Author: Deuteronomy is most often stated as being written by Moses, as were the earlier books. Deuteronomy means “second law” and is the fifth and final book of the Pentateuch. Like many other books of the Bible, the author is debated. Some scholars claim it was written in the seventh century B.C. by King Josiah’s officials in an attempt to legitimize Josiah’s reforms. Some claim that a “pre-final” version of Deut was found in the temple, giving it legitimacy, and was added upon by writers of that time. A third school of opinion holds that while the speeches may represent some of what Moses said, various scholars over the time developed the “final version” of which we read from today. It is this last that is most probable.
Audience: It was written as the Israelites were camped at Moab- where Numbers ended- immediately before the conquest of Canaan. The original audience was those who were ready to attempt the conquest. Later generations read it as both a historical record, as well as an explanation of the law that governed their lives.
Themes of Deuteronomy:
1. Covenant- this was covered and explained extensively in earlier books. However, it is also the central focus of this book. It is a “renewal” of the covenant before the conquest and gives the law a vital framework within it exists.
2. Choices- Deuteronomy underlines the fact that people always have a CHOICE on whether to obey God or not. Moses throughout the book corrects, threatens, exhorts, and loudly proclaims, all with the end of having the Israelite’s choose obedience to God. The fact he does all of these things only shows, yet again, that keeping the covenant was a choice.
3. The responsibilities of people towards others- special protections were designed and laid out in this book that protect the widows, orphans, resident foreigners, the disabled, and the elderly. These concepts are part of the law, and are quoted at length in the New Testament.
Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong