Deuteronomy - Moses’ Final Instructions

  • Deuteronomy is the fifth of the first five books of the Bible called the “Books of the Law"or the Pentateuch. Deuteronomy means “Second Law,” which simply indicates that the Ten Commandments are repeated (Exodus 20). This was written to remind the people of what God did for them. Much of Deuteronomy is repetition and explanation of the three preceding books.
  • The book of Deuteronomy (except the final summary by Joshua) was written by Moses just prior to his death and before Israel entered into the Promised Land. Israel was now perched at the entrance to the Promised Land (1:5) as they received Moses’ final instructions.
  • Keep in mind that these words came from a man who was 120 years old. He had led three million Jews in the wilderness for forty years.
  • The key words are “remember” (fourteen times), “hear” (over thirty times), and “do” (about one hundred).
  • In this book, Moses summed up the essential contents of all the commandments, statutes, and obligations that God had commanded. He exhorted the people to be obedient and gave them promises of blessings if they should obey and threats of punishment if they should disobey.
  • When Moses was giving directions from the Lord, he told the people that Canaan was “a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass [copper]” (8:9). Recent discoveries have proven that there is copper in the hills of which Moses spoke. In fact, these copper mines were probably in use during the days of Solomon.
  • Moses spent forty years in Pharaoh’s palace, forty years in Midian, and forty years leading Israel in the wilderness, which involved transplanting three million people from one land to another.

A brief outline of Deuteronomy is as follows:

  1. A retrospect of Israel’s wanderings (chapters 1-4). Moses’ first speech to the people. Looking back: He reminded the people of God’s faithfulness in their journey from Egypt.
  2. A rehearsal of Israel’s law (chapters 5-26). Moses’ second speech to the people. Looking up: He reviewed God’s laws and warned the people not to anger God by disobeying Him.
  3. A renewal of Israel’s covenant (chapters 27-34). Moses’ third speech to the people. Looking out: He reviewed the agreement between God and the people and assured them of God’s continual protection.