Introduction to Deuteronomy

By James M. Rochford

The name “Deuteronomy” comes from the words deutero (“second”) and nomos (“law”). After the 40 year Wilderness Wandering (Deut. 1:3), Moses repeats the Law to the second generation, so this is a good title for the book. Historically, however, the title came from the Greek translation of the OT (the Septuagint or LXX), which rendered Deuteronomy 17:18 as “a copy of this law” with “a repetition of this law.” Jewish readers title this book by its first words (“These are the words”) or by Deuteronomy 17:18 (“a copy of this law”).[1]

Authorship of Deuteronomy

The question of the authorship of Deuteronomy is really bound up with the greater authorship of the Pentateuch as a while, which we have treated elsewhere (see “Authorship of the Pentateuch”). However, in regard to Deuteronomy in particular, the book itself claims to have been written by Moses (Deut. 31:9, 22, 24, 30), Jesus attributed Deuteronomy to Moses (Mt. 19:7; Mk. 7:10; Lk. 20:28), and various OT authors did the same (Judg. 3:4; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; Ezra 3:2; Neh. 1:7; Ps. 103:7; Dan. 9:11; Mal. 4:4). Norman Geisler writes, “Deuteronomy is the book of the Law most quoted in the New Testament, being cited over eighty times.”[2]

Why does Deuteronomy repeat the law?

This might seem redundant to us, but we need to remember that most of the original audience had never heard the Law given from Moses, because 40 years had passed since its initial revelation at Mount Sinai. This would have been an important refresher for the people. Norman Geisler writes, “This book was written to the new generation, those under twenty years of age when they came out of Egypt. This second giving of the law was a renewal of the covenant that God had made with their fathers. This new generation received God’s charge to inherit their promised blessings.”[3] Other ancient literature follows this pattern. For instance, Homer’s Odyssey “gives a summary restatement of the action of the Iliad in direct discourse, as told by famous participants in the Trojan War.”[4]

Moses had reached the end of his term. Deuteronomy is the last month of Moses’ life. He couldn’t go into the Promised Land—even though they were really close to entering it. So, he realized that his life was soon going to end (Deut. 4:22). It is of interest to note that Moses never makes it into the Promised Land until he is seen with Jesus (Mt. 17:3)!

Commentary on Deuteronomy

Unless otherwise stated, all citations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Deuteronomy 1: Recap of Israel’s Failure

Summary: Deuteronomy picks up a month before the Jews enter the Promised Land and Moses dies (v.3). Moses recaps how he delegated authority to faithful judges and leaders to help him (vv.9-18). He also recaps what had happened at Kadesh Barnea (v.19ff). The idea about the spies apparently originated from the people—not Moses (v.22). They accused God of hating them. We read, “Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us” (Deut. 1:27). However, God was actually trying to bless them (v.27). The Anakim were the giants (v.28). The problem was their fear (v.29) and their faith (v.32). He recaps the judgment of God for the fact that the people failed to have faith (v.34ff). The people thought that they could take the land by their own power (v.42-44).

(1:1) Moses and the people of Israel are on the brink of taking over the land. They stand “across the Jordan” and prepared to enter. Before they enter, Moses wants them to remember what happened the first time. What was only supposed to take 11 days, ended up taking 40 years! So, Moses reminds them of their history, and he repeats God’s covenant-treaty in the Law.

(1:2) Mount Horeb is “interchangeable with Mount Sinai.”[5] Later, Moses writes, “The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb” (Deut. 4:2).

(1:3) God had waited 40 years for the older generation to die off (Num. 14:29-35).

(1:4) Sihon and Og were kings of the Amorites. Moses explains their defeat later (Deut. 2:24-3:11). Moses didn’t give this talk until after the people had a few victories under their belt.

(1:5-8) God had given this command to the people earlier (Num. 10:11-13). The geographical boundaries are identical to those given to Abraham 500 years earlier (Gen. 15:18).

(1:9-14) Moses’ father-in-law had given him the suggestion to raise up other leaders to help (Ex. 18:13ff), because Moses’ workload was too great (Num. 11:14). Moses didn’t delegate to simply anyone; he chose “wise” and “discerning” and “experienced men” (v.13).

(1:15-18) The purpose for these leaders was to judge court cases, because Moses was overworked.

(1:19-23) The “great and terrible wilderness” was a 150 mile stretch.[6] From verse 22, it appears that the idea for the spies came from the people—not from God (compare with Num. 13:1-3).[7]

(1:24-25) Nothing was wrong with what God had promised them. The problem was with their lack of faith and their fear.

(1:26-28) The problem with the people was primarily theological. They thought that God “hated” them (v.27). In reality, God wanted to bless them!

(1:29-31) Again, the problem was with their own fear—not God’s faithfulness. Moses had complained that he had to be a mother to the people (Num. 11:12). Here, Moses states that God wanted to be a father who would lead them by the hand into safety (v.31).

(1:32-36) God was present to provide, but the people rebelled (Num. 14:30-31).

(1:37) Moses was also not allowed to enter (Num. 20:12).

(1:38) Moses trained Joshua for a long time, and Joshua would be the new leader to take the people into the Promised Land. Moses made a public declaration of who would take over after him.

(1:39-40) The great sin of the older generation was that they believed they loved their children more than God did.

(1:41-43) The people wouldn’t listen when God said, “Go.” And they also wouldn’t listen when God said, “Stop.” They refused to enter the land by faith. Both acts were a sign of self-effort and works.

(1:44) The mention of bees “describes numerical greatness, persistence, and ferocity.”[8]

(1:45-46) Much of the time that they spent in the Wilderness was in Kadesh Barnea.

Concluding insights

Here we see that the people had a misunderstanding of what God was like. They thought that God hated them, but in reality, he was trying to bless them (v.27). Many of our problems are rooted in an improper theology of God, or false beliefs about God.

The major problem of the older generation was that they were afraid to enter the land by works or they were overconfident to enter the land by works. Either way, they weren’t trusting God. God didn’t want works; he wanted faith in his promise. Today, believers have either fear or arrogance on the same basis.

Another problem with the older generation is that they believed that they loved their children more than God did. Similarly, as Christian parents, we need to trust that God has what is best for our children, entrusting them to him.

Deuteronomy 2: Recap of Israel’s Wandering and Conquering

Summary: Even though God was judging them, he was still providing for them in the Wilderness (v.7). In the rest of the chapter, Moses recaps how God allowed them to conquer the different Amorite kings. He might be emphasizing this to bolster their faith for finishing the job (i.e. “I provided for you in the past, and I will surely do the same in the future!”).

(2:1) The people wandered between Kadesh and the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqabah (i.e. Seir).[9]

(2:2-3) The reason that they had circled the mountain enough (v.3) was because the older generation had died off (vv.14-15).

(2:4-5) Even though Jacob and Esau had a schism, these two nations were still considered “brothers,” and God had still given the Edomites land that couldn’t be taken.

(2:6-7) The people lived off of Manna until after they entered the Promised Land (Josh. 5:10-12; Ex. 16:35). Here, they were allowed to buy food from the Edomites as well.

(2:8-9) Again, this shows that the Israelites did not choose their land. They were forbidden to take the land of the Edomites (v.5) and the Moabites (v.9).

(2:10-12) The Edomites and Moabites occupied land that belonged to these powerful Canaanite people. Kalland comments, “These ancient nations are described as numerous, tall, and strong. Yet they were destroyed by invading brothers of the Israelites—surely a suggestion that Israel too would succeed in conquering the land they were about to invade.”[10]

(Deut. 2:12) How could Moses write this if he had never been to the Promised Land?

 (2:13-15) Since the older generation had died out, God was giving the young generation the “green light” to go forward.

(2:16-19) The Israelites were not to provoke the Ammonites, because these were distant relatives of them as well (i.e. descendants of Lot).

(2:20-23) See comments on verse 10-12. These people must have been exceptionally large (cf. Deut. 3:10).

(2:24-25) God had promised that he would put fear in the hearts of these peoples (Ex. 15:15-16; 23:27).

(2:26-37) Perhaps this message of peace factored into Sihon’s heart being hardened by God. Since Moses knew what would happen, he could offer peace—all the while knowing that God would use him to judge Sihon.

(Deut. 2:30) Does God harden hearts?

Unlike the later “ban” (ḥerem), the Israelites took animals and money from Sihon’s territory.

Deuteronomy 3: Recap of Israel’s Conquering

Summary: Moses recaps how they took over Og of Bashan, who was an enormous king (v.11). Their victory over Og of Bashan is directly attributed to the power of God (v.2). He goes on to recount how they conquered the land (vv.8-11). Finally, Moses passes the baton to Joshua (vv.21-29).

(3:1-7) The Israelites conquered Og of Bashan—just as they did with Sihon (Deut. 2:34). The fact that these cities were “fortified with high walls, gates and bars” implies that this was an incredible feat. The OT repeats the conquering of these territories (Num 32:33; Josh 9:10; Ps. 135:10-11; 136:18-22). The city of Endrei was “a city on the Yarmuk River at the southeast frontier of his land.”[11]

(3:8-11) King Og was a massive man. He is described as the last of the “Rephaim.” His bed[12] would’ve been 12 feet long by 6 feet wide. This description does not imply that he was six foot tall and liked the space to sleep. It implies he was monstrously large. If he were alive today, he would definitely be an NBA prospect. He would make Yao Ming look like Jackie Chan!

(3:12) We see this description in Numbers 32:32ff.

(3:13-15) The half tribe of Manasseh took over the rest of the land.

(3:16-17) Chinnereth is “an older name for Lake Galilee, a town on its northwest perimeter, or the area. Gennesaret in the NT is a corruption of Kinnereth (Luke 5:1).”[13]

(3:18-20) Moses had originally thought that these tribes were trying to get their inheritance without fighting with the rest of Israelites to take over the Promised Land (see Num. 32). Here, he reminds the people that the tribes of Reuben and Gad had promised to fight (something they would need to do in the next month).

Commissioning of Joshua

(3:21-29) Moses encourages Joshua based on what God had already done to Sihon and Og (v.21). He tells him not to “fear” the people in Canaan (v.22), which is a repeated theme in the book of Joshua. Moses had pled with God to enter the Promised Land, but he was emphatically told, No (vv.25-26; cf. Deut. 1:37). At most, Moses was allowed to look at the land from a distance (v.27). Instead of Moses, the baton passed to Joshua to lead the Israelites into the land.

(Deut. 3:24; c.f. 4:34) Does this passage support henotheism?

Concluding insights

God can move powerfully beyond our imagination. In their case, it was a giant king like Og of Bashan and the 60 fortified cities under his control. We need to learn to bank on the fact that God is powerful, and God fights for us.

Deuteronomy 4: Recap of the Law’s and Decrees

Summary: Moses recaps how God slew those who worshipped Baal (v.3). I wonder if God allowed this to happen, so that this would serve as a monument to future generations of those who wanted to apostatize. They were taught not to add or take away from God’s words (v.2).

The purpose of the nation was to be a light to the other nations of the world (vv.6-8). Moses tells the people not to forget what God had done for them (v.9). He reminds them that God is an immaterial being (v.15); therefore, they should not make idols (v.16ff). Moses predicts the exile to the people (v.27). He tells them this so that they aren’t afraid when it happens. They are aware of the ridiculousness of worshipping idols (v.28), and they are aware of how to repent and get back with God (v.29).

(4:1-2) The use of a suzerain-vassal covenant matches what we see in the ancient Near East at this time. Important to covenants like these was the fact that people shouldn’t tamper with the covenant that was given (cf. Deut. 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Gal. 3:15; Rev. 22:18).

(4:3-5) This event took place in Numbers 25, and it is recounted later in Scripture as well (Ps. 106:28; Hos. 9:10). Kalland comments, “The worship of the Canaanite Baal as the god of fertility involved human sexual acts to stimulate agricultural fertility.”[14] The purpose of this history lesson was to implore the Israelites to “hold fast” to God, rather than apostatize into idolatry.

(4:6-8) The faithfulness of Israel would have an evangelistic effect on the nations.

(4:9-14) The reason that there were “two tablets” (v.13) was due to the fact that both parties in a suzerain-vassal treaty were given a copy of the contract.[15]

(4:15-18) Because God has no “form” (v.15), this was the basis for forbidding idolatry or images of God.

(4:19) They shouldn’t worship the sun, moon, or stars, because God was the Creator of these.

(4:20) God had rescued them from idolatry, slavery, and bondage in order to make him his people.

(4:21-22) See Deuteronomy 1:37.

(4:23-24) God is not “jealous” because of insecurity. Rather, idolatry hurts humans, and God wants what is best for us (see comments on Exodus 20:5).

(4:25-28) Moses predicts that later generations will rebel against this covenant, and worship idols.

(4:29) Even amidst the predictions about judgment, Moses describes that the people would turn back to God.

(4:30-31) God would be faithful to judge (vv.25-28), but he would also be faithful to forgive (vv.30-31). The Mosaic Covenant was bilateral.

(4:32-38) Moses believed that this revelation was the greatest event known to humanity at the time. He hammered home the point that God gave “trials” to his people in order to refine them (Ex. 17:7ff). God brought “discipline” (v.36) because of his “love” (v.37).

(4:39-40) Moses keeps bringing the people back to the uniqueness of God. One of the best reasons to forsake idolatry is the fact that there are no other gods in existence.

(4:41-43) Moses paused to remind them of the “cities of refuge” (cf. Deut. 19:1-13; Num. 35:9-28).

Introduction to the Law

(4:44-49) Why does Moses reintroduce the Law at this point? It seems that he wanted to emphasize what God had done for the people (indicatives) before he addressed what they were required to do (imperatives).

Deuteronomy 5: Recap of the 10 Commandments

Summary: Moses repeats the Ten Commandments here. Why? He probably does this for the new generation who hadn’t heard it originally (40 years earlier). He gives them a conditional covenant. If they follow it, they will be blessed. If they disobey, they will be cursed.

(5:1-3) Even though many of these people were too young to remember the initial giving of the Mosaic Covenant at Mount Sinai (“Horeb”), this covenant still applied to them.

(5:4-5) God spoke to them “face to face.” This must be an idiom, because the next line shows that Moses was a mediator between the people and God. The people were too afraid to come into God’s presence (Ex. 20:18-20; Deut. 5:24-26). The people heard the words, but weren’t able to hear them accurately (Ex. 19:7, 9; 20:19, 21-22), because they were at the foot of the mountain.

(5:6-8) God should be solely worshipped because he rescued the people. The other “gods” did nothing like this, and in fact, do not exist. In the Exodus, God showed his power over the false gods of Egypt through the ten plagues (see comments on Exodus 7:14). In other words, the entire rescue from Egypt was a demonstration that these other gods were not real.

(5:9-10) God is “jealous” because these other “gods” don’t exist and ruin people’s lives (see comments on Exodus 20:5).

The “visiting of iniquity” on the third and fourth generation refers to the social effects of sin. If a parent hates God, this will have a social effect on the child. However, two points should be noted: (1) God does not punish a person for their parent’s sin directly (Deut. 24:16), but instead, he holds each person responsible for their own sin; (2) God love is greater than his judgment. The contrast is between the “third and fourth generations” and “showing lovingkindness to thousands.” Most people look at the former aspect of judgment, but neglect to see the latter emphasis of love and grace.

(5:11) Using God’s name in “vain” refers to “the use of his name in oaths or vows.”[16] This practice “substitutes a blasphemous manipulation of witchcraft and other supposed sources of power for a holy invoking of God’s name.”[17]

(5:12-15) Everyone was to rest on the Sabbath: citizens, servants, and even animals. This was a time where the Israelites were to cease working and “remember” God’s love for them—how he rescued them from slave labor and tyranny under Pharaoh. This would be a very practical law, because the Israelites would rest, rather than work, as they did under the brutal dictatorship of Pharaoh. Here, God shows that he is not a dictator, but wants his people to rest and enjoy him.

(5:16) Our culture has lost this concept. If the family unit is destroyed by selfishness or disrespect for one another, it will only hurt us. This is why this commandment is coupled with the statement “that it may go well with you.”

(5:17) “Murder” is different than “killing.” Murder was met with capital punishment (Gen. 9:6; Ex. 21:12; Num. 35:16; Deut. 19:12). Accidental killing was not met with capital punishment (Deut. 4:41-42).

(5:18) In our culture, a person is put in jail for stealing someone’s television, but he is not punished at all for stealing someone’s wife. Ruining a family was viewed as far more serious than stealing property in the Ten Commandments.

(5:19) Personal property was affirmed in the Ten Commandments.

(5:20) Since God is truthful (Isa. 65:16; Ps. 119:142, 151), he expects us to be truthful as well. This refers to lying in a criminal court, and it is where we get the concept of swearing someone into the witness booth (“Promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”).

(5:21) This final commandment doesn’t merely refer to an outward action, but an inward “coveting” or “desiring.” The apostle Paul stumbled over this verse, because he was outwardly righteous, but inwardly sinful (Rom. 7:7).

(5:22) In a suzerainty treaty, both parties had a copy of the covenant, which would explain why there were “two tablets.” Both parties lived up to their end of the contract.

(5:23-28) The people were afraid to come near to God—even though they witnessed Moses do this. They actually preferred to work through a mediator, rather than come to God directly.

(5:29) God gave these laws for the benefit and welfare of the people—not to control them.

(5:30-33) After the giving of the Ten Commandments, God gave Moses additional laws to govern the nation.

Deuteronomy 6: The Law and Loving God

Summary: The purpose of the Law was to bless the people—not to suppress the people (v.3). Verse 4 gives the great shema (pronounced shem-AWW), which the Israelites recited as a formal statement of faith (v.4). The point of the law was to love God (v.5). They were supposed to talk about the word with their kids and think about it often (vv.6-9). When the people asked about the laws, they were supposed to remind them—not of the laws—but of God’s rescue from Egypt (v.21ff). They were to focus on God’s redemption—not their own righteousness. Righteousness comes second—not first (v.25).

(6:1-3) “Fearing” God refers to the “sensation of standing in awe of God and then of holding him in utmost reverence and respect is, however, essential to the understanding of “fearing God” especially in Deuteronomy.”[18] The purpose of the Law was to bless the people—not to suppress them (“that your days may be prolonged… that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly”).

(6:4-5) The Jewish shema (literally “hear”) was recited as a formal declaration of faith. Jesus taught that this was the greatest commandment (Mt. 22:37-38).

(Deut. 6:4) Does this passage invalidate the Trinity?

(6:6-9) The Israelites weren’t supposed to view these commands as for themselves only. They were also supposed to teach their children about these. Since the consecration of the firstborn uses this same language (Ex. 13:9-16), we shouldn’t take the commands to wear the words on their foreheads and hands as literal.[19] Rather, the spirit of this passage is for the Israelites to keep God’s words on their minds and in their everyday lives, teaching and applying them at all times.

(6:10-19) God was about to bless the people with the Promised Land. But in doing so, he gives this warning to them: Be careful to observe the Law; otherwise, you will be judged.

(6:20-25) Moses realized that future generations would have a natural tendency to forget why they are following the Law and its purpose. When later generations asked this, Moses told the people to focus on what God did for them in Egypt—not on what they are doing for God.

Deuteronomy 7: The Ban (ḥerem)

Summary: God explains how he is going to fight for them as they attack the 7 nations under “the ban.” The purpose of God’s love is not because of something in us, but because of his nature and promise (vv.7-8). He keeps speaking to their fear (v.17), reminding them of God’s power from the past in Egypt. They are told not to keep the idols—even if they are valuable (v.25). This occurs under Achan (v.26; cf. Josh. 7).

(7:1-2) Moses lists seven nations in the Land whom the people would “clear away” (NASB) or “drive out” (NIV). This word (nāšal) “indicates that the Canaanites were to be driven out of the land. Those remaining were to be made subject to ḥerem, ‘total destruction,’ v.2).”[20] Elsewhere, we read that this would occur “little by little” (Ex. 23:30-31). The language of “driving out” is later used of how the people of Israel were “driven out” of their land during the Exile. This presumes that many of the Canaanites fled. At the same time, the hardcore remnant who remained would be “utterly destroyed.” While peace treaties were a norm in Israelite battle, no such treaty was given to the Canaanites. For more on this topic, see “What about the Canaanite Genocide?”

(7:3-5) One of the reasons for thinking that Moses is using hyperbolic language in verse 2 (“utterly destroy”) is this language of intermarriage in verse 3. Why would God forbid intermarriage with an “utterly destroyed” people?

We see that a major emphasis here is the refusal to compromise to Baalism and other forms of Canaanite religion. The goal was to be separate from these cruel and barbaric forms of worship. Intermarriage was a way for people to lose their faith and apostatize.

(7:6-10) God didn’t choose these people because they were so lovable. They weren’t big (v.7), and they weren’t righteous (Deut. 9:4-6). He loved them based on his promise in his covenant to Abraham (v.8).

(7:11-15) God promised to bless the people for keeping the covenant.

(7:16) The Canaanite “gods” were a snare to the Israelites (Ex. 23:33, Judg. 2:3, Ps. 106:36) and the Canaanites themselves were a snare—as agents of their false belief system (Ex. 34:12; Josh. 23:13).

(7:17-19) It would be easy to be afraid of these larger nations. To pacify this fear, God points to the largest nation of all: Egypt. God tells them to “remember” what he did with that nation in the past, so that they would be motivated in the future.

(7:20) It isn’t entirely clear what the “hornet” is here. It could refer to the “dread” and fear that would fall on the Canaanites (Deut. 11:25). Kalland writes, “The reference, however, more likely is metaphorical of the sense of fear, panic, or discouragement that the Lord would inflict on the Canaanites.”[21]

(7:21) Another antidote for fear was the presence and power of God, who is an “awesome God.” Much of our fear revolves around not trusting that God is with us.

(7:22-24) Again, God would drive them out “little by little” until the Canaanites were defeated (cf. Ex. 23:30-31).

(7:25-26) The Israelites were not supposed to take their gold. There was an utter ban on everything in the land.

Concluding insights

Notice how much God speaks to the fear of the people in this chapter. Even though the people had God’s promises, they still felt fear. Notice how God answers their fear in numerous ways.

Deuteronomy 8: Recap of the Provision for 40 Years

Summary: Apparently, God allowed the people to hunger, so that he could show his provision for them (v.3). God will allow us to be stretched thin, so that he can provide for us. Moses recaps how God provided for the people. He reminds them that they should remember the bad times, so that when they come into the Promised Land they will learn to be thankful (vv.11-12). There is a tendency to forget the Lord in times of prosperity (vv.13-14). This is a really good chapter on God’s provision over and against our wealth.

(8:1-2) God used the 40 year Wilderness Wandering to “humble” the people, and show them their need for reliance.

(8:3) Jesus quoted this passage against Satan to show that reliance on God was more important than physical commodities (Mt. 4:4; Lk. 4:4).

(8:4) God provided for them by sustaining their clothing… over 40 years! God met all of their needs in a supernatural way—even if it wasn’t a glamorous life.

(8:5) The Wandering wasn’t pointless punishment. God used this discipline as a father would.

(8:6-9) God describes the land that he prepared for them. He wanted them to know the rest he was about to provide for them. To a desert people, this would’ve been music to their ears.

(8:10-18) There is a temptation in prosperity. God tells them to remember to give thanks to him (v.10). They could have a tendency to become “proud” (v.14) and think that this prosperity was either earned or deserved (v.17). Instead, they needed to remember that their current prosperity was a gift—just as God’s provisions were a gift in the Wilderness (vv.15-16).

(8:19-20) God was not playing favorites. He warned the Israelites that he would judge them in the same way as the Canaanites if they strayed from the Mosaic Covenant. As it turned out, this is precisely what happened in the Exile hundreds of years later.

Concluding insights

It’s easy for us to focus on material prosperity and forget God in the process. God speaks against an attitude of entitlement, self-effort, or pride when we inherit his blessings.

Deuteronomy 9: Recap of the Golden Calf

Summary: The Israelites’ inheritance of God’s blessing was based on God’s love—not their righteousness (vv.4-6). He proves this by recapping how the people had fallen with the Golden Calf incident (cf. Ex. 32). Apparently, Moses had interceded over a period of 40 days (vv.25). This shows that intercessory prayer is not just one prayer, but many. Moses recaps this incident so that they wouldn’t have a second spout of unbelief. Who knows how God would have handled another rebellion from this next generation?

(9:1-2) Moses was a realist. He tells the people that they are facing an insurmountable enemy: the Anakim. He asks, “Who can stand before them?”

(9:3) Moses answers his rhetorical question with, “The Lord can!”

(9:4-6) Earlier, God told them that they were not chosen because of their size (Deut. 7:7). Here, he tells them that they are not chosen because of their righteousness (v.5). It wasn’t Israelite righteousness but Canaanite unrighteousness that caused this invasion (cf. Lev. 18:1-30).

Moses concludes by telling the people that they are “stubborn” (v.6), and to prove this claim, he recounts their history…

(9:7-14) The people of Israel needed to “remember” their sin to avoid self-righteousness (vv.4-6), and to stay loyal to God in the future. Moses recounts how the people had turned from God by building a Golden Calf (Ex. 31-32), and how God was actually going to bring judgment on them.

(9:15-17) Moses saw what had happened, and he broke the tablets of God’s Law. Kalland comments, “The first two commands on the tablets that were physically broken by Moses had already been broken by the people’s disobedience and idolatry.”[22]

(9:18-21) Moses had interceded in prayer for the people (Ex. 32:11-14), and apparently, he interceded over a long period of time. Kalland writes, “The two prayers are telescoped, a reference to the destruction of the calf-idol being at the end of the narrative. So the narrative is not in strict chronological order but rather in an order that emphasizes the peoples’ wrongdoing.”[23] Moses then crushed the Golden Calf and put it into the water, and had the people drink the water.

(9:22-24) The people also rebelled at Taberah (Num. 11:1-3), Massah (Ex. 17:1-7; Deut. 6:16), Kibroth Hattaavah (Num. 11:4-34), and Kadesh Barnea (Deut. 1:19, 21, 26).

(9:25-29) Again, the people were spared because of Moses’ prayer life and his active intercession. Originally, God called the Israelites “your people” to Moses (v.12). Here, Moses turns this around and calls them your people” to God (v.26). Moses based his prayer on God’s loyal love, God’s covenant with his people, and God’s reputation among the surrounding nations—specifically Egypt.

Deuteronomy 10: Recap of the Second Issuing of the Law

Summary: This is a recap of creating the Ark and rewriting the Law. Moses reminds the Israelites of their moral failure, and exhorts them to love God completely (vv.12-13). They needed more than outward circumcision. They needed an inward heart change to accomplish this (v.16).

(10:1-5) Moses rewrote the Law on the two stone tablets, and he built an ark for the tablets. This could be the same Ark of the Covenant that Bezalel created (Ex. 37:1-9), or it could be an earlier prototype. We agree with Kalland who is satisfied saying that Moses is merely not explaining the account in chronological order.[24]

(10:6-9) Moses explains the death of Aaron and the rise of the Levitical priesthood.

(10:10-11) Again, Moses prayed and interceded for the people. Prayer had an effect on how God related with his people.

(10:12-13) Remember, this entire discourse came after Moses’ warning against self-righteousness (Deut. 9:4-6). He has spent this time demonstrating that the people are indeed sinful. Here, he calls on them to love God from the heart—unlike their ancestors.

(10:14-16) Moses’ call to the people was not legalism. He focused on God’s love and promises to them. Their role was not to have an outward change only, but to have an inward “circumcision of the heart.” This theme comes up throughout the rest of the Bible (Deut. 30:6; Jer. 4:4; 9:26; Lev. 26:41; Ezek. 44:7, 9).

(10:17-18) Moses concludes by focusing on God’s character: Namely, God wants the people to be loving, because he himself is loving. He loves the orphan, the widow, and the foreigner.

(10:19) The basis for showing love for foreigners was the memory that they themselves had been foreigners in Egypt.

(10:20-22) The language here is incredibly intimate (i.e. “serve” “cling” “swear by His name”). God was supposed to be their greatest joy and “praise.” God had multiplied this little people into a large nation, and the implication is that he would continue to do so.

Concluding insights

Consider the power of prayer. Moses interceded for this entire nation on multiple occasions, and this changed course of human history. Because prayer is effective (Jas. 5:16), Moses would spend days in prayer with God.

Why was Moses not allowed to enter into the Promised Land?

Read through all of the passages that describe how Moses sinned and wasn’t allowed into the Promised Land. What was Moses’ sin? (HINT: There is probably more than just one…) Why was God so severe with Moses? Was he making an example out of him? If so, why? How does this apply to us today?

(Deut. 1:37-40) “The Lord was angry with me also on your account, saying, ‘Not even you shall enter there. 38 ‘Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter there; encourage him, for he will cause Israel to inherit it. 39 ‘Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it. 40 ‘But as for you, turn around and set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.’

(Deut. 4:21-22) Now the Lord was angry with me on your account, and swore that I would not cross the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. 22 “For I will die in this land, I shall not cross the Jordan, but you shall cross and take possession of this good land.”

(Ps. 106:32-33 NIV) By the waters of Meribah they angered the Lord, and trouble came to Moses because of them; 33 for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses’ lips.

(1 Cor. 10:1-11) For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

(Num. 27:14) In the wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)

(Num. 20:1-12) Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh. Now Miriam died there and was buried there. 2 There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron. 3 The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord! 4 “Why then have you brought the Lord’s assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here? 5 “Why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink.” 6 Then Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to them; 7 and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.” 9 So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him; 10 and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. 12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

(1) God told Moses to speak to the rock (Num. 20:8), not to strike it (Num. 20:11). Moses was falling back on actions that worked in the past—not staying up to speed with what God was currently doing.

(2) Moses was angry with the people, calling them rebels (v.10; Ps. 106:33). Moses says, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” (Num. 20:10). Moses was making God seem angrier than he really was. Thus, Moses misrepresented God to the people: “You rebelled against My command to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water” (Num. 27:14).

(3) Moses felt like he needed to place the burden of ministry on himself (“shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” v.11). Properly understood, God was the one bringing the water out—not Moses.

(4) As the law bringer, Moses couldn’t enter into the blessing of God. In fact, Moses doesn’t enter into the Promised Land until he is standing there with Jesus at the Transfiguration!

Deuteronomy 11: Blessings and Curses

Summary: Again, Moses warns the Israelites to obey the commands. Otherwise, they will be kicked out. Why the repetition? He must be really trying to warn them! He reminds them of the great acts of the Lord in the past, and then tells them of the rewards in the future. Moses repeats all of this, so that they would have the courage to take over the land (v.8). If they obey the covenant, God will actively provide for their crops (v.11). He outlines blessings and curses (vv.26-28). The blessings were on Mount Gerazim, and the curses were on Mount Ebal (v.29).

(11:1-7) Many of the people in Moses’ audience had seen the Exodus event with their own eyes. God allowed those older than 20 to die in the Wilderness. But those younger than this age would’ve seen the Exodus with their own eyes. Thus, Moses addresses these older people to remember what God had done for them in the past, and how he judged those who rebelled (e.g. Dathan and Abiram, Num. 16).

(11:8-15) Moses is exhorting them to be “strong” and confident in God’s promises and power. Unlike Egypt, the land of Israel was irrigated by the rain cycle (“drinks water from the rain of heaven”). The Egyptians had to irrigate their land “by foot.” This likely means that they had to irrigate it based on their own labor.[25] God promised to bless the land if the Israelites would follow his covenant, which is synonymous with loving God himself.

(11:16-21) The people of Canaan believed that the fertility God Baal controlled the rain cycle.[26] Here, Moses teaches that God was in control of this, and this was conditional on their obedience to his covenant. Moses repeats what he said earlier about holding to God’s teachings and teaching this to others (Deut. 6:6-9).

(11:22-25) Moses reiterates what he had promised before (Deut. 2:24-25).

(11:26-32) Why were the blessings and curses centered around Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal? We are not sure. These mountains are very close together, so perhaps these would serve as an object lesson of which choice they would make.

Deuteronomy 12: Idolatry Smashed

Summary: The people were supposed to destroy the false idols (vv.1-3). God specifies where the true place of worship should be, and he is very particular (v.5). God keeps contrasting the true worship up against how the Pagans worship. They are to destroy the altars and high places. God chose the place where they were to worship.

(12:1-3) The focus in this section is placed on destroying the false religion of Canaan. These are references to the places where the Canaanites worshipped (1 Kin. 14:23; 2 Kin. 16:4; 17:10).

(12:4-5) Instead of creating their own place of worship, the people needed to seek where God was directing them. They were not supposed to come to God on their own terms, but on his.

(12:6-14) Before they got to the landing place, the people must have had less restrictions on their worship (v.8). But once they got to the Promised Land, God had a new program prepared. Their offerings were to be carried out in a particular way. This would be their “resting place” (v.9). Moses repeats that they should not mimic the religion of the land (v.13), but follow God’s prescribed way instead.

(12:15-28) The Israelites were prohibited from eating the blood (v.16, 23), because this was a symbol for the life of the animal (Lev. 3:17; 7:26-27; 17:10-14; 19:26).

(12:29-31) Again, Moses warns the people not to mimic the barbarous religious practices of the Canaanites. For example, they were not to mimic the practice of child sacrifice (v.31; Lev. 18:21; 20:2-5). Later Jewish writings confirm this practice of the Canaanites (Wisdom of Solomon, 12:5-6).

(12:32) Moses repeats that the people were not to add or take away from God’s prescribed words (cf. Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19).

Deuteronomy 13: False Prophets

Summary: Following in the thought of chapter 12, Moses warns the people not to mimic the false religious practices of the Canaanites. These false practices could also be brought in through false prophets. Moses with a test for false prophets (vv.1-5). It also gives us some of the most drastic measures for dealing with false religion, wiping out those who were following other gods. This makes sense in light of the context of Deuteronomy. The text states that false religion can lead to child sacrifice (12:31), so false teachers should be executed (v.5). This even applied to family, if they tried to turn people away from God (vv.6-10). The consequence was so severe, because the faith of Israel was core to their existence and flourishing (v.11). This was done through careful investigation (v.14). Even with such a severe law, the nation strayed from God over and over again, and the results were awful.

(13:1-5) The previous chapters emphasize how the Israelites were supposed to strictly oppose false religion. Here, Moses gives the people criteria through which they can discern true spirituality from false.

The first criterion was for discerning prophets who apostatized. The people needed to discern if the proclaimed prophet  was staying theologically accurate to previous revelation. This was even more important than the ability to perform a miracle (i.e. “sign” or “wonder”). “Dreams” could be used by legitimate prophets (Num. 12:6) and illegitimate ones (Jer. 23:35). This was no mere theological obsession with doctrine. According to Moses, accurate doctrine led to “loving,” “listening,” “serving,” and “clinging” to God himself.

Another criterion for discerning false prophets is given in Deuteronomy 18:19-22.

(Deut. 13:5) Why were false teachers put to death (c.f. Deut. 18:20; Lev. 19:26; Ex. 22:18)?

(13:6-11) The second criterion was for close relatives who apostatized. This shows that God should come first—even above family. If a person was willing to make such a charge, they needed to be the first person to throw the stone in the execution. It seems that capital punishment was not just for the purpose of just punishment, but also as a useful deterrent (v.11).

(13:12-18) The third criterion was for entire cities who apostatized. This was to go through an “investigation,” and they needed to “inquire thoroughly” into the claim. But if the people were found guilty of apostasy, they were to be treated similarly to the Canaanites, being “utterly destroyed” (cf. Deut. 7:2).

Concluding insights

This shows that God wasn’t playing favorites in the “ban.” The Israelites would be treated like the Canaanites. This also shows that the people were to put God first—even over their family.

Deuteronomy 14: Food Laws

Summary: Moses gives another account of these in Leviticus 11 (see also “Why the Arbitrary Laws?”). Tithing was given to teach them to fear the Lord (v.23). God didn’t need the tithe.

(14:1-2) Gnashing the skin was common Ugaritic mourning practices.[27]

(14:3-21) This section is parallel to the practices in Leviticus 11. The reasons for the prohibitions could be for spiritual, sanitary, or psychological reasons.[28]

(14:22-29) Earlier, tithes were given to the Levites (Num. 18:21-28). These tithes were given to the Lord, but were primarily for the salary of the Levites (v.27) and the poor (v.29). These were given every third year (v.28).

Deuteronomy 15: Debt Cancellation

Summary: This entire chapter shows God’s heart for the poor. It explains how the Israelites were to take care of the poor and slaves. God set up a system of debt cancellation to protect the poor (v.1). The goal was no poverty (v.4). The goal was to give to the nations (v.6). The goal was to take care of the needy (v.11). Slaves were let go every seven years (v.12), and they were given food as they left (vv.13-14). Slaves could freely choose to stay (vv.16-17).

(15:1-2) Every seven years, creditors had to forgive their debts to the indebted. Therefore, indentured servitude and poverty could not become a cycle that lasted in perpetuity.

(15:3) Why were debts not cancelled for foreigners? Isn’t this blatant discrimination? (cf. Ex. 22:25; Lev. 25:36-37) Paul Copan argues, “Typically foreigners sought loans for business/investment purposes, not because they were destitute and needed money to relieve their debt, let alone to keep from starving.” He also argues that foreigners could be POWs who might try to usurp power from within the nation—even though they had no regard for God or his covenant (see Num. 21-22; 25; 31). This could be one way to subdue those who would try to gain power from within.[29] At the same time, much Israelite legislation was given to protect the rights of foreigners (Deut. 23; Ex. 21:20-27; Lev. 25:44-47).

(15:4) While God was a realist regarding poverty (v.7, 11), the goal was that no one would be in poverty in Israel!

(15:5-6) The reason why the Israelites could be so generous to the poor was due to the fact that God would be so generous to them.

(15:7-8) God considers it a sin to close our hearts to the poor and their needs. Loans were to be given to those who needed it.

(15:9) It would be tempting not to give a loan to a poor person, knowing that the year of cancellation was drawing “near.” God calls this sort of economic scheming a “sin.”

(15:10-11) God would provide for the lender who is gracious.

(15:12-18) Similar to the cancellation of loans, indentured servants were to be released every seven years (see Exodus 21 as a parallel passage for these laws). When the person was released, they needed to be financially provided for—not just thrown out on the street (vv.13-14). The basis for this was the fact that the Israelites were slaves at one point themselves (v.15). The person could freely choose to stay as a worker in the family if they desired (vv.16-17), but this was not required. Apparently, these indentured servants worked twice as hard as mere “hired men” (v.18), presumably because they loved the family (v.16).

(15:19-23) The firstborn animal was not to be worked or profited from. This animal belonged to God, and it was to be sacrificed to God. While the people ate the animal, it was ritually given over to God.

Deuteronomy 16: Passover, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Booths

Summary: God gave the Israelites the Passover in order to remember their former life in Egypt (v.3). He mentions the feast of Tabernacles (vv.13ff). The purpose was to be happy for seven days (vv.14-15). Moses closes with words against bribes and idol worship.

(16:1-8) This section describes the Passover.

(16:9-12) This section describes the Feast of Weeks.

(16:13-17) This section describes the Feast of Tabernacles. For a description of these festivals, see “Foreshadowing in the Festival System.”

(16:18-22) Originally, Moses was the only judge over legal matters. But he delegated this work to others (Deut. 1:9-18; Ex. 18:13-26). This section goes further, describing how each “town” would have a judge. These judges were to be fair—not taking “bribes” which “blinds” and “perverts” justice (v.19). These judges were under the Law—not over it (v.20). Finally, the people are warned against idolatry (vv.21-22), which would bring down the entire justice system.

Deuteronomy 17: Capital Punishment and Kingship

Summary: An individual could face capital punishment, but there needed to be at least two or three witnesses (v.6), and the alleged crime needed to be investigated thoroughly (v.4). The witness needed to be the first to stone an individual (v.7), so this would be a deterrent against accusing someone falsely. (It’s different when you have to be the one to flip the switch on the electric chair.) In difficult cases, they were supposed to go to the priests, who were the spiritual leaders of Israel (vv.8-13), as an objective third party.

Consider doing a short study on what it meant to be a king in Israel. Ask yourself, “What are the qualities and requirements deemed necessary to be a king?” (see vv. 15-20) After you read through these requirements, you start to wonder: What man could accomplish all of this? Jesus—the perfect and humble King—is the only one who could handle the power and responsibility, without letting it go to his head.

(17:1) This verse really belongs with the previous section.

(17:2-3) False worship is considered “evil.” The worship of creation (or false deities ascribed to creation) was denied. Instead, the creation is supposed to point past itself to the Creator himself (Ps. 8:3; 19:1; 148:3-6; Jer. 10:10-13).

(17:4-7) If apostasy occurred, the people needed to carry out a thorough investigation, “inquiring thoroughly” into the matter (v.4) and there needed to be more than one witness (v.6). The consequence for apostasy was capital punishment (v.5) by stoning. And the witnesses needed to be willing to throw the first stone (v.7).

(17:8-13) If the people couldn’t adjudicate the criminal case, they needed to go to the priests (v.9) and agree with their decision (v.10). Contempt of the court’s decision was also a capital crime (v.12). Capital punishment served as a deterrent (v.13; cf. Deut. 13:11).

(17:14) The concept of a king was predicted here (1 Sam. 8:4-9).

(Deut. 17:14-20) How can this passage speak about the monarchy 400 years in advance?

(17:15) God chooses this person. He must be an Israelite—not imported in from another country.

(17:16) He must not trust in human resources (“multiply horses”) or make alliances with Egypt (“cause the people to return to Egypt”). Kalland writes, “Egyptians dealt in horse trading. Having many horses signified either riches or military resources or both. Doubtless both indicated a reliance on one’s own resources rather than more direct reliance on the Lord.”[30]

(17:17) He must be sexually pure, and he must live simply.

(17:18) He must write out the Law himself! This would have taken a long time, and this imperative was probably given to get him to think about the Law. By writing out the Law, this would lead him to thinking about its details carefully.

(17:19) He is below the Law, and he needs to read it daily. In the ancient Near East, the king was above the law (Rex Lex)—not below it (Lex Rex).

(17:20) He is to be humble. He is to follow the Law perfectly.

Deuteronomy 18: Test for Prophets

Summary: The Levites were supposed to be taken care of by the people, because they didn’t own land (vv.1-8). The Canaanites were being booted from the lands, because of their evil practices, as well as their beliefs (vv.9-14). The two are conjoined together.

God wanted to speak directly to the people, but they didn’t want this (v.16). So God spoke through prophets. What are the characteristics of a true prophet of God?

(v.18) He must be Jewish.

(v.18) He must speak only what God wants him to say.

(v.19) People are judged based on what the prophet says.

(v.20) If he speaks for false deities, he will be killed.

(v.21) He needs to make accurate short-term predictions.

Peter applies this passage to Jesus (Deut. 18:15). Muslims erroneously apply it to Muhammad. False teachers were justly put to death (v.20).

(18:1-8) The Levites didn’t own their own land, and they depended on the people for their salary (Lev. 7:31-35). This applying to those who travelled as well (vv.6-8).

(18:9-11) The religious, occultic practices of the Canaanites should not be mimicked.

“Anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire…” The Canaanite people practiced infanticide (Deut. 12:31). This was one of many reasons why God judged them (vv.12-14). Note that false religion is not harmless or innocuous. It can lead to unspeakable things like infanticide. It is true that “we are what we worship.”

“One who uses divination…” Kalland writes that this “covers many kinds of occult practices, and the list that follows may be meant to specify kinds of divination or mantic or magic ways to get information from the supernatural. False prophets are accused of divination in Jer 29:8 and Ezek 13:9; 22:28.”[31]

“One who practices witchcraft…” This is “thought to be some kind of soothsaying—predicting the future by means of physical signs (astrology).”[32]

“Or one who interprets omens…” (menaḥēš) Kalland writes, “In some way it may be related to נָחָשׁ (nāḥāš, “snake”), either likening the practice to the sound of a snake’s hiss or to the use of snakes in understanding the omen.”[33]

“Or a sorcerer…” The translation of this word is uncertain, though the Septuagint translates it as pharmakos, which could refer to “one who induces magical effects by drugs or some sort of potion.”[34]

“Or one who casts a spell…” (ḥōḇēr ḥāḇer) This may refer to the “sound made by these practitioners.”[35] Perhaps, using specified words or incantations is in view.

“Or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead…” This is someone who contacts the dead (1 Sam. 28:7-25). These last “three designations are different ways of expressing the same practice.”[36] This could be to emphasize how sinful and dangerous this practice is.

(18:12-14) God actually judged the Canaanites for these practices, and he would judge the people of Israel if they mimicked them.

(Deut. 18:15) Why does Peter apply this passage to Jesus?

(Deut. 18:15-18) Does this passage predict the prophet Muhammad as Muslim apologists claim? (c.f. Jn. 14:16)

(Deut. 18:20) Why were false teachers put to death?

(18:20-22) False teachers could be detected based on their doctrine (Deut. 13:1-5; 18:9-14). But they could also be discerned based on fulfilled predictive prophecy.

Deuteronomy 19: Cities of Refuge

Summary: These cities of refuge were for those who committed unintentional manslaughter. For instance, if you were chopping wood and your axe head fell off and killed someone, you could find refuge in one of these cities. Intentional killers could not find refuge here (v.11). Additionally false witnesses would be killed (v.18). This whole chapter shows how God put many checks and balances into criminal cases.

(19:1-2) After the war with the Canaanites was over (v.1), Moses prepares the people for legal and criminal cases for involuntary manslaughter. Moses had already setup three cities of refuge: Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan (Deut. 4:41-43). Here, he adds another three, and later, an additional three cities were added to these three (vv.8-9). This made nine cities total.[37] Moses elaborates on this practice in the book of Numbers (Num. 35:6-34).

(19:3) Moses intentionally spread these cities throughout the nation so that people could flee there.

(19:4) These cities were for unintentional killing. The intent of the person factored into the crime that they committed—not just the act.

(19:5) Moses gives an example of what unintentional manslaughter looks like (e.g. an accident that happened on a worksite). Other examples could be multiplied, but Moses gives one example to show what he is referring to.

(19:6) So-called “blood feuds” are common across cultures. When one person is accidentally killed, this can lead to unwarranted revenge. Once this happens, the family or friends of the dead would seek even more revenge. This was a vicious cycle. Moses enacts these cities to stop blood feuds from happening in the first place.

(19:7-9) These additional three cities were apparently never built, because the Israelites never took over the entire land. Kalland writes, “Even under David and Solomon, this did not occur; so the third set of cities of refuge was never appointed.”[38]

(19:10) Killing someone who accidentally took someone’s life is tantamount to taking “innocent blood.”

(19:11-13) For cases of intentional murder, the murderer could flee to the city of refuge to await trial. Once he was found guilty, he faced capital punishment.

(19:14) Moses is looking ahead to the time when the people will be in their land. Kalland writes, “The land—and private ownership of the land—made possible the most equitable distribution of wealth.”[39]

(19:15) “Two or three witnesses” were required to settle criminal or civil cases. This would prevent one person’s word against another.

(19:16-20) Once a formal judicial case was in motion, the leaders were to “investigate thoroughly.” Once a witness made a claim, someone was going to die: either the accused or the accuser. Both murder and false accusations were deterred through this process (v.20).

(19:21) The principle of lex talionis (the “law of retribution”) was carried out by the State—not by the individual (v.6). Kalland writes, “One must not take the law into his own hands, returning evil for evil.”[40] For further reading on lex talionis, see “Eye for an Eye?”

Deuteronomy 20: Rules of War

Summary: Engaged men were not allowed to fight in war (vv.5-9). Also, the scared soldiers were allowed to defect (v.8). Using captured enemies as forced labor was mild compared to the ancient Near East (v.11).

The normal method of battle in Israel was forming a peace treaty. However, peace treaties did not apply to the seven cities under the ban (v.17), because they would bring them away from God (v.18). The method for battle with these cities was like seeing a rabid dog coming into a school yard. You would be at fault if you didn’t kill the dog. To clarify, we are not comparing the Canaanites with dogs, but rather the actions of killers with the actions of a rabid dog.

(20:1) The people were not to fear the large militaries that they would face.

(20:2-4) The priests would encourage the troops with God’s presence and power.

Who should enlist?

This was not a “conscripted army.”[41] The Israelites volunteered to fight, and many exemptions could be made.

(20:5) If a man had just built a house, he was allowed to stay behind to “dedicate” it. This might refer to having a house for his family, but not having it secure for them before he goes off to war.

(20:6) If a man had just started a vineyard, he was exempt from service. This might refer to gathering produce for his family before going off to war.

(20:7) If a man was engaged, he was allowed to stay behind to marry his betrothed. This shows how important the value of marriage and family was to the Israelites.

(20:8) If a man didn’t have the bravery or constitution for battle, he was exempt. Clearly, Moses only wanted men who were willing to defend the nation.

(20:9-15) These battles did not refer to the cities in the heart of Canaan, because they were not offered terms of peace. These likely refer to cities who were at war with Israel. Peace came first (v.10). If the people surrendered, they were not killed, raped, etc. They became “forced labor.” This was mild compared to the surrounding practices in the ancient Near East. For more on this, see “Tips for Interpreting Old Testament Law.”

(Deut. 20:13-14) Does this passage teach that Israelite men could rape and pillage foreign women?

(20:16-18) The cities under the “ban” (ḥērem) were not offered peace—only destruction. The purpose of this judgment was to eliminate the occult practices of the Canaanites, which could be adopted by the Israelites (see “What about the Canaanite Genocide?”)

(20:19-20) Fruit bearing trees were a precious commodity. Moses was thinking long term—not short term—in the military strategy. Once the war was over, the people would need these trees to feed people.

Deuteronomy 21: Unsolved murder, female captives from war, polygamy, rebellious sons, burying the dead

Summary: Unsolved murder cases were supposed to be paid for with a heifer (vv.1-9). Moses gives rules for taking female captives from war. These are dignified when compared to the ancient Near East (vv.10-14). Men couldn’t show favoritism between sons from different wives—even if they loved one more than another (vv.15-17). Rebellious sons were to be publicly stoned (vv.18-21). This had an effect on the entire community. Finally, Moses says that people who were hanged from a tree should be buried. Otherwise, they will be under God’s curse, if they are left overnight (vv.22-23). Paul picks up on this concept in regards to Jesus in Galatians 3:13. Since Jesus was hanged, he was under the curse of God… for our sins.

(21:1-4) This is a case of “corporate responsibility,”[42] where the nearest city needed to make atonement for an unsolved murder case. Since murder was such a serious sin, some sort of atonement needed to be made; in this case, the death of a heifer was called for.

(21:5-9) The priests and the leaders needed to be present. This atonement (v.8) was not a blood atonement, but rather “an atonement for justice; the heifer suffered death in place of the unknown criminal, in order to clear the land of guilt.”[43]

(Deut. 21:10-14) Does this sanction raping women from war?

(21:15-17) Like many other sins, case law allowed for polygamy (see “Tips for Interpreting OT Law” and “What about Polygamy?”). In this instance, the focus is on the firstborn son and his inheritance (i.e. primogenitor). If the father loved one woman more than another, this was not a reason to favor one child more than another.

(Deut. 21:18-21) Why were disobedient kids killed (c.f. Lev. 20:9)?

(21:22-23) The public hanging of a body showed that the person was under God’s curse. It was humiliating to see the body hanged in the middle of the land. Incidentally, Paul cites this passage to show that Jesus was our Curse-Bearer while hanging on the Cross (Gal. 3:13).

Deuteronomy 22: Civil laws for mostly sexual sin

Summary: Moses included omissive sins (vv.1-4). Sexual sin is included, including transvestitism, fornication, lying, rape, and adultery.

(22:1-4) The care of animals was part of Israel’s law (cf. Deut. 22:6-7; Ex. 23:4; Jon. 4:11; Prov. 12:10).

(22:5) The plain sense reading of this passage speaks against transvestitism. However, Kalland holds that this can “scarcely refer to transvestism.” Instead, he contends that this goes further than this, describing same-sex sexual acts.[44] Wrights explains, “Almost certainly it is about the perverted crossing of genders either in orgiastic rites involving transvestitism, or in some form of pagan worship, or both. The final phrase of the law shows that some form of serious immorality or idolatry was involved.”[45] Peter Craigie writes, “It is probable that transvestite practices were associated with the cults of certain deities.”[46] It is debated whether this refers to transvestitism or same-sex sexual acts.[47]

(22:6-7) See verses 1-4.

(22:8) In modern building projects, tradesmen have harnesses or some sort of tie off, so they don’t fall to their deaths. The practice of having a retaining fence would follow this principle.

(22:9-11) This expands on Leviticus 19:19. This could refer to “the idea is that the distinctions that God ordained in Creation are to be preserved… Possibly the mixing of animals pulling plows was thought to be unkind because of the differing strengths of the animals or ways of pulling under harness.”[48] For a further explanation, see “Why the Arbitrary Laws?”

(22:12) The purpose of the tassels was to remind the people of God’s teaching (Num. 15:38-40).

(22:13-17) A newly married man could raise a charge against his bride that she was not a virgin. However, the woman’s family could supply evidence of her virginity. Kalland writes, “The proofs of virginity (vv.14, 17), the blood-spotted bedclothes or garments, which, though not infallible, were widely accepted in the ancient Near East as indications of prior virginity, are still accepted among some peoples today.”[49]

(22:18-19) When the man was proven to be a liar, the leaders of the city would publicly “chastise” him (i.e. “whip him”[50]) and charge him a fine that would go to the woman’s family (100 shekels of silver). He also couldn’t divorce her (v.19), using her for sex and throwing her away, objectifying her.

(22:20-21) If the young woman was found to be lying, then she would be stoned to death outside of her father’s house. This wasn’t simply for fornication, but for lying about her virginity and getting married under those pretenses.

(22:22) Adultery was a capital crime. Both parties were held culpable.

(Deut. 22:23-29) Does this passage allow for rape?

(22:30) This doesn’t refer to the man’s biological mother. This “undoubtedly refers to a wife other than one’s own mother since a father’s wife in this sense is in view elsewhere (27:20; Lev 18:8, 11; 20:11).”[51]

Deuteronomy 23: More Civil Laws

Summary: Only certain people could be in the assembly of God (vv.1-5). The Moabites were never allowed in. But the Edomites and Egyptians were. Then, there are rules regarding nocturnal emissions (urination?), burying feces, ritual prostitution, vows, interest on loans, and feeding the poor.

(23:1-8) This section discusses those who could not enter the “assembly of the Lord.” This is probably not referring to the nation, but is “probably restricted to the religious community… from the benefits of full-fledged citizenship and most particularly (and maybe only) from participation in religious rites in the homes and at the tabernacle and later at the temple.”[52]

Eunuchs: These were men who had emasculated themselves by crushing or cutting off their sexual organs. This was likely because they had dedicated themselves to foreign gods.[53] Isaiah predicted that in the millennial kingdom eunuchs would be accepted (Isa. 56:4-5).

Illegitimate birth: The NIV renders this as those born to “forbidden marriages.” Kalland holds that this “regulation might well be aimed at the offspring of cult prostitutes or of other promiscuous sexual practices related to the fertility religions of Canaan.”[54]

Moabites and Ammonites: These people had refused to help the Israelites during their wandering (Deut. 2:28-29). Moab had also hired Balaam to curse Israel (Num. 22-24). The Israelites did not retaliate (Deut. 2:9, 16). But the actions of the Moabites and Ammonites came under the Abrahamic Covenant of cursing Israel; so, they were cursed as a result (Gen. 12:1-3). As a nation, these people were excluded (Isa. 15:1-16:13; Jer. 48:1-49:6; Ezek. 21:28-32; 25:3-4; Zeph. 2:8-9). And yet, Ruth—an individual Moabitess—was allowed citizenship because she placed her faith in Yahweh.

Edomites and Egyptians: These were allowed after the third generation. In other words, the family needed to show over an extended period of time that they were loyal to Yahweh.

To the “tenth generation” is thought to be hyperbole for “as long as the nation exists.”[55] However, the comparison with the “third generation” seems to state that a time limit is being placed (see verse 8).

(23:9-14) God wanted the military camp to remain clean. Two examples are given: (1) nocturnal emissions and (2) feces. Soldiers needed to bathe outside of the camp for the former, and they needed to defecate outside of the camp and bury their feces. The concept of burying their feces makes sense from a medical and hygienic standpoint. The reason why someone would be unclean from nocturnal emissions remains unclear on a medical or hygienic basis (cf. Lev. 15:16).

Peter Craigie offers a viable solution. He notes that the language is different from the nocturnal emissions of Leviticus 15:16. Instead, he understands this to refer to urination. He writes, “The references may simply be to urinating in the camp at night, either involuntarily or else because a man was too lazy (or tired) to get up and go outside his camp. This interpretation seems to provide a more natural parallel to the legislation contained in vv. 13–15, and it would thus refer to a more typical and common occurrence in any military camp. A man who had behaved in this manner was to remain outside the camp the following day; toward evening he would wash himself, again for hygienic and ritual reasons, and he would be permitted to reenter the camp after sunset.”[56]

(23:15-16) This law wasn’t followed in the antebellum South. Israel was ethically superior to our own nation at that time.

(23:17-18) Temple prostitution was common in the religions of the ancient Near East. Not so with Israel! These were considered an “abomination.”

(23:19-20) This rule is not practiced in our own economy. As a result, the poor have difficulty getting out of their poverty. The reason that the “foreigner” was given interest was because they were not ascribing to Israel’s laws or way of life. Travelling merchants would then be able to abuse this law for their own ends. Moreover, foreign people would certainly charge interest to the Israelites if they wanted a loan.

(23:21-23) A person’s word meant a lot. If they were not going to make a vow, that was fine. But if they did make a vow, then they should follow through on it. This is probably analogous to our concept of a “verbal contract.”

(23:24-25) This law prevented starvation, and it also prevented stealing. The poor could eat if they were simply willing to go out and pick grapes. But they could not profit off of another person’s land.

Deuteronomy 24: Divorce Laws

Summary: Women couldn’t be passed around from man to man in marriage and divorce (vv.1-4). A recently married man should stay at home from war for the first year to take care of his wife and family (v.5). There are many great laws for taking care of the disadvantaged. They had a great welfare system (24:20). The poor had had to harvest food for themselves.

(24:1-4) Moses mentions divorce throughout the Pentateuch (Lev. 21:7, 14; 22:13; Num. 30:9). The principle seems to be that the woman could not be passed from one man to another through a series of divorces. The grounds for divorce were “indecency” on behalf of the wife. This must be something less than adultery, because adultery was a capital crime (Deut. 22:22-27; Lev. 20:10). In NT times, rabbinical schools (like Shammai and Hillel) had different lists describing what would constitute “indecency.” The law became so elastic that a woman could virtually be divorced for “any reason” (Mt. 19:3). Jesus stated that God “permitted” this law because of the “hardness” of the people’s hearts (Mt. 19:8).

(24:5) This shows a high regard for marriage. The man was allowed to enjoy his marriage for a year before going to war.

(24:6) The “millstone” was used as a farming tool to feed the family. This is why a man could not put it up as a loan.

(24:7) If this law was followed in America, the slavery wouldn’t have existed.

(24:8-9) See Numbers 12:1-15 and Leviticus 13-14 for parallel passages.

(24:10-13) If someone put up something for a loan, they needed to freely give it to the person. For the poor, they could not be stripped naked in order to fulfill their pledge. This showed that God was making sure that the human necessities would not be taken from a poor person.

(24:14-15) Owners were required to pay their workers that day, so that the poor would not go without.

(24:16) Individuals paid for their own crimes. However, there are cases where the entire family was guilty, and therefore, the entire family had to face judgment.

(24:17-18) The Law taught the people to care for the poor. They should be sensitive to this, because they themselves were poor.

(24:19-22) The people were supposed to harvest their produce, but not to the point where there was nothing left for the poor to eat (Deut. 23:24-25).

Deuteronomy 25: The Role of the Judge

Summary: The accused were brought in a civilized manner before a judge (v.1). They weren’t allowed to incur vigilante justice. There were limits for the judgment that even a judge could dispense, so that they wouldn’t overdo what the person deserved. Human dignity was still a concern for the people (v.3). Widows were supposed to be taken care of by the family (v.5). If the brother in law didn’t want to take care of him, then he was supposed to be publicly humiliated (vv.9-10). A widow could spit in the brother in law’s face publicly for not helping (see the book of Ruth). A woman should have her hand chopped off, if she tried to crush a man’s genitals (vv.11-12). They weren’t supposed to have different scales to deceive and trick people out of their money in unfair deals (vv.14-16). Amalek was the one that Samuel said to wipe out 1 Samuel 15. The last Amalekite was Haman, who tried to wipe out the Jews in the book of Esther.

(25:1-3) Judges presided over criminal cases—not vigilante justice. Justice was doled out in front of the judge. The judge wouldn’t go overboard with flogging, because it would dehumanize the person (“your brother is not degraded in your eyes”).

(Deut. 25:1-3) Why were men flogged?

(25:4) Paul cites this passage to show that vocational pastors should be paid (1 Cor. 9:9-10; 1 Tim. 5:18).

(25:5-6) Levirate marriage[57] occurred when there was no heir to inherit the estate. Based on Numbers 27:1-8, this would include a male or female heir. In this case, the brother of the deceased husband would marry the widow to help carry out the family line.

(25:7-10) If the brother in law refused to marry the widow, he would be publicly disgraced. We see this law practiced in Genesis 38 and Ruth 4. While the Levitical law spoke against a woman sleeping with her brother in law (Lev. 20:21), this likely refers to adultery—not a woman who was widowed.[58]

(Deut. 25:11-12) Why were women’s hands cut off for grabbing a man’s genitals?

(25:13-16) Merchants and traders would steal from people by having tampered scales to rip people off. This speaks against dishonest trading (cf. Lev. 19:35-36; Prov. 11:1; 20:23).

(25:17-19) The Amalekites had tried to kill the Israelites (Ex. 17:8-16), even the “faint and weary” members of the nation.

Deuteronomy 26: First Fruits

Summary: The Israelites were told to celebrate the first fruits in order to remember God’s rescue from Egypt (vv.1-9). God promises to make them a great nation. This is a recitation of the Abrahamic covenant. Archer notes, “The typical second-millennium suzerainty treaty contained the following elements in a fixed and standard order.”[59]

(26:1-19) For further explanation of the First Fruits Offering and its foreshadowing of future events, see “Foreshadowing in the Festival System.”

Deuteronomy 27: Altar of Remembrance

Summary: When the Jews crossed the Jordan, they were supposed to build an altar to remember what God had done for them, covering it with plaster (vv.2-3). They were supposed to write all of the Torah on the stones (v.8). Different tribes gave blessings and curses (vv.12-13). The text goes on to list a number of reasons for God’s cursing.

(27:1) This is the only case where the command comes from Moses and the elders. This could because of his “imminent death,”[60] and Moses knew that these leaders would be the new authorities in Israel.

(27:2-4) Writing laws on stones was a common practice in the ancient Near East.[61]

(27:5-8) This altar is similar to the one in Exodus 20:25. They were not told to build anything elaborate—just a simple altar for their sacrifices. This was just a temporary altar—not replacing the one at the Tent of Meeting.

(27:9-13) It isn’t exactly clear why these certain tribes were selected to give the blessings and curses. The tribes who brought the blessing from Mount Gerazim (Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin) were sons of both Rachel and Leah. The tribes who brought curses from Mount Ebal (Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali) were sons of Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah.

(27:14) The priests would call out the blessings or curses.

(27:15) Idolatry was a basis for being cursed. This is the first two commandments of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3-4).

(27:16) Dishonoring parents also broke one of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16).

(27:17) Moving the boundary markers was already mentioned (Deut. 19:14).

(27:18-19) Taking advantage of the marginalized was a serious sin (cf. Lev. 19:14; Ex. 22:21-24; 23:9; Lev. 19:33-34; Deut. 10:17-19; 24:17).

(27:20) This doesn’t refer to a person’s biological mother, but his step-mother. This is adultery.

(27:21) Bestiality was not unknown at this time: “Among the Hittites bestiality was practiced with ‘sacred’ animals to bring people into union with their gods.”[62] This was repeated throughout the law (Ex. 22:19; Lev. 18:23; 20:15-16). If it was discovered, the person would face the death penalty. Here, though undiscovered, the person was still under God’s curse.

(27:22-23) This refers to incest or sex with a non-biological family member.

(27:24-25) Since human life is so valuable, there could be no monetary ransom for it (Ex. 20:13; 21:12; Lev. 24:21).

(27:26) Paul cites this passage to demonstrate that falling back under the law would bring a curse, if the person did not follow this (Gal. 3:10). Paul adds the word “all” in his letter, which fits with the language of Deuteronomy (Deut. 28:58).

Deuteronomy 28: Blessings and Curses

Summary: The people were promised blessing or cursing—contingent on their response and obedience to the law. This was a conditional covenant. The alternate account is found in Leviticus 26. The blessings and curses were transitory. The curses are very explicit, but so are the blessings. The Jews are currently picked on by anti-Semites today (v.37). There will be savage times for Israel if they don’t follow the covenant, including cannibalism (v.55ff). They will be kicked out of the land (v.64).

Blessing

(28:1-2) God’s blessing for Israel was incredible: being the greatest nation on Planet Earth.

(28:3-6) God’s blessing would be all-encompassing for the Israelites if they followed the conditions of the covenant. It wouldn’t just be for the nation, but also for individuals within the nation.

(28:7-8) God would personally protect the nation. The reference to the attacking nations fleeing in “seven ways” refers to them being “disoriented and scattered.”[63]

(28:9-10) If the Israelites followed God, he would bring fear on any nation that sought to attack them.

(28:11) Again (see v.4), they would experience incredible prosperity.

(28:12) The Canaanites believed that the god Baal was in control of the rain, but here, Moses affirms that God was in control.[64] The goal of Israel’s blessing was not to suppress the nations, but to bless the nations (“you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow”).

(28:13-14) Moses repeats that they will thrive if they follow the covenant.

Cursing

(28:15-19) The curses followed the pattern listed above (vv.3-6).

(28:20-21) The Israelites wouldn’t have power in themselves. They would quickly lose military battles when they were attacked, if they failed to keep the covenant. This would include active plagues (“pestilence”) on the people.

(28:22-24) God would destroy their crops and harvest if they were unfaithful.

(28:25) This parallels verse 7.

(28:26) They would become food for the birds.

(28:27) The “boils” are identified with the sixth plague brought upon the Egyptians (Ex. 9:9-11). The “tumors” (ʿōp̱el) literally refers to “a swelling” of some sort.[65]

(28:28-29) Because they were spiritually blind, God would make them confused and disoriented.

(28:30-31) The people would plan and pursue good things by their own effort, but God would judge them and stop them from seeing these come to fruition.

(28:32) Imagine how horrible it would be to have your own children sold into slavery… right before your eyes!

(28:33) God would send foreigners to crush and oppress the people continually.

(28:34) The judgment would bring madness itself on the people who had to watch this.

(28:35) Again, God would bring boils and skin diseases (v.27).

(28:36-37) Moses predicts that the people and their king would be exiled; they would become a mocked.

(28:38-42) Again, the people would try to produce good things, but God would frustrate their efforts.

(28:43-44) This is the reversal of verses 12-13.

(28:45-46) God had used “signs and wonders” to judge Egypt, and liberate the Israelites (Deut. 4:34). Here, God would use these signs and wonder against his own people to judge them (v.46). Either they would learn from the signs and wonders against Egypt, or they would learn from those used against them in judgment.

The curses would not be “forever,” but they would have an everlasting effect on the people (v.46). Other passages affirm that God would keep his people forever (Deut. 4:29-31; 30:1-10).

(28:47-48) The Israelites would either serve the Lord or serve their enemies.

(28:49) The Assyrians (Hos. 8:1) and the Babylonians (Jer. 48:40; 49:22) were both described as an “eagle.” The Israelites couldn’t understand these nations (Isa. 28:11; 33:19).

(28:50-52) The people would trust in their high walls and fortifications, but these would have no effect in saving them.

(28:53-57) This is all descriptive of what would happen.[66] The fact that God gave them a choice between blessing and curses shows this to be the case. Cannibalism occurred in the sieges, when Israel had broken the covenant (2 Kings 6:24-31; Lam. 2:20; 4:10).

(28:58-61) This emphasizes the nature of the plagues that God would bring.

(28:62-64) God’s promise to Abraham was to multiply the Israelites. However, if they rebelled against the Mosaic Covenant, they would be (temporarily) judged and exiled from their land.

(28:65-68) This section expounds on the Exile—even back to Egypt.

Deuteronomy 29: Renewing the Covenant

Summary: God, again, promises to destroy the people if they disobey the covenant (v.25).

(29:1) Again, the terms of the covenant were made crystal clear. The Israelites could not claim ignorance if God brought judgment.

(29:2-3) Moses reminds the people of what God did for them in Egypt.

(29:4) This could refer to their sinful nature. In their current state, they were unable to grasp and follow the covenant.

(29:5-6) God supernaturally provided for the people. Their clothes lasted supernaturally long (40 years!), and God provided for their basic needs of food and drink through the manna and the water from the rock (v.6).

(29:7-8) Both Sihon (Deut. 2:24ff) and Og (Deut. 3:1-11) fell at the hands of the Israelites, because God was with them.

(29:9-13) The people were God’s people according to the Abrahamic Covenant (v.13), but there were temporal blessings or curses dependent upon the Law.

(29:14-15) The covenant extended beyond the current generation into the subsequent generations in the future.

(29:16-18) Moses warns against individual or corporate apostasy to idol worship.

(29:19-21) This section captures the view of the apostate: “Even though I reject God… I’ll be fine.” Moses specifically attacks such a prideful view.

(29:22-24) The foreigner and the native Israelite will wonder why the cities of Israel have become like previously judged cities (Gen. 14:2; 19:24-29).

(29:25-28) The answer to the question of verses 22-24 is that the Israelites broke from the covenant.

(29:29) God hasn’t revealed everything to his people, but he has revealed enough for them to know where to go from here.

Deuteronomy 30: Future Blessing

Summary: This chapter describes how God will be merciful to the people in the future after the blessings and curses (vv.1-10). Moses tells the people that this instruction isn’t too confusing or secret for them to understand (vv.11-14). He implores them to choose life—not death (v.19).

(30:1-3) Even though God would temporarily judge the people for apostasy and breaking the covenant, he would not discard his people. They could come back if they turned back to God.

(30:4-8) God would globally regather the people, if necessary. God would do something in the future that would fix the “heart” of the people, and he would bring judgment on the nations who captured them.

(30:9-10) God would again bring blessing if the people returned to him from the heart.

(30:11-14) The commands were not obscure or difficult to understand—nor were they kept a secret (Deut. 29:29). God gave them this revelation so that they could understand and follow it. Paul cites these passages to show that the apprehension of the gospel is not too difficult to grasp (see comments on Rom. 10:6-7).

(30:15-20) Moses closes this section by giving them two options: life or death. It is really that simple. He calls on “heaven and earth” as his witnesses of what he has said. He exhorts the people to “choose life,” rather than death. The Abrahamic Covenant was unconditional, but their temporary experience of the covenant was conditional on obedience.

Deuteronomy 31: Moses’ Farewell

Summary: Moses died at the ripe old age of 120 years old (v.1). God warned him about his death (v.14). He built up Joshua as his successor (v.7). God’s presence was their basis for not being afraid or discouraged (v.8). God knew that the people would abandon him (vv.16-17). God gave them a song to sing, so that they would know that God hadn’t abandoned them. Moses wrote down the law before he died (v.24).

(31:1-2) Moses didn’t “retire” because of his failing body. Later we read, “Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated” (Deut. 34:7). God gave Moses a forced retirement, because of his anger issue with the people.

(31:3-6) Moses counters the people’s fears by telling them that God would fight for them (He will destroy these nations”). Moses pointed to how God had fought for them in the past (v.4), and he assured them that God would provide in the future (v.5).

(31:7-8) These words stayed with Joshua, because the concept of being “strong and courageous” is a repeated theme in Joshua.

(31:9) Moses personally “wrote” the Law.

(31:10-13) Moses commanded the priests to read the entirety of the law every seven years during the Festival of Booths. All the people would hear the law: men, women, foreigners, and children. This would be a constant reminder to the people.

(31:14-18) God told Moses that he would die soon, and he wanted Moses’ heir, Joshua, to hear about the future apostasy of Israel. This is a sour note, because the people had just heard so much teaching the blessings and curses of the Law (Deut. 28).

(31:19-23) God told Moses and Joshua to record a song for them to remember when they fell away from God. The timing of their apostasy is interesting: They fall away during times of “prosperity.”

(31:24) Again, Moses authored the law in a “book” (cf. v.9).

(31:25-30) Moses predicted that the people would apostatize. If they did so under Moses’ leadership, how much more after his death? (v.27) Moses taught them the song to be a reminder to them of God covenant during their rebellion.

Deuteronomy 32: Moses’ Song

Summary: The apple of God’s eye (Deut. 32:8-10; Zech. 2:8; Ps. 17:8) really means “a little person.” This means to see “the little person” inside the iris of somebody’s eye. This is a great song to exposit. This song explains the greatness of God, the sin of idolatry, and the judgment of God. This song was supposed to be for the future Israelites (v.46). God tells Aaron where he will die (v.50), and he tells Moses why he will not enter the land: “Then die on the mountain where you ascend, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, 51 because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel. 52 For you shall see the land at a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel” (vv.50-52).

(32:1-2) Moses calls on “heaven” and “earth” to be his witnesses against the people (cf. Isa. 1:2; 34:1; Mic. 1:2; 6:1-2). The song is both a warning and also a comfort for when the people fall away (v.36).

(32:3) Misusing God’s name was a sin (Deut. 5:11). Moses is properly using God’s name.

(32:4) The use of the term “Rock” to describe God is repeated throughout this song (vv.15, 18, 30-31) and throughout the rest of the Bible (1 Sam. 2:2; 2 Sam. 22:2-3, 32, 47; 23:3; Pss. 18:31, 46; 28:1; 31:2; 61:2; 62:2, 7; 78:35; 89:26; 92:15; 94:22; 95:1). The term metaphorically captures how God is stable and unmoving in his nature and actions—as the rest of the verse makes clear.

(32:5-6) Those who apostatize are removed from God’s covenant people (“They are not His children”), and they fall under God’s curse and judgment (Deut. 28). But this does not mean that God will revoke the Abrahamic Covenant for all time. Individuals could opt out of the blessing, but not the nation as a whole.

(32:7) During the apostasy, the people would’ve forgotten God’s love for the nation in the past. This song was written as a reminder.

(32:8-9) God gave Israel the Promised Land. The people are God’s “portion” (v.9), and God is the “portion” of the people (Lam. 3:24).

(32:10) The people were completely helpless when God found them in the Wilderness. The NIV translates this as the “apple of His eye.” A literal translation is “the little man of his eye.”[67] That is, the people were so close to God’s face that they could see each other in one another’s pupils. This shows incredible intimacy and love—like that of a parent and a child.

(32:11) God is described as an “eagle” protecting its young.

(32:12) Life was good without idols.

(32:13) God could bring precious commodities like “honey” and “oil” from things that were naturally barren, such as “rocks.”

(32:14) “Bashan” was known for its precious livestock (Amos 4:1).

(32:15-18) “Jeshurun” is another name for “Israel.”[68] They rejected their salvation with idols and “strange gods.” Note that “demons” and “gods” are parallel ideas (v.17). This was an intentional forgetting of God as their originator and father (vv.18-19).

(32:19-21) God “hid” himself from the people. He chose to make them “jealous” by giving the Gentiles victory. This same concept comes up in Romans 11 in the Church Age.

(32:22-27) God actively brings judgment through the Gentile nations, plagues, famines, etc. God holds back only because he doesn’t want the Gentiles to become prideful (v.27).

(32:28-30) The people fell into judgment because they had rejected God’s covenant. Verse 30 speaks about the Gentile nations being able to overpower the Israelites (“How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight”).

(32:31-34) The God of Israel was greater than the false gods—even though the Gentiles had an upper hand on Israel.

(32:35) God promises to judge the Gentile nations for their sins as well (cf. Isa. 10:7). The NT authors cite these passages to refer to God’s righteous judgment (Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30).

(32:36) God will intervene for Israel once they have given up their pride and realize that they have nothing to offer to save themselves. The term is not “judge” but “vindicate” his people.[69] This refers to helping the people in their despair—not judging them for what they deserve (cf. Gen. 30:6; Ps. 135:14).

(32:37-38) God will taunt the false gods.

(32:39) God is the only true God (cf. Isa. 41:4; 43:10-11, 13; 46:4; 48:12; 52:12)

(32:40-43) God depicts himself as a powerful warrior.

(32:44-47) Moses wanted the people to meditate on the words of this song. He didn’t want it to simply become a sing-song, where they would forget its meaning. This shows that understanding the meaning of the Bible is more important than just being able to quote the Bible.

(32:48-52) This chapter ends on a sad note: Moses was able to see the Promised Land at a distance (v.52), but he wasn’t allowed in because of his sin at Meribah-kadesh (Num. 20:7-12; Ps. 106:32-33).

Deuteronomy 33: Moses Blesses the Tribes

Summary: Moses blessed each of the twelve tribes.

(33:1) This is the first instance where Moses is called a “man of God” in the Pentateuch.[70] This expression is later used for prophets.

(33:2) Moses describes God’s theophany at Sinai as being accompanied by spectacular events, which were not previously mentioned. Some commentators hold that this is hyperbole, but we would take the literal view.

(33:3) God loves his people and protects them. He does this by giving his word for them to follow.

(33:4) Moses speaks of himself in the third person which was a “fairly common practice of ancient leaders in this kind of literature.”[71]

(33:5) Jeshurun is another name for Israel.[72] It’s unusual that Israel did not have an earthly king; instead, the Lord was their “king.” Moses anticipated a kingship (Deut. 17), but we do not see this here.

Moses now begins to bless the various tribes of Israel…

Reuben

(33:6) There is no particular rhyme or reason for the order of the blessing. The order differs from Jacob’s blessing of the tribes, the birth order, the place of their encampments, etc.[73]

Reuben was the oldest, but he lost his birthright for sleeping with Bilhah—Jacob’s concubine (Gen. 35:22; 39:4). Moses prays that Reuben’s tribe would not die out or become small.

Jacob

(33:7) Judah’s blessing was to be a military power in Israel. This is the tribe from which the Messiah would come.

Levi

(33:8-11) The Levites had proven themselves to be loyal to God (Ex. 32:29; Deut. 10:8), and God gave them the role of offering the ritual sacrifices. God promised to judge those who attacked the Levites (v.11).

Benjamin

(33:12) Jacob described Benjamin as a prowling wolf (Gen. 49:27). Moses uses the imagery of God carrying Benjamin—like a son—on his back (cf. Deut. 1:31).

Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh)

(33:13-18) Joseph’s twin tribes are given the blessings of God’s land.

Zebulun and Issachar

(33:19) These were the last two sons of Leah. They are told to rejoice—whether at home or abroad. Jacob also gave them the blessing of being near the sea (Gen. 49:13).

Gad

(33:20-21) Gad is viewed as a military power in Israel (Gen. 49:19; 1 Chron. 12:14).

Dan

(33:22) Dan is described as a military force as well.

Naphtali

(33:23) Blessings of sea and land are given to Naphtali.

Asher

(33:24-25) Asher will live in prosperity and safety.

Conclusion

(33:26-29) Moses concludes by blessing the nation as a whole. Regardless of who got what blessing, the entire nation was blessed to be under God’s leadership and love. God would both fight for them, and he would protect them.

Deuteronomy 34: The Death of Moses

Summary: God gives him a nice view of the Holy Land, but he doesn’t get to see it (v.4). Moses was strong until the end (v.7). Joshua takes over after Moses (v.9). The book concludes with Joshua recording Moses’ death.

(34:1-4) God gave Moses a final view of the Promised Land, reminding him that this was the fulfillment Moses had been waiting to see under the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:7; Ex. 33:1; Deut. 1:8). Moses doesn’t plead with God or pray for God to change his mind. Instead, he quietly accepts what God had planned for him. After 80 years of following God, Moses had reached the end of his ministry.

(34:5-8) When Moses died, he was still vibrant in health. This must show that God took him—not that Moses just keeled over. He was buried in an unknown grave, and the people mourned for him for 30 days, as they did with Aaron (Num. 20:29).

(Deut. 34:5-12) How could Moses record his own death in Deuteronomy 34?

(34:9) Joshua became Moses’ successor, carrying the baton to the next generation.

(34:10-12) Moses had predicted that a greater prophet was coming (Deut. 18:15-18). But since that time, no one ever compared to Moses. This leaves the book on a cliffhanger, anticipating who would be the prophet greater than Moses… It isn’t until the birth of Jesus that we see this find its fulfillment.

[1] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 3). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[2] Geisler, Norman L. A Popular Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977. 77.

[3] Geisler, Norman L. A Popular Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977. 78.

[4] Gleason Archer “Old Testament History and Recent Archeology from Moses to David” Bibliotheca Sacra April 1970. 103.

[5] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 20). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[6] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 25). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[7] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 25). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[8] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 28). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[9] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 31). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[10] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 32). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[11] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 36). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[12] Since his bed was made of “iron,” some commentators hold that this is actually describing his sarcophagus. Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 36). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[13] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 39). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[14] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 42). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[15] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 43). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[16] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 54). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[17] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 54). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[18] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 63). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[19] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 66). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[20] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 71). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[21] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 74). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[22] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 80). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[23] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 80). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[24] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 84). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[25] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 90). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[26] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 90). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[27] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 100). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[28] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 101). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[29] Copan, Paul. Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011. 143.

[30] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 117). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[31] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 120). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[32] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, pp. 120–121). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[33] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 121). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[34] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 121). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[35] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 121). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[36] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 121). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[37] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 124). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[38] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 124). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[39] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 125). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[40] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 126). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[41] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 128). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[42] Kalland notes that various other ancient Near Eastern cultures had this same practice of corporate responsibility. Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, pp. 130–131). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[43] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 131). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[44] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 135). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[45] Wright, C. J. H. (2012). Deuteronomy. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 241). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[46] Craigie, P. C. (1976). The Book of Deuteronomy (p. 288). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[47] Craigie, P. C. (1976). The Book of Deuteronomy (p. 288). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[48] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 136). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[49] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 138). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[50] Thompson, J. A. (1974). Deuteronomy: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 5, p. 258). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[51] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 139). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[52] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 140). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[53] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 140). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[54] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 141). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[55] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 141). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[56] Craigie, P. C. (1976). The Book of Deuteronomy (p. 299). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[57] Levir is the Latin equivalent of the Hebrew yāḇām (“husband’s brother”). See Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 151). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[58] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 151). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[59] Gleason Archer “Old Testament History and Recent Archeology from Moses to David” Bibliotheca Sacra April 1970. 103.

[60] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 160). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[61] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 160). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[62] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 164). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[63] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 167). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[64] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 168). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[65] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 172). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[66] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 175). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[67] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 204). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[68] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 207). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[69] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 213). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[70] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 219). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[71] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 220). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[72] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 220). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[73] Kalland, E. S. (1992). Deuteronomy. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, p. 222). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.