reminds the Israelites of their unique relationship with the Lord God and commands them to obey God.
- The final discourse (Deut. 5-26) begins by reviewing the Ten Commandments (Deut. 5:6-21) and through chapter 11, Moses explains why it imperative that Israel follow the law.
- The final section of the third discourse is referred to as the “Deuteronomic Code” which contains instructions for observances such as the Feasts of Tabernacles, Unleavened Bread, and Weeks, as well various social and domestic laws.
The last chapters of Deuteronomy contain the renewal of the covenant, final exhortations from Moses, and the appointment of Moses’ successor, Joshua. The book ends with a final prophetic poem from Moses and a description of his death. This final addition to the book along with some differences from the previous four books of the Pentateuch lead scholars to believe that an unknown author may have completed or written Deuteronomy. Because of this, modern critics believe that the book may have been written much later than originally thought.