The name of the Book suggests its nature and purpose. Standing as it properly does in our Bibles, as the last of the Pentateuch written by Moses; it summarizes and brings to focus the message embodied in the four preceding books. This does not mean that it is a mere repetition of what has been said previously.
Deuteronomy truly set in the historical, events which have been given previously, particularly in Exodus and Numbers. However, it goes beyond those records in that it both interpret and adapts them. Through the book of Deuteronomy, events are charged with meaning. Moses gives a good deal of history but in nearly every case, he related events to the spiritual lessons, which they underscore.
He took the legislation, which the Lord had given to Israel nearly forty years before and adapted it to conditions of settled life in the land to which Israel was soon to go. The nation of Israel was (when this book was written), in the land of Moab,to the east of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea.
Once before, Israel had failed, through lack of faith, to enter Palestine land. Now thirty-eight years later, Moses gathered the company together and sought to infuse faith, which will enable the chosen people to move ahead in obedience. Before them and ahead of them was their God, whom they have come to know better during their experience in the Peninsula of Sinai with its raggedness and bleakness.
Moses saw correctly that their major perils will be in the area of their spiritual life, so the major thrust of his message was spiritual. The Lord their God is One, it is He who has delivered them from bondage.
He had given them the Law. He had entered into Covenant relation with them, they are His people He demands exclusive devotion and worship, and His ways were known to them. By long experience, Israel had learned that the Lord honours obedience and punishes transgression.
Now in a new sense, Israel is on her own under the Lord and in her new home. The book covers the entire range of questions, which arise out of this new phase in Israel’s life. Her attitude towards the Lord is, of course, the major problem. Moses with all of the earnestness which he could summon, called Israel to trust the Lord with the whole heart and to make His Law the continual monitor of her life. This Law, if observed will infuse her entire life and make her a people distinctive among nations. Blessings will follow and the nations will recognize that her God is the Lord. But if Israel shall go the way of the nations around her, and forget her God, then afflictions will seize her, and ultimately she will be scattered among the nations, The Book laid emphasis on faith and obedience, which can be called the theme of the book, which is the last Book of the Pentateuch.
THE OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY
PREFACE AND HISTORICAL STATEMENT-CHAPTER 1: 1-5.
FIRST ADDRESS OF MOSES-CHAPTER 1:6;4:40.
The Lord commanded to proceed from Sinai-Chapter 1:6-8.
Assistant Administrators for Moses appointed-Chapter 1:9-15
The Command to proceed from Sinai-Chapter 1:9-15
The command of Justice and Equity-Chapter 1:16-18
Israel’s Unbelief and failure to Possess Canaan-Chapter 1:19-36.
Israel Presumption and retreat-Chapter 1:40-46
Thirty-eight years of Wandering-Chapter 2:1-15.
Anew Period of faith and advance-Chapter 2:16; 3:17
Israel at the Boundary of the Promised Land-Chapter 3:18-40.
HISTORICAL AND TRANSITIONAL STATEMENT-Chapter 3:41-49.
Appointment of the cities of Refuge- Chapter 4:41-43.
Introduction to the second address-Chapter 4:44-49.
SECOND ADDRESS OF MOSES-CHAPTER 5:1-26-19.
A series of Exhortations-Chapter 5:1-11-32
The Ten Commandments-Chapter 5:1-21.
Events at Sinai and their meaning-Chapters 5:22; 6:3
The Shema or ‘Hear of Israel” and its imperative-Chapter 6:4-2.
Practical commands,promises and warnings-Chapter 7:11-32
A series of laws and Statutes-Chapters 12:1-21-23.
Law Concerning Idolatry-Chapter 21:1-4.
Law Regulating Israel’s worship-Chapters 12:5-16:17.
Basic Law of Justice-Chapter 16:18-22.
General civil legislation-Chapters 17;1-21-23.
A series of Laws Governing Israel’s social living-Chapters 22:1:19.
Laws of the Brother’s property-Chapter 22:1-4
Laws Concerning Distinctions-Chapter 22:5-12.
Laws Concerning Personal and Family Morality-Chapters 22:13-24:5.
Laws Concerning Economic and social Justice-Chapters 24:6-25:19.
Laws Concerning stewardship-Chapter 26:1-19 .
THE THIRD ADDRESS OF MOSES-CHAPTERS 27:1-30:20
Command to Publish the Law-Chapter 27:1-10
Sanctions of the Law-Chapter 27:11-26.
Blessing upon Obedience-Chapter 28:1-14.
Dire Consequences of Disobedience-Chapter 28:15-68.
Renewal of the Covenant with the LORD-Chapter 29:1-18.