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The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
, where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, דְּבָרִים), "the words
f Moses F, or f, is the sixth Letter (alphabet), letter in the English alphabet, modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is English alphabet#Letter names, ''ef'' (pronounced ), and the plural is ''efs''. History ...
, and the fifth book of the Christian
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as aut ...
, where it is also known as the Fifth Book of Moses. Chapters 1–30 of the book consist of three sermons or speeches delivered to the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
by
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
on the plains of
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'aba'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'ba'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and et ...
, shortly before they enter the
Promised Land The Promised Land ( he, הארץ המובטחת, translit. Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Prefix, trans-'' + ''wikt:litte ...
. The first sermon recounts the forty years of wilderness wanderings which had led to that moment, and ends with an exhortation to observe the law (or teachings), later referred to as the
Law of Moses The Law of Moses ( he, תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה ), also called the Mosaic Law, primarily refers to the Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible ...
. The second sermon reminds the Israelites of the need to follow
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
and the laws (or teachings) he has given them, on which their possession of the land depends. And the third sermon offers the comfort that, even should Israel prove unfaithful and so lose the land, with
repentance Repentance is reviewing one's actions and feeling contritionIn Christianity, contrition or contriteness (from the Latin ''contritus'' 'ground to pieces', i.e. crushed by guilt Guilt may refer to: *Guilt (emotion), an emotion that occurs when a p ...
all can be restored. The final four chapters (31–34) contain the
Song of Moses The Song of Moses is the name sometimes given to the poem which appears in Deuteronomy of the Hebrew Bible, which according to the Bible was delivered just prior to Moses, Moses' death on Mount Nebo (Jordan), Mount Nebo. Sometimes the Song is ref ...
, the
Blessing of Moses The Blessing of Moses is the name given to a prophetic poem that appears in Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish , where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, ...
, and the narratives recounting the passing of the mantle of leadership from Moses to
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
and, finally, the death of Moses on
Mount Nebo Mount Nebo ( ar, جَبَل نِيبُو, Jabal Nībū; he, הַר נְבוֹ, Har Nevo) is an elevated ridge A ridge or a mountain ridge is a geographical feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elev ...
. Virtually all secular scholars reject its attribution to Moses and date the book much later, between the 7th and 5th centuries BCE. Chapters 12–26, containing the Deuteronomic Code, are the earliest section, followed by the second prologue (Ch. 5-11), and then the first prologue (Ch. 1–4); the chapters following 26 are similarly layered. Most scholars believe that the Deuteronomic Code was composed during the late monarchic period, around the time of
King Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

King Josiah
(late 7th century BCE), although some scholars have argued for a later date, either during the
Babylonian captivity The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After the Battle of Carchemish in ...
(597–539 BCE) or during the Persian period (539–332 BCE). Many scholars see the book as reflecting the economic needs and social status of the
Levite A Levite (or Levi) (, ) is a Jewish male who claims Patrilineality, patrilineal descent from the Tribe of Levi. The Tribe of Levi descended from Levi, the third son of Jacob (Bible), Jacob and Leah. The surname ''Halevi'', which consists of the ...
caste, who are believed to have provided its authors; those likely authors are collectively referred to as the
Deuteronomist The Deuteronomist, abbreviated as either Dtr or simply D, may refer either to the source document underlying the core chapters (12–26) of the Book of Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos ...
. One of its most significant verses is , the
Shema Yisrael ''Shema Yisrael'' (''Shema Israel'' or ''Sh'ma Yisrael''; he , שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל; "Hear, O Israel") is a Jewish prayer (known as the Shema) that serves as a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services Je ...
, which has become the definitive statement of
Jewish identity #REDIRECT Jewish identity up Ashkenazi Jews praying in the synagogue on Yom Kippur, showing traditional Jewish clothing and practice, including tallit, the Torah, and head coverings. (1878 painting by Maurice Gottlieb) Jewish identity is the obje ...
: "Hear, O Israel: the

our God, the is one." Verses 6:4–5 were also quoted by
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
in as part of the
Great Commandment The Great Commandment (or Greatest Commandment) is a name used in the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian bibl ...
.


Structure

Patrick D. Miller in his commentary on Deuteronomy suggests that different views of the structure of the book will lead to different views on what it is about.Miller, p.10 The structure is often described as a series of three speeches or sermons (chapters 1:1–4:43, 4:44–29:1, 29:2–30:20) followed by a number of short appendicesChristensen, p.211 – Miller refers to this as the "literary" structure; alternatively, it is sometimes seen as a ring-structure with a central core (chapters 12–26, the
Deuteronomic Code The Deuteronomic Code is the name given by academics to the law code set out in chapters 12 to 26 of the Book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Heb ...
) and an inner and an outer frame (chapters 4–11/27–30 and 1–3/31–34) – Miller calls this the covenantal substructure; and finally the theological structure revealed in the theme of the exclusive worship of
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
established in the first of the
Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments ( he, עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת, ''Aseret ha'Dibrot''), also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. " ...

Ten Commandments
("Thou shalt have no other god before me") and the
Shema ''Shema Yisrael'' (''Shema Israel'' or ''Sh'ma Yisrael''; he , שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל; "Hear, O Israel") is a Jewish prayer (known as the Shema) that serves as a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services Je ...
.


Summary

''(The following "literary" outline of Deuteronomy is from
John Van Seters John Van Seters (born May 2, 1935 in HamiltonHamilton may refer to: * Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804), first American Secretary of the Treasury and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States **Hamilton (musical), ''Hamilton'' (musical), a 20 ...
; it can be contrasted with Alexander Rofé's "covenantal" analysis in his ''Deuteronomy: Issues and Interpretation''.)'' * Chapters 1–4: The journey through the wilderness from Horeb (Sinai) to Kadesh and then to Moab is recalled. *Chapters 4– 11: After a second introduction at 4:44–49 the events at
Mount Horeb Mount Horeb (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites a ...
are recalled, with the giving of the Ten Commandments. Heads of families are urged to instruct those under their care in the law, warnings are made against serving gods other than
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
, the land promised to Israel is praised, and the people are urged to obedience. *Chapters 12–26, the Deuteronomic code: Laws governing Israel's worship (chapters 12–16a), the appointment and regulation of community and religious leaders (16b–18), social regulation (19–25), and confession of identity and loyalty (26). * Chapters 2728: Blessings and curses for those who keep and break the law. *Chapters 29– 30: Concluding discourse on the covenant in the land of Moab, including all the laws in the Deuteronomic code (chapters 12–26) after those given at Horeb; Israel is again exhorted to obedience. * Chapters 31–34:
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
is installed as Moses's successor, Moses delivers the law to the Levites (a priestly caste), and ascends
Mount Nebo Mount Nebo ( ar, جَبَل نِيبُو, Jabal Nībū; he, הַר נְבוֹ, Har Nevo) is an elevated ridge A ridge or a mountain ridge is a geographical feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elev ...
or Pisgah, where he dies and is buried by God. The narrative of these events is interrupted by two poems, the
Song of Moses The Song of Moses is the name sometimes given to the poem which appears in Deuteronomy of the Hebrew Bible, which according to the Bible was delivered just prior to Moses, Moses' death on Mount Nebo (Jordan), Mount Nebo. Sometimes the Song is ref ...
and the
Blessing of Moses The Blessing of Moses is the name given to a prophetic poem that appears in Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish , where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, ...
. The final verses, Deuteronomy 34:10–12, "never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses," make a claim for the authoritative Deuteronomistic view of theology and its insistence that the worship of the Hebrew God as the sole deity of Israel was the only permissible religion, having been sealed by the greatest of prophets.


Deuteronomic code

, the
Deuteronomic Code The Deuteronomic Code is the name given by academics to the law code set out in chapters 12 to 26 of the Book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Heb ...
, is the oldest part of the book and the core around which the rest developed. It is a series of
mitzvot In its primary meaning, the Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of th ...
(''commands'') to the Israelites regarding how they ought to conduct themselves in
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
, the land promised by
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
, God of Israel. The following list organizes most of the laws into thematic groups:


Laws of religious observance

*All sacrifices are to be brought and vows are to be made at a central sanctuary (). * The worship of Canaanite gods is forbidden. The order is given to destroy their
places of worship A place of worship is a specially designed structure or space where individuals or a group of people such as a congregation A congregation is a large gathering of people, often for the purpose of worship. Congregation may also refer to: *Churc ...

places of worship
() and to commit
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish t ...
against Canaanites and others with "detestable" religious beliefs (). *Native mourning practices such as deliberate disfigurement are forbidden (). *The procedure for tithing produce or donating its equivalent is given (). *A catalogue of which animals are permitted and which forbidden for consumption is given (). *The consumption of animals which are found dead and have not been slaughtered is prohibited (). *Sacrificed animals must be without blemish (). *First-born male livestock must be sacrificed (). *The Pilgrimage Festivals of
Passover Passover, also called Pesach (; he, פֶּסַח '), is a major Jewish holiday Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals or ''Yamim Tovim'' ( he, ימים טובים, , Good Days, or singular , in transliterated Translitera ...
,
Shavuot (''Ḥag HaShavuot'' or ''Shavuos'') , nickname = English: "Feast of Weeks" , observedby = Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international sta ...

Shavuot
, and
Sukkot or ("Booths, Tabernacles") , observedby = Jew Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2International Organization for Standardization, ISO 259 is a series of international standards for the romanization of Hebrew, romanization of Heb ...

Sukkot
are instituted (). *The worship at
Asherah Asherah , ''ʾăšērâ''; Ugaritic language, Ugaritic: 𐎀𐎘𐎗𐎚 ''Aṯirat'', name=, group= in ancient Semitic religion, is a mother goddess who appears in a number of ancient sources. She appears in Akkadian literature, Akkadian wri ...
groves and setting up of ritual pillars are forbidden (). *Prohibition of mixing kinds (). *
Tzitzit ''Tzitzit'' ( he, ''ṣīṣīṯ'', ; plural ''ṣīṣīyyōt'', Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nati ...

Tzitzit
are obligatory ().


Laws concerning officials

*Judges are to be appointed in every city (). *Judges are to be impartial and bribery is forbidden (). *A central tribunal is established (). *Should the Israelites choose to be ruled by a King, regulations for the office are given (). *Regulations of the rights, and revenue, of the Levites are given (). *Concerning the future (unspecified) prophet (). *Regulations for the priesthood are given ().


Civil law

*Debts are to be released in the seventh year (). *Regulations of the institution of slavery and the procedure for freeing slaves (). *Regulations for the treatment of foreign wives taken in war () *Regulations permitting taking slaves and plunder in war () *Lost property, once found, is to be restored to its owner (). *Marriages between women and their stepsons are forbidden (). *The camp is to be kept clean (). *Usury is forbidden except for foreigners (). *Regulations for vows and pledges are given (). *The procedure for
tzaraath ''Tzaraath'' (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and the ...
(a disfigurative condition) is given (). *Hired workers are to be paid fairly (). *Justice is to be shown towards strangers, widows, and orphans (). *Portions of crops ("
gleaning Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. It is a practice described in the Hebrew Bible that became a legall ...
") are to be given to the poor ().


Criminal law

*The rules for false witnesses are given (). *The procedure for a bride whose virginity has been questioned is given (). *Various laws concerning adultery, fornication, and rape are given (). *Kidnapping another Israelite is forbidden (). *Just weights and measures are obligatory ().


Composition


Composition history

Since the idea was first put forward by W.M.L de Wette in 1805, most scholars have accepted that the core of Deuteronomy was composed in Jerusalem in the 7th century BCE in the context of religious reforms advanced by King
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

Josiah
(reigned 641–609 BCE). The history of Deuteronomy is seen in the following general terms: *In the late 8th century BCE both
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...
and
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...
were vassals of
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
. Israel rebelled and was destroyed c.722 BCE. Refugees fleeing to Judah brought with them a number of new traditions (new to Judah, at least). One of these was that the god Yahweh, already known and worshiped in Judah, was not merely the most important of the gods, but the only god who should be served. This outlook influenced the Judahite landowning
ruling class In sociology, the ruling class of a society is the social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government A government is the ...
, which became extremely powerful in court circles after placing the eight-year-old Josiah on the throne following the murder of his father,
Amon of Judah Amon of Judah ''’Āmōn''; el, Αμων; la, Amon was the fifteenth Kings of Judah, King of Judah who, according to the Bible, biblical account, succeeded his father Manasseh of Judah. Amon is most remembered for his Idolatry, idolatrous pra ...
. *By the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, Assyrian power was in rapid decline, and a pro-independence movement gathered strength in the court. This movement expressed itself in a state theology of loyalty to Yahweh as the sole god of Israel. With Josiah's support, they launched a full-scale reform of worship based on an early form of Deuteronomy 5–26, which takes the form of a covenant (i.e., treaty) between Judah and Yahweh to replace that between Judah and Assyria. This covenant was formulated as an address by Moses to the Israelites (Deut.5:1). *The next stage took place during the
Babylonian captivity The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After the Battle of Carchemish in ...
. The destruction of the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Le ...
by Babylon in 586 BCE and the end of kingship was the occasion of much reflection and theological speculation among the Deuteronomistic elite, now in exile in the city of
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
. They explained the disaster as Yahweh's punishment of their failure to follow the law and created a history of Israel (the books of Joshua through Kings) to illustrate this. *At the end of the Exile, when the
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestr ...

Persians
agreed that the Jews could return and rebuild the
Temple in Jerusalem Two ancient Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during th ...
, chapters 1–4 and 29–30 were added and Deuteronomy was made the introductory book to this history, so that a story about a people about to enter the Promised Land became a story about a people about to return to the land. The legal sections of chapters 19–25 were expanded to meet new situations that had arisen, and chapters 31–34 were added as a new conclusion.


Sources

The prophet
Isaiah Isaiah ( or ; he, , ''Yəšaʿyāhū'', "God God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trus ...

Isaiah
, active in Jerusalem about a century before
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

Josiah
, makes no mention of
the Exodus The Exodus (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...

the Exodus
, covenants with God, or disobedience to God's laws; in contrast Isaiah's contemporary
Hosea In the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are almost exclusively in , with a few passages in (in the books of and , the verse 10:11, and some sin ...

Hosea
, active in the northern kingdom of Israel, makes frequent reference to the Exodus, the wilderness wanderings, a covenant, the danger of foreign gods and the need to worship Yahweh alone; this has led scholars to the view that these traditions behind Deuteronomy have a northern origin. Whether the Deuteronomic code – the set of laws at chapters 12–26 which form the original core of the book – was written in
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

Josiah
's time (late 7th century) or earlier is subject to debate, but many of the individual laws are older than the collection itself. The two poems at chapters 32–33 – the
Song of Moses The Song of Moses is the name sometimes given to the poem which appears in Deuteronomy of the Hebrew Bible, which according to the Bible was delivered just prior to Moses, Moses' death on Mount Nebo (Jordan), Mount Nebo. Sometimes the Song is ref ...
and the
Blessing of Moses The Blessing of Moses is the name given to a prophetic poem that appears in Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish , where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, ...
were probably originally independent.


Position in the Hebrew Bible

Deuteronomy occupies a puzzling position in the Bible, linking the story of the Israelites' wanderings in the wilderness to the story of their history in Canaan without quite belonging totally to either. The wilderness story could end quite easily with Numbers, and the story of Joshua's conquests could exist without it, at least at the level of the plot; but in both cases there would be a thematic (theological) element missing. Scholars have given various answers to the problem. The Deuteronomistic history theory is currently the most popular (Deuteronomy was originally just the law code and covenant, written to cement the religious reforms of Josiah, and later expanded to stand as the introduction to the full history); but there is an older theory which sees Deuteronomy as belonging to Numbers, and Joshua as a sort of supplement to it. This idea still has supporters, but the mainstream understanding is that Deuteronomy, after becoming the introduction to the history, was later detached from it and included with Genesis–Exodus–Leviticus–Numbers because it already had Moses as its central character. According to this hypothesis, the death of Moses was originally the ending of Numbers, and was simply moved from there to the end of Deuteronomy.


Themes


Overview

Deuteronomy stresses the uniqueness of God, the need for drastic centralisation of worship, and a concern for the position of the poor and disadvantaged. Its many themes can be organised around the three poles of Israel, Israel's God, and the covenant which binds them together.


Israel

The themes of Deuteronomy in relation to Israel are election, faithfulness, obedience, and God's promise of blessings, all expressed through the covenant: "obedience is not primarily a duty imposed by one party on another, but an expression of covenantal relationship." Yahweh has chosen ("elected") Israel as his special property (Deuteronomy 7:6 and elsewhere), and Moses stresses to the Israelites the need for obedience to God and covenant, and the consequences of unfaithfulness and disobedience. Yet the first several chapters of Deuteronomy are a long retelling of Israel's past disobedience – but also God's gracious care, leading to a long call to Israel to choose life over death and blessing over curse (chapters 7–11).


God

Deuteronomy's concept of God changed over time. The earliest 7th century layer is monolatrous, not denying the reality of other gods but enforcing the worship of Yahweh in Jerusalem alone. In the later, Exilic layers from the mid-6th century, especially chapter 4, this becomes
monotheism Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciou ...
, the idea that only one god exists. God is simultaneously present in the Temple and in heaven – an important and innovative concept called "name theology." After the review of Israel's history in chapters 1 to 4, there is a restatement of the Ten Commandments in chapter 5. This arrangement of material highlights God's sovereign relationship with Israel prior to the giving of establishment of the Law.


Covenant

The core of Deuteronomy is the
covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion) In religion, a covenant is a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general. The concept, central to the Abrahamic religions The Abraha ...
that binds Yahweh and Israel by oaths of fidelity (Yahweh and Israel each faithful to the other) and obedience (Israel obedient to Yahweh). God will give Israel blessings of the land, fertility, and prosperity so long as Israel is faithful to God's teaching; disobedience will lead to curses and punishment. But, according to the Deuteronomists, Israel's prime sin is lack of faith,
apostasy Apostasy (; grc-gre, ἀποστασία ''apostasía'', "a defection or revolt") is the formal religious disaffiliation, disaffiliation from, abandonment of, or renunciation of a religion by a person. It can also be defined within the broader ...
: contrary to the first and fundamental commandment ("Thou shalt have no other gods before me") the people have entered into relations with other gods. The covenant is based on seventh-century Assyrian suzerain-vassal treaties by which the Great King (the Assyrian suzerain) regulated relationships with lesser rulers; Deuteronomy is thus making the claim that Yahweh, not the Assyrian monarch, is the Great King to whom Israel owes loyalty. The terms of the treaty are that Israel holds the land from Yahweh, but Israel's tenancy of the land is conditional on keeping the covenant, which in turn necessitates tempered rule by state and village leaders who keep the covenant: "These beliefs", says Norman Gottwald, "dubbed biblical Yahwism, are widely recognised in biblical scholarship as enshrined in Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua through Kings)." Dillard and Longman in their ''Introduction to the Old Testament'' stress the living nature of the covenant between Yahweh and Israel as a nation: The people of Israel are addressed by Moses as a unity, and their allegiance to the covenant is not one of obeisance, but comes out of a pre-existing relationship between God and Israel, established with Abraham and attested to by the Exodus event, so that the laws of Deuteronomy set the nation of Israel apart, signaling the unique
status Status (Latin plural: ''statūs''), is a state, condition, or situation, and may refer to: * Status (law) Legal status is the position held by something or someone with regard to law Law is a system A system is a group of Interactio ...
of the Jewish nation. The land is God's gift to Israel, and many of the laws, festivals and instructions in Deuteronomy are given in the light of Israel's occupation of the land. Dillard and Longman note that "In 131 of the 167 times the verb "give" occurs in the book, the subject of the action is Yahweh." Deuteronomy makes the Torah the ultimate authority for Israel, one to which even the king is subject.


Judaism's weekly Torah portions in the Book of Deuteronomy

*'' Devarim'', on Deuteronomy 1–3: Chiefs, scouts, Edom, Ammonites, Sihon, Og, land for two and a half tribes *''
Va'etchanan Va'etchanan ( — Hebrew language, Hebrew for "and I pleaded," the Incipit, first word in the parashah) is the 45th weekly Torah portion (, ''parashah'') in the annual Judaism, Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the second in the Book of Deuteronom ...
'', on Deuteronomy 3–7: Cities of refuge, Ten Commandments, Shema, exhortation, conquest instructions *''
Eikev Eikev, Ekev, Ekeb, Aikev, or Eqeb ( — Hebrew language, Hebrew for "if
ou follow OU or Ou or ou may stand for: Universities United States * Oakland University in Oakland County, Michigan * Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama * Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia * Ohio University in Athens, Ohio * Olivet Universi ...
" the second word, and the Incipit, first distinctive word in the parashah) is the 46th weekly Torah portion (, ''parashah'') in the annual Judaism, Jewish cycle o ...
'', on Deuteronomy 7–11: Obedience, taking the land, golden calf, Aaron's death, Levites’ duties *''
Re'eh Re'eh, Reeh, R'eih, or Ree ( — Hebrew language, Hebrew for "see", the incipit, first word in the parashah) is the 47th weekly Torah portion (, ''parashah'') in the annual Judaism, Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the fourth in the Book of Deuter ...
'', on Deuteronomy 11–16: Centralized worship, diet, tithes, sabbatical year, pilgrim festivals *'' Shofetim'', on Deuteronomy 16–21: Basic societal structure for the Israelites *'' Ki Teitzei'', on Deuteronomy 21–25: Miscellaneous laws on civil and domestic life *'' Ki Tavo'', on Deuteronomy 26–29: First fruits, tithes, blessings and curses, exhortation *''
Nitzavim Nitzavim, Nitsavim, Nitzabim, Netzavim, Nisavim, or Nesabim ( — Hebrew language, Hebrew for "ones standing," the second word, and the first distinctive word, in the parashah) is the 51st weekly Torah portion (, ''parashah'') in the annual Judaism, ...
'', on Deuteronomy 29–30: covenant, violation, choose blessing and curse *''
Vayelech Vayelech, Vayeilech, VaYelech, Va-yelech, Vayelekh, Wayyelekh, Wayyelakh, or Va-yelekh ( — Hebrew language, Hebrew for "then he went out", the Incipit, first word in the parashah) is the 52nd weekly Torah portion (, ''parashah'') in the annual Jud ...
'', on Deuteronomy 31: Encouragement, reading and writing the law *''
Haazinu Haazinu, Ha'azinu, or Ha'Azinu ( — Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken language ...

Haazinu
'', on Deuteronomy 32: Punishment, punishment restrained, parting words *''
V'Zot HaBerachah V'Zot HaBerachah, VeZos HaBerachah, VeZot Haberakha, V'Zeis Habrocho, V'Zaus Haberocho, V'Zois Haberuchu, Wazoth Habborocho, or Zos Habrocho (—Hebrew language, Hebrew for "and this is the blessing," the Incipit, first words in the parashah) is t ...
'', on Deuteronomy 33–34: Farewell blessing and death of Moses


Influence on Judaism and Christianity


Judaism

Deuteronomy 6:4–5: "Hear, O Israel (''shema Yisra'el''), the is our God, the is one!" has become the basic credo of
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
, the
Shema Yisrael ''Shema Yisrael'' (''Shema Israel'' or ''Sh'ma Yisrael''; he , שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל; "Hear, O Israel") is a Jewish prayer (known as the Shema) that serves as a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services Je ...
, and its twice-daily recitation is a
mitzvah In its primary meaning, the Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Ju ...
(religious commandment). It continues, "Thou shalt love the thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy might"; it has therefore also become identified with the central Jewish concept of the love of God, and the rewards that come as a result.


Christianity

In the
Gospel of Matthew The Gospel according to Matthew ( el, Κατὰ Ματθαῖον Εὐαγγέλιον, translit=Katà Matthaîon Euangélion), also called the Gospel of Matthew, or simply Matthew, is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three s ...
,
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
cited Deuteronomy 6:5 as a
Great Commandment The Great Commandment (or Greatest Commandment) is a name used in the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian bibl ...
. The earliest Christian authors interpreted Deuteronomy's prophecy of the restoration of Israel as having been fulfilled (or superseded) in Jesus Christ and the establishment of the
Christian Church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church, errors in the Catholic Church. ...

Christian Church
(Luke 1–2, Acts 2–5), and Jesus was interpreted to be the "one (i.e., prophet) like me" predicted by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15 (Acts 3:22–23). While the exact position of
Paul the Apostle and Judaism Paul the Apostle has been placed within Second Temple Judaism by New Perspective on Paul, recent scholarship since the 1970s. A main point of departure with older scholarship is the understanding of Second Temple Judaism; the Covenant (biblical) ...
is still debated, a common view is that in place of the elaborate code of laws (''
mitzvah In its primary meaning, the Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Ju ...
'') set out in Deuteronomy,
Paul the Apostle Paul; el, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; he, פאולוס השליח, name=, group= (born Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; el, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus AD ...
, drawing on , claimed that the keeping of the
Mosaic covenant The Mosaic covenant (named after Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, Hebrew romanization, romanized: ''Mōshé'', ISO 259#ISO 259-3, ISO 259-3: '; syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, '. (), also known as Moshe Rabbenu ...
was superseded by faith in Jesus and the gospel (the
New Covenant The New Covenant (Biblical Hebrew, Hebrew '; Koine Greek, Greek ''diatheke kaine'') is a biblical interpretation originally derived from a Book of Jeremiah#Sections of the Book, phrase in the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34), in the Hebrew ...
).McConville, p.24


See also

*
613 commandments The Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewis ...
*
Documentary hypothesis The documentary hypothesis (DH) is one of the models used by biblical scholars to explain the origins and composition of the Torah (or Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible: Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genes ...
*
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
*
Kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
*
Mosaic authorship Mosaic authorship is the traditional Judeo-Christian belief that the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, were dictated to Moses by God. The books do not name any author, as authorship was not considered important by th ...
*
Old Deuteronomy Old Deuteronomy is a character in T. S. Eliot Thomas Stearns Eliot (26 September 18884 January 1965) was a poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may s ...
*
Papyrus Rylands 458 Papyrus Rylands 458 (TM 62298; LDAB 3459) is a copy of the Pentateuch in a Greek language, Greek version of the Hebrew Bible known as the Septuagint. It is a papyrus manuscript in roll form. The manuscript has been assigned Palaeography, palaeograp ...
– the oldest Greek manuscript of Deuteronomy


References


Bibliography


Translations


Deuteronomy in NIV

Deuteronomy in Tanakh (Hebrew Bible)


Commentaries

* * * * Plaut, W. Gunther (1981). ''The Torah: A Modern Commentary''. *


General

* * * * * * * * * Clements, Ronald (1968). ''God's Chosen People: A Theological Interpretation of the Book of Deuteronomy''. In series, ''Religious Book Club'', 182. London: S.C.M. Press. * * Gottwald, Norman, review o
Stephen L. Cook, ''The Social Roots of Biblical Yahwism'', Society of Biblical Literature, 2004
*
Gili Kugler, Kugler, Moses died and the people moved on - a hidden narrative in Deuteronomy
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Deuteronomy
at Bible Gateway * * *
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...
translations: *
Deuteronomy at Mechon-Mamre
(modified Jewish Publication Society translation) *
Deuteronomy (The Living Torah)
Rabbi
Aryeh Kaplan Aryeh Moshe Eliyahu Kaplan ( he, אריה משה אליהו קפלן; October 23, 1934 – January 28, 1983) was an American Orthodox rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordain ...
's translation and commentary at Ort.org *
Devarim – Deuteronomy (Judaica Press)
translation ith_Rashi's_commentary.html"_;"title="Rashi.html"_;"title="ith_Rashi">ith_Rashi's_commentary">Rashi.html"_;"title="ith_Rashi">ith_Rashi's_commentaryat_Chabad.org *
דְּבָרִים_''Devarim''_–_Deuteronomy
(
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דְּבָרִים_''Devarim''_–_Deuteronomy
(Hebrew_language">Hebrew_ Hebrew_(,_,__or_)_is_a_Northwest_Semitic_languages,_Northwest_Semitic_language_of_the_Afroasiatic_languages,_Afroasiatic_language_family._Historically,_it_is_regarded_as_one_of_the_spoken_languages_of_the_Israelites_and_their_longest-survivi_...
_–_English_at_Mechon-Mamre.org) *_
ith_Rashi's_commentary.html"_;"title="Rashi.html"_;"title="ith_Rashi">ith_Rashi's_commentary">Rashi.html"_;"title="ith_Rashi">ith_Rashi's_commentaryat_Chabad.org *
דְּבָרִים_''Devarim''_–_Deuteronomy
(Hebrew_language">Hebrew_ Hebrew_(,_,__or_)_is_a_Northwest_Semitic_languages,_Northwest_Semitic_language_of_the_Afroasiatic_languages,_Afroasiatic_language_family._Historically,_it_is_regarded_as_one_of_the_spoken_languages_of_the_Israelites_and_their_longest-survivi_...
_–_English_at_Mechon-Mamre.org) *_Christianity">Christian Christians_()_are_people_who_follow_or_adhere_to_Christianity,_a_monotheistic_Abrahamic_religion_based_on_the_life_and_teachings_of_Jesus_in_Christianity,_Jesus_Christ._The_words_''Christ_(title),_Christ''_and_''Christian''_derive_from_the_Koi_...
_translations: *
''Online_Bible''_at_GospelHall.org
(Authorized_King_James_Version.html" "title="Christianity.html" "title="Hebrew_language.html" "title="Rashi">ith_Rashi's_commentary.html" ;"title="Rashi.html" ;"title="ith Rashi">ith Rashi's commentary">Rashi.html" ;"title="ith Rashi">ith Rashi's commentaryat Chabad.org *
דְּבָרִים ''Devarim'' – Deuteronomy
(Hebrew language">Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
– English at Mechon-Mamre.org) * Christianity">Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...
translations: *
''Online Bible'' at GospelHall.org
(Authorized King James Version">King James Version The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an of the Christian for the , which was commissioned in 1604 and published in 1611, by sponsorship of King . The include the 39 books of the , a ...
) *
''oremus Bible Browser''
(New Revised Standard Version) *
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(''Anglicized'' New Revised Standard Version) ** s:Bible, King James, Deuteronomy, ''Deuteronomy'' at Wikisource (
Authorized King James Version The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an English translations of the Bible, English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, which was commissioned in 1604 and publ ...

Authorized King James Version
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