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You will find an introduction and outline to Deuteronomy, here.

A prayer to use before reading:

God of mercy, you promised never to break your covenant with us. Amid all the changing words of our generation, speak your eternal Word that does not change. Then may we respond to your gracious promises with faithful obedient lives; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.    (from the Book of Common Worship)

I. Deuteronomy 1:1-2:29 Introduction to Israel’s Story

II. Deuteronomy 4:1-11:32 The Commandments of God

III. Deuteronomy 12:1-26:19 The Deuteronomic Law Code

IV Deuteronomy 27:1-30:20 Epilogue

D. 29:1-30:20 The Great Farewell Address of Moses: Remember that the book of Deuteronomy is given it’s final form around the time of the Exile. It is written to people who have been defeated and displaced. The Exiles no longer have possession of the land God gave to them. This speech of Moses is for a landless, defeated people. But notice that all is not lost. They can repent and God will restore them. They have a choice. Notice in 29:1 that a new- actually renewed- covenant is possible. The writers have a sense that Israel, now in exile, is like the people led by Moses. They have their time of trial in the wilderness, the opportunity to renew their covenant with God and then the restoration of their life as a people in the land promised to them. See 30:1-5. 

What Israel has to do is choose, (v19). They need to believe that God will act and commit themselves to God.

V. Deuteronomy 31:1-34:12 Appendix: These last chapters serve to help Israel transition from Moses leadership into the future. Certainly life without Moses will be a challenge for Israel. They have not, since leaving Egypt and becoming Israel, been without Moses to guide them.

A. 31:1-29 Preparations for Life Under the Law of Moses: Moses tells the people he will soon die and commissions Joshua as his successor. Moses writes down the law and gives the levitical priests the charge to care for it and read it to the people every 7 years. Without Moses, it is necessary for the law to be written and learned.

Notice that Joshua is not made king. Re read the language of verses 7 and 23. Also not that God is the one who commissions Joshua, not Moses and not the people. 31:14-32:44 contain some repetition of 31:1-13.

There is both the authority of the law and the authority of human leadership in Israel. Both are needed.

B. 31:30-32:52 The Song of Moses

Read More About It.

The following are several good general reference works to aid your reading of the Torah.

Anderson, Bernhard W. “Leviticus” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books Metzger, Bruce M., Roland E. Murphy, eds.(New York: Oxford University Press) 1994.

Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.

Clements, Ronald E. “The Book of Deuteronomy”, in  The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 2 Keck, Leander E., ed. (Nashville”Abingdon Press) 1994.

Hallo, William W. “Deuteronomy and Ancient Near Eastern Literature” in The Torah: A Modern Commentary Plaut, W. Gunther, ed. (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations) 1981.

Nelson, Richard D. “Deuteronomy” in  HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.

Plaut, W. Gunther “Deuteronomy” in The Torah: A Modern Commentary Plaut, W. Gunther, ed. (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations) 1981.

“Weinberg, Dudley, Gunther Plaut, “Introducing Deuteronomy” in The Torah: A Modern Commentary Plaut, W. Gunther, ed. (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations) 1981.

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