Deuteronomy is the fifth and last book written by Moses. Deuteronomy, placed historically about 1400 B.C., means “second (repeated) law.” It is written in the form of a second-millennium-B.C. treaty between a ruler and his people. The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt until God intervened about 1450 B.C. God set them free through a series of miracles and led them to Mount Sinai. There Moses, whom God had called to lead Israel, gave God’s people a Law, a priesthood, a sacrificial system, and a portable place of worship. But when the Exodus generation approached Canaan, a land God had promised to Israel’s ancestor Abraham, the Israelites rebelled.
For 40 years Israel wandered in circles in the desert, until every adult member of that first, rebellious generation had died. In Deuteronomy Moses is speaking to their children—a new generation that is now ready to obey God and about to conquer the land God has promised to His people. This review of the divine Law is given to this new generation of Israelites to explain the nature of their relationship with the Lord. At the end of the book this new generation, knowing the nature of the relationship God intends to have with Israel, is challenged to commit itself fully to the Lord. Deuteronomy reminds us that grace has always characterized God’s relationships with human beings.
OUTLINE OF CONTENTS
|I.||Moses’ Review of History||Deut. 1–4|
|A. What God has done for Israel||Deut. 1–3|
|B. How Israel is to respond||Deut. 4|
|II.||Moses’ Presentation of the Treaty with God||Deut. 5–28|
|A. Fundamental principles of relationship||Deut. 5–11|
|B. Specific examples of requirements||Deut. 12–26|
|C. Challenge to personal commitment||Deut. 27–28|
|III.||Moses’ Exhortation to Complete Commitment||Deut. 29–30|
|IV.||Moses’ Last Acts||Deut. 31–34|