DEUTERONOMY – ALEXANDER SCOURBY


Deuteronomy is the last book of the Pentateuch (Greek for “Fivebook”) or of the Thora (Hebrew word for “law”). The unity of the Pentateuch and the fact that Moses is the author of it have often been denied since the 19th century.

Starting from 2 Timothy 3:16 : “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” we can see in the Old as well as in the New Testament that Moses is considered to be the author of Deuteronomy and therefore the time of writing is confirmed. In Deuteronomy 31:9; Deuteronomy 31:24-26 it is testified that Moses wrote the book and that he gave it to the Levites to keep it.

In Joshua 8:32-35 explicit reference is made to Deuteronomy 27:8-12 as “all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before”. While mentioning the law of Moses (Thora) in 2 Chronicles 34:14 and Nehemiah 8:1 the book of Deuteronomy is included as well.

The events of Deuteronomy happen during the time of the first day of the eleventh month in the 40th year after the exodus out of Egypt (Deuteronomy 1:3). The place of these events are the “plains of Moab” on the east side of Jordan.

The name “Deuteronomy” for the fifth book of Moses means “second law”. But the book is more than a simple repetition of the laws contained in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, which God had given the people of Israel at Mount Sinaï.

Out of the generation who were older than 20 years of age at the Exodus out of Egypt only Moses, Joshua and Caleb were still alive (Numbers 14:29-30). Therefore a renewed repetition of the law for the whole people after such a long time was quite appropriate and necessary.

But the main purpose of the book is the preparation of the people of Israel for the passage through Jordan and the entrance into the land of Canaan that had been promised by Jehovah.

The subject of Exodus and Leviticus was meeting God in His sanctuary. The purpose of Deuteronomy is the preparation of the people for the blessings, which Jehovah wanted to give them in the (promised) land.

Obedience therefore plays an important part in this book.

Obedience to God’s laws brings blessing but disobedience will draw after curse and judgment.

In the New Testament the Epistle to the Philippians corresponds to the book of Deuteronomy.

The people of Israel had been pointed to the blessings in Canaan while yet in the wilderness and similarly Paul was occupied with Christ the Lord in glory while still on earth.

In the New Testament we will find more than 30 verbal references out of Deuteronomy as well as many hints at facts that only occurred in this book. After the Psalms and the Prophet Isaiah Deuteronomy belongs to the most referred to books of the Old Testament.


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“The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain; turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites, and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland, and in the Negeb, and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. Behold, I have set the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their descendants after them.’

Deuteronomy 1:6‭-‬8 RSV
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