The Book of Deuteronomy

I. Title

       The English title comes from the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), meaning "second law". This is a misnomer, as it implies that this book contains another or different law, which it does not. In Hebrew, the book's title is taken from the first words in the book, eleh devarim-- which mean "these are the words".

II. Author

       Moses is traditionally assumed to be the author of the book of Deuteronomy. Please see the discussion at the beginning of Genesis for more information.

III. An Outline of Deuteronomy

I. Preamble 1:1-5
II. Historical Prologue 1:6-4:49
III. General Stipulations 5:1-11:32
IV. Specific Stipulations 12:1-26:19
V. Blessings and Cursings 27:1-30:18
VI. Witnesses 30:19-20
VII. Moses Concluding His Work 31:1-33:29
VIII. The Death Of Moses 34:1-12

IV. Vassal Treaties

       The format of Deuteronomy follows the structure of Ancient Near Eastern treaties which were made between greater and lesser powers. Israel, the lesser power, had been freed from bondage as Egypt's vassal and was now voluntarily becoming the vassal of Yahweh. Therefore, the book of Deuteronomy is a treaty or contract between God and Israel.

V. Outline of a Typical Vassal Treaty of the Fifteenth Century BC

I. Preamble -- "These are the words..."
II. Historical Prologue -- antecedant history: the events which lead to and now form the basis of the treaty.
III. General Stipulations -- substantive statements regarding the future relationship which is related to the antecedant history and which summarizes the purpose of the specific stipulations which will follow.
IV. Specific Stipulations
V. Divine Witnesses -- the gods are called upon to bear witness.
VI. Blessings and Cursings -- what will happen if the covenant is kept or broken.

Questions on Deuteronomy

1. Give the outline and format of the book of Deuteronomy.
2. What is the Shema, what is its significance, and where is it? Quote it.
3. Be able to give a brief biography of each person:

a. Moses
b. Aaron
c. Og
d. Sihon
e. Joshua
f. Caleb

4. What does Deuteronomy have to say about Israel's king?
5. Summarize the blessings and cursings pronounced upon Israel. Why were they given?