Friday, January 15, 2016

The Structure of Deuteronomy (the Fifth Book of the Bible)


Deuteronomy means “a recapitulation of the law” or in Latin second (deutero) law (nomos).  In Hebrew this book is called d’varim which means “words” or “things”. It was written by Moses.
Deuteronomy holds the parting counsels of Moses just before they enter the Promised Land. There is a summary of the wilderness wanderings and a repeating of the Law (10 commandments, etc.). Warnings, instructions and prophecies follow and then we have Moses’s parting blessings and then his death.
Look at Deuteronomy 5: 7 – 21:


7 “You shall have no other gods before me.
 8 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. 
 11 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. 
 12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. 
 16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. 
 17 “You shall not murder. 
 18 “You shall not commit adultery. 
 19 “You shall not steal. 
 20 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. 
 21 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Which commandment has a blessing? The 5th one: “Honor your father and your mother”. See what the upside is – that you may live long and it may go well with you. Now look at Matthew 22: 36 – 37:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

And compare that to Deuteronomy 6:5:

 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

 Jesus wasn’t telling us anything new, He was quoting Scripture. Next he says in verse 39:

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Could He have gotten that from Leviticus 19:18?

18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Remember Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness? He told Satan in Matthew 4:4:
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Now look at Deuteronomy 8:3:
3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Key verses of Deuteronomy (11:26-28) start with the Hebrew word Hey – Behold:
26 See (Behold!), I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.
Hey! It looks like Deuteronomy is the book to head to for commandments. Check out this prophecy from chapter 28:1 – 2:
1 If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:
But there are conditions and the rest of the chapter names dozens of specific curses if they do not observe all of the Lord’s commandments like going crazy:
34 The sights you see will drive you mad.
Next we have the Palestinian Covenant which gives the conditions under which Israel entered the land of promise. I just want to focus on one verse: chapter 29:29:
29 The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.