Deuteronomy
Overview
The Book of Deuteronomy (from Greek Δευτερονόμιον, Deuteronomion, "second law"; , Devarim, "[spoken] words") is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch. The Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 title is taken from the opening phrase Eleh ha-devarim, "These are the words..."; the English title is a mistranslation of the Hebrew phrase mishneh ha-torah ha-zoth, "a copy of this law", in , as to deuteronomion touto - "this second law".

The book consists of three sermons or speeches delivered to the Israelites by Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 on the plains of Moab
Moab
Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

, shortly before they enter the Promised Land
Promised land
The Promised Land is a term used to describe the land promised or given by God, according to the Hebrew Bible, to the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob. The promise is firstly made to Abraham and then renewed to his son Isaac, and to Isaac's son Jacob , Abraham's grandson...

.
Encyclopedia
The Book of Deuteronomy (from Greek Δευτερονόμιον, Deuteronomion, "second law"; , Devarim, "[spoken] words") is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch. The Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 title is taken from the opening phrase Eleh ha-devarim, "These are the words..."; the English title is a mistranslation of the Hebrew phrase mishneh ha-torah ha-zoth, "a copy of this law", in , as to deuteronomion touto - "this second law".

The book consists of three sermons or speeches delivered to the Israelites by Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 on the plains of Moab
Moab
Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

, shortly before they enter the Promised Land
Promised land
The Promised Land is a term used to describe the land promised or given by God, according to the Hebrew Bible, to the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob. The promise is firstly made to Abraham and then renewed to his son Isaac, and to Isaac's son Jacob , Abraham's grandson...

. The first sermon recapitulates the forty years of wilderness wanderings which have led to this moment, and ends with an exhortation to observe the law (or teachings); the second reminds the Israelites of the need for exclusive allegiance to one God and observance of the laws he has given them, on which their possession of the land depends; and the third offers the comfort that even should Israel prove unfaithful and so lose the land, with repentance
Repentance
Repentance is a change of thought to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged. In religious contexts it usually refers to confession to God, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to religious law...

 all can be restored.

Traditionally accepted as the genuine words of Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 delivered on the eve of the occupation of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

, a broad consensus of modern scholars see its origins in traditions from Israel (the northern kingdom) brought south to the Kingdom of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

 in the wake of the Assyrian destruction of Samaria
Assyrian Conquest of Syria
Assyrian Conquest of Syria was an invasion by the armies of Assyria led by King Shalmaneser III to conquer Syria. The war resulted in the formation of what became known as the 12 kings alliance against Assyria...

 (8th century BCE) and then adapted to a program of nationalist reform in the time of King Josiah (late 7th century), with the final form of the modern book emerging in the milieu of the return from the Babylonian exile during the late 6th century.

One of its most significant verses is , the Shema, which has become the definitive statement of Jewish identity: "Hear, O Israel: the  our God, the is one." Verses 6:4-5 were also quoted by Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 in as part of the Great Commandment
Great Commandment
The Great Commandment, or Greatest Commandment, is an appellation applied to either the first, or both, of two commandments which appear in , and...

.

Contents

For detailed contents see:
  • Devarim
    Devarim (parsha)
    Devarim, D’varim, or Debarim is the 44th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the first in the book of Deuteronomy. It constitutes Jews in the Diaspora generally read it in July or August...

    , on Deuteronomy 1-3: Chiefs, scouts, Edom, Ammonites, Sihon, Og, land for two and a half tribes
  • Va'etchanan
    Va'etchanan
    Va'etchanan is the 45th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the second in the book of Deuteronomy. It constitutes Jews in the Diaspora generally read it in late July or August...

    , on Deuteronomy 3-7: Cities of refuge, Ten Commandments, exhortation, conquest instructions
  • Eikev
    Eikev
    Eikev, Ekev, Ekeb, or Eqeb is the 46th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the third in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , on Deuteronomy 7-11: Obedience, taking the land, golden calf, Aaron’s death, Levites’ duties
  • Re'eh
    Re'eh
    Re'eh, Reeh, R'eih, or Ree is the 47th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the fourth in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , on Deuteronomy 11-16: Centralized worship, diet, tithes, sabbatical year, pilgrim festivals
  • Shoftim
    Shoftim (parsha)
    Shoftim, Shof'tim, or Shofetim is the 48th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the fifth in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , on Deuteronomy 16-21: Basic societal structure for the Israelites
  • Ki Teitzei
    Ki Teitzei
    Ki Teitzei, Ki Tetzei, Ki Tetse, Ki Thetze, Ki Tese, Ki Tetzey, or Ki Seitzei is the 49th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the sixth in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , on Deuteronomy 21-25: Miscellaneous laws on civil and domestic life
  • Ki Tavo
    Ki Tavo
    Ki Tavo, Ki Thavo, Ki Tabo, Ki Thabo, or Ki Savo is the 50th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the seventh in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , on Deuteronomy 26-29: First fruits, tithes, blessings and curses, exhortation
  • Nitzavim
    Nitzavim
    Nitzavim, Nitsavim, Nitzabim, Netzavim, or Nesabim is the 51st weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the eighth in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , on Deuteronomy 29-30: covenant, violation, choose blessing and curse
  • Vayelech
    Vayelech
    Vayelech, Vayeilech, VaYelech, Va-yelech, Vayelekh, Va-yelekh, or Vayeleh is the 52nd weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the ninth in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , on Deuteronomy 31: Encouragement, reading and writing the law
  • Haazinu
    Haazinu
    Haazinu, Ha'azinu, or Ha'Azinu is the 53rd weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the 10th in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , on Deuteronomy 32: Punishment, punishment restrained, parting words
  • V'Zot HaBerachah
    V'Zot HaBerachah
    V'Zot HaBerachah, VeZot Haberakha, or Zos Habrocho is the 54th and last weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the 11th and last in the book of Deuteronomy. It constitutes Jews generally read it in September or October on the Simchat Torah festival...

    , on Deuteronomy 33-34: Farewell blessing and death of Moses

Structure

Patrick D. Miller in his commentary on Deuteronomy suggests that different views of the structure of the book will lead to different views on what it is about. The structure is often described as a series of three speeches or sermons (chapters 1:1-4:43, 4:44-29:1, 29:2-30:20) followed by a number of short appendices – Miller refers to this as the "literary" structure; alternatively, it is sometimes seen as a ring-structure with a central core (chapters 12-26, the Deuteronomic code
Deuteronomic Code
The Deuteronomic Code is the name given by academics to the law code within the Book of Deuteronomy. It contains "a variety of topics including religious ceremonies and ritual purity, civil and criminal law, and the conduct of war"...

) and an inner and an outer frame (chapters 4-11/27-30 and 1-3/31-34) – Miller calls this the covenantal substructure; and finally the theological structure revealed in the theme of the exclusive worship of Yahweh established in the first of the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

 ("Thou shalt have no other god before me") and the shema ("Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One!")

Summary

(The following "literary" outline of Deuteronomy is from John Van Seters
John Van Seters
John Van Seters is a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. Currently University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina, he was formerly James A. Gray Professor of Biblical Literature at UNC. He took his PhD at Yale University in Near Eastern Studies...

; it can be contrasted with Alexander Rofé's "covenantal" analysis in his Deuteronomy: Issues and Interpretation.)
  • Chapters 1-4: The journey through the wilderness from Horeb (Sinai) to Kadesh and then to Moab is recalled.
  • Chapters 4-11: After a second introduction at 4:44-49 the events at Mount Horeb
    Mount Horeb
    Mount Horeb, Hebrew: , Greek in the Septuagint: , Latin in the Vulgate: , is the mountain at which the book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. It is described in two places as the Mountain of God or perhaps Mountain of the gods...

     (Mt. Sinai) are recalled, with the giving of the Ten Commandments
    Ten Commandments
    The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

    . Heads of families are urged to instruct those under their care in the law, warnings are made against serving gods other than Yahweh
    Yahweh
    Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...

    , the land promised to Israel is praised, and the people are urged to obedience.
  • Chapters 12-26, the Deuteronomic code: Laws governing Israel's worship (chapters 12-16a), the appointment and regulation of community and religious leaders (16b-18), social regulation (19-25), and confession of identity and loyalty (26).
  • Chapters 27-28: Blessings and curses for those who keep and break the law.
  • Chapters 29-30: Concluding discourse on the covenant in the land of Moab, including all the laws in the Deuteronomic code (chapters 12-26) after those given at Horeb; Israel is again exhorted to obedience.
  • Chapters 31-34: Joshua
    Joshua
    Joshua , is a minor figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel and in few passages as Moses's assistant. He turns to be the central character in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua...

     is installed as Moses' successor, Moses delivers the law to the Levites (priests), and ascends Mount Nebo
    Mount Nebo (Jordan)
    Mount Nebo is an elevated ridge that is approximately 817 meters above sea level, in what is now western Jordan. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land and, to the north, a more limited one of the valley of the River Jordan...

    /Pisgah, where he dies and is buried by God. The narrative of these events is interrupted by two poems, the Song of Moses
    Song of Moses
    The Song of Moses in this article relates to the name sometimes given to the poem that appears in Deuteronomy of the Hebrew Bible written/orated just prior to Moses' death atop Mount Nebo....

     and the Blessing of Moses
    Blessing of Moses
    The Blessing of Moses is the name sometimes given to a poem that appears in Deuteronomy . The poem presents an opinion of the merits and attributes of each of the Tribes of Israel, and so can be compared with the Blessing of Jacob, which has the same theme...

    .

The final verses, Deuteronomy 34:10-12, "never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses," state authoritatively that the Deuteronomistic view of theology, with its insistence on the worship of Yahweh as the sole god of Israel, was the only permissible religion, sealed by the greatest of prophets.

Deuteronomic code

, the Deuteronomic Code
Deuteronomic Code
The Deuteronomic Code is the name given by academics to the law code within the Book of Deuteronomy. It contains "a variety of topics including religious ceremonies and ritual purity, civil and criminal law, and the conduct of war"...

, is its oldest part of the book and the core around which the rest developed. It is a series of mitzvot (commands) to the Israelites regarding how they ought to conduct themselves in Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

, the land promised by Yahweh
Yahweh
Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...

, the God of Israel. The laws include (listed here in no particular order):
  • The worship of God must remain pure, uninfluenced by neighbouring cultures and their idolatrous religious practices. The death penalty is prescribed for conversion from Yahwism and for proselytisation.
  • The death penalty is also prescribed for males who are guilty of disobeying their parents, profligacy, or drunkenness
    Drunkenness
    Alcohol intoxication is a physiological state that occurs when a person has a high level of ethanol in his or her blood....

    .
  • Certain Dietary principles
    Kashrut
    Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

     are enjoined.
  • The law of rape
    Rape
    Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

     prescribes various conditions and penalties, depending on whether the girl is engaged to be married or not, and whether the rape occurs in a town or in the country. (Deuteronomy 22)
  • A Tithe for the Levites
    Terumah
    Terumah is a Hebrew word, originally meaning lifted apart, but meaning donation in modern Hebrew. It can refer to:*Heave offerings - a type of sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible...

     and charity for the poor
    Tzedakah
    Tzedakah or Ṣ'daqah in Classical Hebrew is a Hebrew word commonly translated as charity, though it is based on the Hebrew word meaning righteousness, fairness or justice...

    .
  • A regular Jubilee Year
    Jubilee (Biblical)
    The Jubilee year is the year at the end of seven cycles of Sabbatical years , and according to Biblical regulations had a special impact on the ownership and management of land in the territory of the kingdoms of Israel and of Judah; there is some debate whether it was the 49th year The Jubilee...

     during which all debts are cancelled.
  • Slavery
    Slavery
    Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

     can last no more than 6 years if the individual purchased is "thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman."
  • Yahwistic religious festivals—including Passover
    Passover
    Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

    , Shavuot
    Shavuot
    The festival of is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan ....

    , and Sukkot
    Sukkot
    Sukkot is a Biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei . It is one of the three biblically mandated festivals Shalosh regalim on which Hebrews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.The holiday lasts seven days...

    —are to be part of Israel's worship
  • The offices of Judge
    Judge
    A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...

    , King, Kohen
    Kohen
    A Kohen is the Hebrew word for priest. Jewish Kohens are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the Biblical Aaron....

     (temple priest), and Prophet
    Prophet
    In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

     are instituted
  • A ban against worshipping Asherah
    Asherah
    Asherah , in Semitic mythology, is a Semitic mother goddess, who appears in a number of ancient sources including Akkadian writings by the name of Ashratum/Ashratu and in Hittite as Asherdu or Ashertu or Aserdu or Asertu...

     next to altars dedicated to YHWH, and the erection of sacred stones
  • A ban against children either being immolated or passing through fire
    Moloch
    Moloch — also rendered as Molech, Molekh, Molok, Molek, Molock, or Moloc — is the name of an ancient Semitic god...

     (the text is ambiguous as to which is meant), divination
    Divination
    Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

    , sorcery
    Magic (paranormal)
    Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

    , witchcraft
    Witchcraft
    Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

    , spellcasting, and necromancy
    Necromancy
    Necromancy is a claimed form of magic that involves communication with the deceased, either by summoning their spirit in the form of an apparition or raising them bodily, for the purpose of divination, imparting the ability to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge...

  • A ban forbidding blemished animals from becoming sacrifices at the Temple
    Korban
    The term offering as found in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the worship of Ancient Israel is mainly represented by the Hebrew noun korban whether for an animal or other offering...

  • Naming of three cities of refuge
    Cities of Refuge
    The Cities of Refuge were towns in the Kingdom of Israel and Kingdom of Judah in which the perpetrators of manslaughter could claim the right of asylum; outside of these cities, blood vengeance against such perpetrators was allowed by law...

     where those accused of manslaughter may flee from the avenger of blood.
  • Exemptions from military service for the newly betrothed, newly married, owners of new houses, planters of new vineyards, and anyone afraid of fighting.
  • The peace terms to be offered to non-Israelites before battle - the terms being that they are to become slaves
  • The Amalekites to be utterly destroyed
  • An order for parents to take a stubborn and rebellious son before the town elders to be stoned.
  • A ban on the destruction of fruit trees, the mothers of newly-born birds, and beasts of burden which have fallen over or are lost
  • Rules which regulate marriage
    Jewish view of marriage
    In Judaism, marriage is viewed as a contractual bond commanded by God in which a man and a woman come together to create a relationship in which God is directly involved. Though procreation is not the sole purpose, a Jewish marriage is also expected to fulfill the commandment to have children. The...

    , and Levirate Marriage
    Yibbum
    Yibbum , or levirate marriage, in Judaism, is one of the most complex types of marriages mandated by Torah law by which, according to the law, the brother of a man who died without children has an obligation to marry the widow...

    , and allow divorce
    Get (divorce document)
    A is a divorce document, which according to Jewish Law, must be presented by a husband to his wife to effect their divorce. The essential text of the is quite short: "You are hereby permitted to all men," i.e., the wife is no longer a married woman, and the laws of adultery no longer apply...

    .
  • The procedure to be followed if a man suspects that his new wife is not a virgin
    Virginity
    Virginity refers to the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. There are cultural and religious traditions which place special value and significance on this state, especially in the case of unmarried females, associated with notions of personal purity, honor and worth...

    : if the wife's parents are able to prove that she was indeed a virgin then the man is fined; otherwise the wife is stoned to death.
  • Purity laws which prohibit the mixing of fabrics
    Shatnez
    Shatnez is the prohibition in Jewish law derived from the Torah that prohibits the wearing of a fabric containing both wool and linen ; this forbidden mixture is referred to in Judaism as shatnez...

    , of crops, and of beasts of burden under the same yoke
    Yoke
    A yoke is a wooden beam, normally used between a pair of oxen or other animals to enable them to pull together on a load when working in pairs, as oxen usually do; some yokes are fitted to individual animals. There are several types of yoke, used in different cultures, and for different types of oxen...

    .
  • The use of Tzitzit
    Tzitzit
    The Hebrew noun tzitzit is the name for specially knotted ritual fringes worn by observant Jews. Tzitzit are attached to the four corners of the tallit and tallit katan.-Etymology:The word may derive from the semitic root N-TZ-H...

     (tassels on garments)
  • Prohibition against people who are of illegitimate birth, and even their descendants to the tenth generation, from entering the house of the lord; the same restriction upon those who are castrated
    Castration
    Castration is any action, surgical, chemical, or otherwise, by which a male loses the functions of the testicles or a female loses the functions of the ovaries.-Humans:...

     (but not their descendants)
  • Regulations for ritual cleanliness, general hygiene
    Hygiene
    Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there is a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between...

    , and the treatment of Tzaraath
    Tzaraath
    The Hebrew noun tzaraath describes a disfigurative condition mainly referred to in chapters 13-14 of Leviticus, as well as conditions equivalent to be "mildew" on clothes and houses.Tzaraath affects both animate...

  • A ban on religious prostitution
    Religious prostitution
    Sacred prostitution, temple prostitution, or religious prostitution is a practice of worship that includes hieros gamos or sacred marriage performed as a fertility rite and part of sacred sexual ritual.-Ancient Near East:...

  • Regulations for slavery
    Slavery
    Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

    , servitude
    Servitude
    Servitude may refer to:* Service* Conscription* Employment* Slavery* Indentured servitude* Involuntary servitude* Penal servitude* Servitude * Equitable servitude, a term of real estate law* Servitude in civil law...

    , vow
    Vow
    A vow is a promise or oath.-Marriage vows:Marriage vows are binding promises each partner in a couple makes to the other during a wedding ceremony. Marriage customs have developed over history and keep changing as human society develops...

    s, debt
    Debt
    A debt is an obligation owed by one party to a second party, the creditor; usually this refers to assets granted by the creditor to the debtor, but the term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value.A debt is created when a...

    , usury
    Usury
    Usury Originally, when the charging of interest was still banned by Christian churches, usury simply meant the charging of interest at any rate . In countries where the charging of interest became acceptable, the term came to be used for interest above the rate allowed by law...

    , and permissible objects for securing
    Security (finance)
    A security is generally a fungible, negotiable financial instrument representing financial value. Securities are broadly categorized into:* debt securities ,* equity securities, e.g., common stocks; and,...

     loan
    Loan
    A loan is a type of debt. Like all debt instruments, a loan entails the redistribution of financial assets over time, between the lender and the borrower....

    s
  • Prohibition against wives making a groin attack
    Groin attack
    A groin attack is an attempt to cause pain to the groin area of one's opponent. The technique can be quickly debilitating, due to the large number of sensitive nerve endings in the penis and testicles of males, as well as the highly innervated vulva of females. A sufficiently powerful blow may...

     on their husband's adversary.
  • Regulations on the taking of wives from among beautiful female captives.
  • A ban on transvestism
    Transvestism
    Transvestism is the practice of cross-dressing, which is wearing clothing traditionally associated with the opposite sex. Transvestite refers to a person who cross-dresses; however, the word often has additional connotations. -History:Although the word transvestism was coined as late as the 1910s,...

    .
  • Regulations on military camp
    Military camp
    A military camp or bivouac is a semi-permanent facility for the lodging of an army. Camps are erected when a military force travels away from a major installation or fort during training or operations, and often have the form of large campsites. In the Roman era the military camp had highly...

    s, including a cleanliness regime for soldiers who have had wet dreams and procedures for the burial of human excrement.

Composition

Composition history

Since the evidence was first put forward by W.M.L de Wette
Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette
Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette , was a German theologian and biblical scholar.-Life and Education:He was born at Ulla, near Weimar, where his father was pastor. He was sent to the gymnasium at Weimar, then at the height of its literary fame...

 in 1805, scholars have accepted that the core of Deuteronomy was composed in Jerusalem in the 7th century BCE in the context of religious reforms advanced by King Josiah
Josiah
Josiah or Yoshiyahu or Joshua was a king of Judah who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after...

 (reigned 641-609 BCE). A broad consensus exists that sees its history in the following general terms:
  • In the late 8th century both Judah
    Kingdom of Judah
    The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

     and Israel
    Kingdom of Israel
    The Kingdom of Israel was, according to the Bible, one of the successor states to the older United Monarchy . It was thought to exist roughly from the 930s BCE until about the 720s BCE, when the kingdom was conquered by the Assyrian Empire...

     were vassals of Assyria
    Assyria
    Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

    . Israel rebelled, and was destroyed c.722 BCE. Refugees fleeing to Judah brought with them a number of new traditions (new to Judah, at least). One of these was that the god Yahweh
    Yahweh
    Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...

    , already known and worshiped in Judah, was not merely the most important of the gods, but the only god who should be served. This outlook influenced the Judahite landowning elite, who became extremely powerful in court circles after they placed the eight year old Josiah on the throne following the murder of his father.
  • By the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, Assyrian power was in rapid decline, and a pro-independence movement gathered strength in the court. This movement expressed itself in a state theology of loyalty to Yahweh as the sole god of Israel. With Josiah's support they launched a full-scale reform of worship based on an early form of Deuteronomy 5-26, which takes the form of a covenant (i.e., treaty) between Judah and Yahweh to replace that between Judah and Assyria. This covenant was formulated as an address by Moses to the Israelites (Duet.5:1).
  • The next stage took place during the Babylonian exile. The destruction of Judah by Babylon in 586 BCE and the end of kingship was the occasion of much reflection and theological speculation among the Deuteronomistic elite, now in exile in Babylon. They explained the disaster as Yahweh's punishment of their failure to follow the law, and created a history of Israel (the books of Joshua through Kings) to illustrate this.
  • At the end of the Exile, when the Persians agreed that the Jews could return and rebuild the Temple, chapters 1-4 and 29-30 were added and Deuteronomy was made the introductory book to this history, so that a story about a people about to enter the Promised Land, became a story about a people about to return to the land. The legal sections of chapters 19-25 were expanded to meet new situations that had arisen, and chapters 31-34 were added as a new conclusion.

Sources

The prophet Isaiah
Isaiah
Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

, active in Jerusalem about a century before Josiah
Josiah
Josiah or Yoshiyahu or Joshua was a king of Judah who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after...

, makes no mention of the Exodus
The Exodus
The Exodus is the story of the departure of the Israelites from ancient Egypt described in the Hebrew Bible.Narrowly defined, the term refers only to the departure from Egypt described in the Book of Exodus; more widely, it takes in the subsequent law-givings and wanderings in the wilderness...

, covenants with God, or disobedience to God's laws; in contrast Isaiah's contemporary Hosea
Hosea
Hosea was the son of Beeri and a prophet in Israel in the 8th century BC. He is one of the Twelve Prophets of the Jewish Hebrew Bible, also known as the Minor Prophets of the Christian Old Testament. Hosea is often seen as a "prophet of doom", but underneath his message of destruction is a promise...

, active in the northern kingdom of Israel
Kingdom of Israel
The Kingdom of Israel was, according to the Bible, one of the successor states to the older United Monarchy . It was thought to exist roughly from the 930s BCE until about the 720s BCE, when the kingdom was conquered by the Assyrian Empire...

, makes frequent reference to the Exodus, the wilderness wanderings, a covenant, the danger of foreign gods and the need to worship Yahweh alone; this has led scholars to the view that these traditions behind Deuteronomy have a northern origin. Whether the Deuteronomic code – the set of laws at chapters 12-26 which form the original core of the book – was written in Josiah
Josiah
Josiah or Yoshiyahu or Joshua was a king of Judah who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after...

's time (late 7th century) or earlier is subject to debate, but many of the individual laws are older than the collection itself. The two poems at chapters 32-33 – the Song of Moses
Song of Moses
The Song of Moses in this article relates to the name sometimes given to the poem that appears in Deuteronomy of the Hebrew Bible written/orated just prior to Moses' death atop Mount Nebo....

 and the Blessing of Moses
Blessing of Moses
The Blessing of Moses is the name sometimes given to a poem that appears in Deuteronomy . The poem presents an opinion of the merits and attributes of each of the Tribes of Israel, and so can be compared with the Blessing of Jacob, which has the same theme...

 were probably originally independent.

Position in the Hebrew bible

Deuteronomy occupies a puzzling position in the bible, linking the story of the Israelites' wanderings in the wilderness to the story of their history in Canaan without quite belonging totally to either. The wilderness story could end quite easily with Numbers, and the story of Joshua's conquests could exist without it, at least at the level of the plot; but in both cases there would be a thematic (theological) element missing. Scholars have given various answers to the problem. The Deuteronomistic history theory is currently the most popular (Deuteronomy was originally just the law code and covenant, written to cement the religious reforms of Josiah, and later expanded to stand as the introduction to the full history); but there is an older theory which sees Deuteronomy as belonging to Numbers, and Joshua as a sort of supplement to it. This idea still has supporters, but the mainstream understanding is that Deuteronomy, after becoming the introduction to the history, was later detached from it and included with Genesis-Exodus-Leviticus-Numbers because it already had Moses as its central character. According to this hypothesis, the death of Moses was originally the ending of Numbers, and was simply moved from there to the end of Deuteronomy.

Overview

Deuteronomy stresses the uniqueness of God, the need for drastic centralisation of worship, and a concern for the position of the poor and disadvantaged. Its many themes can be organised around the three poles of Israel, Israel's god, and the covenant which binds them together. Additionally, it stresses the importance of harsh laws and being put to the death for the smallest transgressions.

Israel

The themes of Deuteronomy in relation to Israel are election, faithfulness, obedience, and God's promise of blessings, all expressed through the covenant: "obedience is not primarily a duty imposed by one party on another, but an expression of covenantal relationship." Yahweh has chosen ("elected") Israel as his special property (Deuteronomy 7:6 and elsewhere), and Moses stresses to the Israelites the need for obedience to God and covenant and the consequences of unfaithfulness and disobedience. Yet the first several chapters of Deuteronomy are a long retelling of Israel's past disobedience - but also God's gracious care, leading to a long call to Israel to choose life over death and blessing over curse (chapters 7-11).

Dillard and Longman note that the centralization of worship is an important and repeated theme in Deuteronomy, and that this is designed to focus the hearer's attention on the unique and exclusive holiness of YHWH.

God

Deuteronomy's concept of God changed over time: the earliest 7th century layer is monolatrous, not denying the reality of other gods but enforcing the worship of Yahweh in Jerusalem alone; in the later, Exilic layers from the mid-6th century, especially chapter 4, this becomes monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

, the idea that only one god exists. God is simultaneously present in the Temple and in heaven - an important and innovative concept called "name theology."

After the review of Israel's history in chapters 1 to 4, there is a restatement of the Decalogue in chapter 5. This arrangement of material highlights God's sovereign relationship with Israel prior to the giving of establishment of the Law. The Decalogue in turn then provides the foundational principles for the subsequent, more detailed laws. Some scholars go so far as to see a correlation between each of the laws of the Decalogue and each of the more detailed 'case-law' of the rest of the book. This foundational aspect of the Decalogue is also demonstrated by the emphasis to actively remember the law of God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), immediately after the Decalogue. The Law as it is broadly presented across Deuteronomy defines Israel both as a community and defines their relationship with YHWH. There is throughout the law a sense of justice. For example the demand for multiple witness (Deuteronomy 17:6-7), cities of refuge (19:1-10) or the provision of judges (17:8-13).

Covenant

The core of Deuteronomy is the Biblical covenant which binds Yahweh and Israel by oaths of fidelity (Yahweh and Israel each faithful to the other) and obedience (Israel obedient to Yahweh).
God will give Israel blessings of the land, fertility and prosperity so long as Israel is faithful to God's teaching; disobedience will lead to curses and punishment. But, (according to the Deuteronomists), Israel's prime sin is lack of faith, apostacy:contrary to the first and fundamental commandment ("Thou shalt have no other gods before me") the people have entered into relations with other gods.

The covenant is based on 7th century Assyrian suzerain-vassal treaties by which the Great King (the Assyrian suzerain) regulated relationships with lesser rulers; Deuteronomy is thus making the claim that Yahweh, not the Assyrian monarch, is the Great King to whom Israel owes loyalty. The terms of the treaty are that Israel holds the land from Yahweh, but Israel's tenancy of the land is conditional on keeping the covenant, which in turn necessitates tempered rule by state and village leaders who keep the covenant: "These beliefs", says Norman Gottwald, "dubbed biblical Yahwism, are widely recognized in biblical scholarship as enshrined in Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua through Kings)."

Dillard and Longman
Tremper Longman
Tremper Longman, III is an Old Testament theologian, professor and author of several books, including 2009 ECPA Christian Book Award winner Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings. He serves as Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara,...

 in their Introduction to the Old Testament stress the living nature of the covenant between YHWH and Israel as a nation: The people of Israel are addressed by Moses as a unity, and their allegiance to the covenant is not one of obeisance, but comes out of a pre-existing relationship between God and Israel, established with Abraham and attested to by the Exodus event, so that the laws of Deuteronomy set the nation of Israel apart, signaling the unique status
Predestination
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

 of the Jewish nation. The land is God's gift to Israel, and many of the laws, festivals and instructions in Deuteronomy are given in the light of Israel's occupation of the land. Dillard and Longman note that "In 131 of the 167 times the verb "give" occurs in the book, the subject of the action is YHWH." Deuteronomy makes Torah the ultimate authority for Israel, one to which even the king is subject.

Judaism

Deuteronomy 6:4-5: "Hear (shema), O Israel, the Lord (YHWH) is our God, the Lord (YHWH) is one!" has become the basic credo of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, and its twice-daily recitation is a mitzvah (religious commandment). The shema goes on: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy might"; it has therefore also become identified with the central Jewish concept of the love of God, and the rewards that come with this.

Christianity

In the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 cited Deuteronomy 6:5 as a Great Commandment
Great Commandment
The Great Commandment, or Greatest Commandment, is an appellation applied to either the first, or both, of two commandments which appear in , and...

. The earliest Christian authors interpreted Deuteronomy's prophecy of the restoration of Israel as having been fulfilled (or superseded
Supersessionism
Supersessionism is a term for the dominant Christian view of the Old Covenant, also called fulfillment theology and replacement theology, though the latter term is disputed...

) in Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Christian church (Luke 1-2, Acts 2-5), and Jesus was interpreted to be the "one (i.e., prophet) like me" predicted by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15 (Acts 3:22-23). In place of the elaborate code of laws ("torah") set out in Deuteronomy, St. Paul, drawing on Deuteronomy 30:11-14, claimed that the keeping of the Mosaic covenant was overturned by faith in Jesus and the gospel (the New Covenant
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

).

See also

  • Deuteronomic Code
    Deuteronomic Code
    The Deuteronomic Code is the name given by academics to the law code within the Book of Deuteronomy. It contains "a variety of topics including religious ceremonies and ritual purity, civil and criminal law, and the conduct of war"...

  • Deuteronomist
    Deuteronomist
    The Deuteronomist, or simply D, is one of the sources underlying the Hebrew bible . It is found in the book of Deuteronomy, in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings and also in the book of Jeremiah...

  • Deuteronomistic history
  • Documentary hypothesis
    Documentary hypothesis
    The documentary hypothesis , holds that the Pentateuch was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors...

  • Kosher
  • Mosaic authorship
    Mosaic authorship
    Mosaic authorship is the traditional attribution of the first five books of the Old Testament to Moses. The tradition is first definitively stated in the Babylonian Talmud, an encyclopedia of traditional Jewish learning compiled around the middle of the 1st millennium CE...

  • Tanakh
    Tanakh
    The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

  • Torah
    Torah
    Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

  • Weekly Torah portions in Deuteronomy: Devarim
    Devarim (parsha)
    Devarim, D’varim, or Debarim is the 44th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the first in the book of Deuteronomy. It constitutes Jews in the Diaspora generally read it in July or August...

    , Va'etchanan
    Va'etchanan
    Va'etchanan is the 45th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the second in the book of Deuteronomy. It constitutes Jews in the Diaspora generally read it in late July or August...

    , Eikev
    Eikev
    Eikev, Ekev, Ekeb, or Eqeb is the 46th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the third in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , Re'eh
    Re'eh
    Re'eh, Reeh, R'eih, or Ree is the 47th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the fourth in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , Shoftim
    Shoftim (parsha)
    Shoftim, Shof'tim, or Shofetim is the 48th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the fifth in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , Ki Teitzei
    Ki Teitzei
    Ki Teitzei, Ki Tetzei, Ki Tetse, Ki Thetze, Ki Tese, Ki Tetzey, or Ki Seitzei is the 49th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the sixth in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , Ki Tavo
    Ki Tavo
    Ki Tavo, Ki Thavo, Ki Tabo, Ki Thabo, or Ki Savo is the 50th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the seventh in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , Nitzavim
    Nitzavim
    Nitzavim, Nitsavim, Nitzabim, Netzavim, or Nesabim is the 51st weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the eighth in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , Vayelech
    Vayelech
    Vayelech, Vayeilech, VaYelech, Va-yelech, Vayelekh, Va-yelekh, or Vayeleh is the 52nd weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the ninth in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , Haazinu
    Haazinu
    Haazinu, Ha'azinu, or Ha'Azinu is the 53rd weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the 10th in the book of Deuteronomy...

    , V'Zot HaBerachah
    V'Zot HaBerachah
    V'Zot HaBerachah, VeZot Haberakha, or Zos Habrocho is the 54th and last weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the 11th and last in the book of Deuteronomy. It constitutes Jews generally read it in September or October on the Simchat Torah festival...

    .
  • Papyrus Rylands 458
    Papyrus Rylands 458
    Papyrus Rylands 458 is a copy of the Pentateuch in a Greek version of the Hebrew Bible known as the Septuagint. It is a papyrus manuscript in roll form. The manuscript has been assigned palaeographically to the 2nd century BC and it is the oldest known manuscript of the Greek Bible...

     – the oldest Greek manuscript of Deuteronomy

Translations of Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy

General


External links

See Deuteronomy at Bible Gateway

  • Jewish
    Judaism
    Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

     translations:
    • Deuteronomy at Mechon-Mamre (modified Jewish Publication Society translation)
    • Deuteronomy (The Living Torah) Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
      Aryeh Kaplan
      Aryeh Moshe Eliyahu Kaplan was a noted American Orthodox rabbi and author known for his "intimate knowledge of both physics and kabbalah." He was lauded as an original thinker and prolific writer, from studies of the Torah, Talmud and mysticism to introductory pamphlets on Jewish beliefs and...

      's translation and commentary at Ort.org
    • Devarim – Deuteronomy (Judaica Press) translation [with Rashi
      Rashi
      Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

      's commentary] at Chabad.org
    • דְּבָרִים Devarim – Deuteronomy (Hebrew
      Hebrew language
      Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

       - English at Mechon-Mamre.org)

  • Christian
    Christian
    A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

     translations:
    • Online Bible at GospelHall.org (King James Version
      King James Version (disambiguation)
      The Authorized King James Version is a translation of the Bible, first published in 1611.King James Version may also refer to:*Revised Version, a late 19th century revision of the King James Version...

      )
    • Deuteronomy – Chapter Indexed (King James Version
      King James Version (disambiguation)
      The Authorized King James Version is a translation of the Bible, first published in 1611.King James Version may also refer to:*Revised Version, a late 19th century revision of the King James Version...

      )
    • oremus Bible Browser (New Revised Standard Version
      New Revised Standard Version
      The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible is an English translation of the Bible released in 1989 in the USA. It is a thorough revision of the Revised Standard Version .There are three editions of the NRSV:...

      )
    • oremus Bible Browser (Anglicized New Revised Standard Version
      New Revised Standard Version
      The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible is an English translation of the Bible released in 1989 in the USA. It is a thorough revision of the Revised Standard Version .There are three editions of the NRSV:...

      )
    • Deuteronomy at Wikisource (Authorized King James Version)
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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