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Reference: Deuteronomy, The Book Of


("repetition of the law".) Containing Moses' three last discourses before his death, addressed to all Israel in the Moabite plains E. of Jordan, in the eleventh month of the last year of their wanderings, the fortieth after their departure from Egypt; with the solemn appointment of his successor Joshua, Moses' song, blessing, and the account of his death subjoined by Joshua or some prophet (Deuteronomy 1:1 - 4:40; Deuteronomy 5:1 - 26:19; Deuteronomy 27:1 - 29:29). The first is introductory, reminding Israel of God's protection and of their ungrateful rebellion, punished by the long wandering; and warning them henceforth to obey and not lose the blessing. The second discourse begins with the Ten Commandments, the basis of the law, and develops and applies the first table; next declares special statutes as to:

(1) religion,

(2) administration of justice and public officers,

(3) private and social duties.

The third discourse renews the covenant, reciting the blessings and curses. The discourses must have been all spoken in the eleventh month; for on the tenth day of the 41st year Jordan was crossed (Jos 4:19). Jos 1:11; 2:22, three days previous were spent in preparations and waiting for the spies; so the encampment at Shittim was on the seventh day (Jos 2:1). Thirty days before were spent in mourning for Moses (De 34:8); so that Moses' death would be on the seventh day of the twelfth month, and Moses began his address the first day of the eleventh month, fortieth year (De 1:3). Hence, the discourses, being delivered about the same time, exhibit marked unity of style, inconsistent with their being composed at distant intervals. The style throughout is hortatory, rhetorical, and impressive.

A different generation had sprung up from that to which the law at Sinai had been addressed. Parts of it had been unavoidably in abeyance in the wilderness. Circumcision itself had been omitted (Jos 5:2). Now when Israel was to enter Canaan, their permanent abode, they needed to be reminded of much of the law which they but partially knew or applied, and to have under divine sanction, besides the religious ordinances of the previous books, supplementary enactments, civil and political, for their settled organization. Thus, Deuteronomy is not a mere summary recapitulation, for large parts of the previous code are unnoticed, but Moses' inspired elucidation of the spirit and end of the law. In it he appears as "the prophet," as in the previous books he was the historian and legislator. Two passages especially exhibit him in this character.

The first De 18:15-19; "the Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord ... in Horeb, Let me not hear again the voice of ... God ... that I die not; and the Lord said, I will raise them up a Prophet ... and I will put My words in His mouth ... And whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him." In the ultimate and exhaustive sense Messiah fulfills the prophecy; De 34:10 expressly says "there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face." So Nu 12:6-8; Heb 3:2-5, state how the Antitype exceeded the type. In a lower sense the whole order of prophets, the forerunners of THE PROPHET, is included; hardly Joshua, for he was already designated as Moses' successor (Nu 27:18,23), and the prophecy contemplates a future "prophet."

Our Lord Himself must have had this prophecy in view in Joh 5:46, "Moses wrote of Me." The Samaritans, who received the Pentateuch alone, must have drawn their expectation of the all-revealing Messiah from it: "when He is come He will tell us all things," answering to "I will put My words in His mouth ... He shall speak in My name." In Ac 3:22, etc., Ac 7:37, Peter and Stephen both quote it as fulfilled in Jesus. The Jews, the adversaries of Christianity, are our librarians, so that we Christians cannot have altered the passage to favor our views. It at once foretells Christ's coming and their own chastisement from God ("I will requite it") for "not hearkening" to Him.

The second passage is Deuteronomy 28, where he declares more fully than in Leviticus 26 what evils should overtake Israel in the event of their disobedience, with such specific particularity that the Spirit in him must be not declaring contingencies, but foretelling the penal results of their sin which have since so literally come to pass; their becoming "a byword among all nations where the Lord has led them"; their being besieged by "a nation of a fierce countenance, until their high walls wherein they trusted came down"; their "eating the fruit of their own body, the flesh of their sons and daughters, in the straitness of the siege, and the eye of the tender and delicate woman being evil toward the husband of her bosom and toward her child which she shall eat for want of all things secretly in the siege"; their dispersion so as to "find no ease, and the sole of their foot to have no rest among the nations," but to have "a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind, their life hanging in doubt, in fear day and night, and having none assurance of life"; "the whole land (De 29:23) not sown, nor bearing, nor having grass."

Nay, more, Moses foresaw their disobedience: "I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you, and evil will befall you in the latter days" (De 31:29). So also Deuteronomy 32, Moses song. But in the distant future he intimates, not merely their continued preservation, but also a time when Israel, dispersed "among all the nations, shall call to mind how all these things, the blessing and the curse, have come upon them, and shall return unto the Lord with all their heart and soul; though they be driven unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord their God gather them, and He will circumcise their heart, and make them plenteous in the fruit of their land, and again rejoice over them for good" (Deuteronomy 30, also De 32:36,43).

In De 32:8 Moses intimates that from the beginning the distribution of races and nations had a relation to God's final purpose that Israel should be the spiritual center of the kingdom of God; "when the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bound: of the people according to the number of the children of Israel," i.e., that their inheritance should be proportioned to their numbers. The coincidences of Moses' song with other parts of the Pentateuch and of Deuteronomy confirm its genuineness. The style is no more different than was to be expected in a lyrical, as compared with a historical, composition. Psalm 90, which is Moses' work, resembles it: Ps 90:1,13-16, with De 32:4,7,36; explain De 32:5 "they are not His children but their spot," i.e. a disgrace to them (to God's children).

Also De 32:42, not "from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy," but "from the head (i.e. the chief) of the princes of the enemy." These are the germs in Hoses which the prophets expand, setting forth the coming glory of the gospel church, and especially of Israel under the final Messianic kingdom. Herein Deuteronomy, "the second law," is the preparation for the gospel law; and Moses, in the very act of founding the Sinaitic law, prepares for its giving place to the higher law which is its end and fulfillment. The falsity of the theory that Deuteronomy is of a later age is proved by the fact that the archaisms of vocabulary and grammar characterizing the Pentateuch occur in Deuteronomy. The demonstrative pronoun haeel, characteristic of the Pentateuch, occurs De 4:42; 7:22; 19:11, and nowhere else but in the Aramaic (1Ch 20:8 and Ezr 5:15). The use of h local. The future ending in -un.

The passive construed with 'eth of the direct object. Keseb for Kebes (De 14:4). Zakur for Zakar (De 16:16). Ancient words: 'abib, yequm, shegar, 'alaphim, methim, hermeesh for magal, teneh for sal. The Canaanite 'ashteroth hatsion, "offspring of the flocks." Yeshurun, for Israel, copied in Isa 44:2. Madweh

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