Deuteronomy - Lesson 3

Deuteronomy as Scripture

God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

Daniel Block
Lesson 3
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Deuteronomy as Scripture

Deuteronomy as Scripture

I. Hebrew Words for a Written Text

II. What Makes Scripture Authoritative?

A. Decalogue as Scripture

B. Deuteronomy as Scripture

C. Moses declared that his Torah is the key to life

D. How did the Torah gain this life-giving power?

E. What was the Torah of which Moses spoke?

F. Final editorial process

III. Deuteronomy is the Heart of the Pentateuch

IV. In the New Testament, what is, “nomos” (law) referring to?

  • The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)

  • God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

  • Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

  • The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.

  • With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.

  • God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.

  • The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.

  • When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.

  • The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.

  • God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

  • Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.

  • How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

  • When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

  • The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.

  • Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.

  • “What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.

  • Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.

  • As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.

  • The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.

  • This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

  • In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

  • A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

  • Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

  • Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.

  • Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.

  • The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.

  • Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.

  • Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.

  • Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)

  • This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.

  • The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

  • This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.

  • At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.

  • This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.  

The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)

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Deuteronomy as Scripture

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] All right. We have been talking about Deuteronomy as prophetic preaching at its best. We've been talking about Deuteronomy as a covenant document. Well, now let's talk about Deuteronomy as scripture, our scripture. Now, technically, Scripture refers to a written text, something that has been produced by a literate scribe who knew how to read and write something inscribed is that scripture. But we tend to interpret as an authoritative scripture for life and often divinely produced In Hebrew, the Hebrew word for Scripture, something written is a mix of a written document. God wrote the tablet wrote on the tablets in the same script text as before, the ten words that the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. So there you have a reference to Scripture and inscribed text. That's the first one. Biblical Hebrew has two words for text this mic tab, which we have here, but also save for it's almost always translated as a book. This is the book of the Torah. Usually it is. This is the safer of the Torah means a written document. It always it's always a written account. But there are other things that are also written In Deuteronomy 24 one, there's a reference to a certificate of divorce. Safer Ruthie, does that make it scripture? No, it makes it a legal written document. So the word scripture in Hebrew means simply a written text. But what makes scripture scripture with a capital s uppercase? S I define Scripture in that sense as an authoritative text deemed by the community to be canonical. That is enforced for all, presumably because it somehow originated with God. That makes it scripture. This is how Paul uses the word, the Greek word.


[00:02:28] And second, Timothy 316. From a childhood you've been acquainted with a sacred writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture. Pastor Graff. Faith is breathed out by God, and that's what makes it useful. Effective for teaching reproof, for correction, for training and righteousness. And it transforms us into people who do every good work. It is the living Word of God that brings us alive. By this definition, we can view the Decalogue as Israel's first Scripture. An authoritative canonical text, not because the tablets of stone were breathed out by God, but the words on the tablets were spoken by God. First they heard this at Mount Sinai and then he committed them to writing. So that the Decalogue you call it Ten Commandments, I call the Decalogue. You hear that? The Greeks got it right. Decalogue are some ten words. Now, of course, that doesn't mean ten little lexicons. It means ten statements, ten principles, in this case, ten statements concerning the covenant relationship. But the Decalogue was Israel's first scripture, as far as we know. And it was a short document. Deuteronomy 413 Moses refers to the original copies at Horeb. He declared to you his covenant, that is, he commanded you to put into practice the ten words, and he wrote them on to stone tablets. Now, this is this is not God merely inspiring a human author to write. God writes. And several times you have He writes with his own finger. Now, does God have fingers? But of course, that's a it's a metaphor, isn't it? But it is divinely produced text. Now, in the book of Deuteronomy, we have to ask ourselves, apart from these tablets of stone written by the finger of God, what other sorts of scriptures do we have? There is one other place where we have a reference to something like this, and that's first Chronicles 28.


[00:04:51] David gave Solomon his son the plan of the vestibule, of the temple and of its houses, its treasuries, its upper rooms, its inner chambers. All this, David said all this. He made clear to me in writing from the hand of Yahweh, all the work to be done according to the plan. Did you know this was in the Bible? David got a written plan written by God's own finger for the temple. You thought it was David Stempel? No, it's not. It's God's temple. It's God's temple. And David received a written copy of how that thing was supposed to be built. That's the only other place where you have this notion in Deuteronomy ten four. Moses recognized the duplicate copies of the Scripture in the same sense. He wrote on the tablets, you know, after Moses smashed them. Now we got to get new tablets. What are we going to do? He rolled on the two tablets that Moses has brought up the mountain in the same text script as before. The ten words that the Lord had spoken on the mountain. So now we've got a duplicate copy of the original scripture. New copies and they're put into the Ark of the Covenant. And then I turn, came down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark. And there they are. And just as the Lord came at me when Moses recited the Decalogue in Deuteronomy five, we'll hear this tomorrow when he recited the Decalogue in front of the whole population. He wasn't reading. Off the stone tablets. No one has access to them. They're in the holy of holies in the Ark of the Covenant, stuck there only for God to see. We'll talk about that some more later. He was he must have been reciting and the differences between the Exodus version and the Deuteronomy version would reaffirm this.


[00:06:53] Well, God breathed in the Decalogue. He breathed by speaking. And then in a sense, he transcribed his own breath onto tablets of stone, and that produced these scriptures. Then what sense is Deuteronomy scripture? Well, here we have to distinguish between the book as we have it, and the evidence we find in the book. Deuteronomy actually gives us more clues to how it was composed than any other book in the First Testament. That tells us more about how we got this here. Deuteronomy 31 nine 213 and 24 is critical. We already read this. Moses wrote this Torah and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the Ark of the Covenant. All the elders at the end of every seven years are to read it in front of the people in their hearing, assemble them. And then later on verse 24 and 27, when Moses had finished writing the words of this Torah in a scroll to the very end, Moses commanded the Levites who carried the Ark of the Covenant, take this scroll of the Torah, put it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, your God, that it may be therefore a witness against you. Indeed, I know how rebellious and stubborn you are. Look, every even today, while I am still alive with you, you've been rebellious against the Lord. How much more will this happen after I'm gone? And that's the thing that's hanging over his head. He said this. This is an iffy business here. So long as Moses has been there, he's been a restrainer on how people are behaving. And he's worried that as soon as I'm going to be gone, they'll go off the rails. Well, he gives them the Torah scroll to keep them on track so that his voice can continue to go with them wherever they go.


[00:08:46] Notice this Torah scroll is not put into the ark. That's beside the arc, which means it's in God's presence in a very real sense, or God is the guarantor of the document, and the Levites are the custodians of the document, but it has a different status than the Decalogue itself, because the Decalogue is inside the box and nobody ever opens that. And so but three details are clear. Moses transcribed the Torah. He has been proclaiming, you know, it's different from some of us these days where you can't control what people are going to do with your words. When I am preaching, I write out my whole sermon in manuscript before I preach it, so I don't say something stupid that somebody else is going to. They they interpret the words I'm using in their own way, and then you lose control over what you've said and you say all kinds of offensive things. Well, Moses transcribed the Torah that he'd been proclaiming. He preached it first and then he wrote it. Rather than the reverse. Second, Moses recognized the Leviticus priests as a custodians of the written document. He handed them to the priests and he tells them every seven years at the Festival of Books, read this to the people. They are custodians and guardians. And three, the written document was recognized as canonical and authoritative. From the beginning, Moses knew he was writing scripture. Did you get a. Paul is very conscious. Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, writing to the Saints. He knows he is writing as the vassal, as the agent of God, the spokesperson for God. He is writing God's message to the churches. He is very conscious of his own inspiration. Moses is equally so. He knows he's right.


[00:10:47] Moses prescribed good to be read regularly every seven years at the Festival of so-called Boost in the Assembly. That scripture its authority authoritative for everybody, so that within a person's own lifetime you would hear the whole Torah read at least seven times. As you come for covenant, renewal, worship. Second, Moses had the Levites place, the Torah scroll next to the Ark of the Covenant, recognizing the one enthroned there to be a witness to the covenant to which the Israelites had bound themselves. Moses appealed to the heavens and the earth as witnesses. They heard what the people signed on to, and they also actually saw Moses writing this document, their witnesses. Moses declared the document itself to be a witness to the people's future performance. Other evidence of its canonical status. Moses invoked a curse on any who would add to the text or subtracted. Here's chapter four Vas two. He says, you know, he's still he's still talking about what he's talking. Not the written text, but he says to the people, You shall not add to the word that I command you nor take from it that you may keep the commands that you offer. Your God has that I command you. That which I command you is the command of God. You do not have the right to add to it or subtract everything. He says the same thing in 1232. Every word that I command you. You shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or subtracted from it. Well, you've heard that before. Somewhere in the Bible. Of course, you have Revelation 2218. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If anyone adds to them, God will add to them the plagues described the.


[00:12:40] That is what we call the covenant curses. You don't tinker with God's text. With scripture. We this is a very common ancient near Eastern practice where people will invoke oaths, curses on people who will tamper with their texts, plagiarize. And you know, what would happen is a king would encounter an inscription of his predecessors accomplishments. What he would do is chip away, cut out that guy's name, and insert his own. It's what they do or they would hear as our Haddin, whoever changes, disregards, transgresses or erases the also this tablet or disregards the treaty and transgresses its of may the guardians of this treaty tablet assure the King of the gods of the great gods. And then after that, there's a whole bunch of curses. Damn you, if you are tinker with the text. Or the ending to the era epic, A fascinating literary text covered L.A. Marduk, an eighth century B.C. scribe who takes credit for transcribing the Babylonian poem. At the end, he adds, some God revealed it to him in the middle of the night, and when he recited it upon waking, he did not leave anything missing, nor add a single word to it. You thought that inspiration was a uniquely biblical concept? It ain't. Other peoples had the notion of inspiration by which gods talked to people and told them what to say and write. So inspiration is not uniquely biblical, the notion. But this text reminds us that this guy who wrote down the text claims to be absolutely true to what he had been revealed to him. That's you don't tinker with it. Moses declared that the Torah was the key to life. We saw this before, but we'll come back to it. The Lord commanded us to put into practice all these ordinances by fearing the Lord for our good, always to sustain our life.


[00:14:59] This is absolute. And this is the opposite of to kill us. The law kills the spirit makes a lot. No. Here, he says, the law gave us these stipulations ordinances that we might live. He's talking about Scripture. This is canon, the formula for life. Read that. They may hear that. They may learn that. They may fear that they may obey. That they may live. This is an empowered text. But how did the Torah gain this life giving power? How can he say this? There are a couple of clues. First, he talks about in his own words. Chapter one, Verse three mode. The narrator says Moses spoke to the Israelites, just as Yahweh had commanded him to speak. So the author recognizes Moses isn't speaking on his own. Somebody is giving him the words four or five. Now Moses is talking. Look, I have taught you ordinances and stipulations as Yahweh. My God commanded me that you may do them in the land that you're entering to possess. What I am teaching you is what God has told me to teach you. A second clue to his sense of status as a prophet from the Lord and raised up the Lord will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. This is chapter 18. You must listen to him. This is what you requested from your father, your God at Horeb, on the day of the assembly, when you said, Let's not go. Continue to hear the voice of the Lord, our God, or see this great fire any longer, or we die. This was their response. Stop it, Moses. You be the lightning rod. If we continue this, this direct encounter with God, we're all dead. You go do it.


[00:17:00] Let God talk to you. And. And the interesting thing is, in Deuteronomy, Moses, the Lord Moses reports that the Lord said you were right in that response. Then in verse 18, I will raise up a prophet. I will put my words. This is what prophecy works. I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything. I command him. That's what our prophet does. As Moses is speaking, it is God putting the words into his mouth. And what he wrote down later was what God told him to say. That makes it scripture. Clue number three. The Lord's earlier public installation of Moses as his mediator of Revelation. Again, back to that event at Horeb Sinai. When you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, well, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leaders of your tribes and your elders approached me and you said, Look, Yahweh, our God has shown us his glory and his greatness and his voice. We've heard from the midst of the fire. Today we've seen that God speaks with human beings. But amazingly, we're still alive. How did that happen? We survived, but hey, we can't bank on it. If this continues, we're sure to be dead meat. Moses, you go talk to him. Why should we die? The Great Firewall consumers, if you. If we continue to hear the voice of Yahweh, our God will die. For who among all physical beings is there? Who's heard the voice of the living God speaking from the fire as we have and survived. So you go, you hear all the word, you hear everything that God says. Then you tell us everything that the Lord, our God tells you and we will hear and we will act, as you say.


[00:18:51] So they are accepting Moses reports of divine speech as God's speech to them, and that makes what He writes as Scripture. God says That's a good idea. And he they they operate under this new system. That was, incidentally, the moment of Moses prophetic installation. This is after he'd brought them out of the out of Egypt to the point of getting to Sinai. Moses had not given revealed much of what God was thinking to the people. He was the agent holding the staff when they crossed the Red Sea and and they crossed right through the waters. He was there as God's agent of redemption, but he was not yet a prophetic spokesman. That happened at this moment. Well, but what was the Torah of which Moses spoke? It cannot have been the book of Deuteronomy. Now we're making very important distinctions. I said earlier on, and evangelical hermeneutic doesn't let us make the scriptures say more than they do, but it forces us to say to listen to all that they actually say. Well, Moses didn't write the Prolog 112, five. He talks about Moses in the third person. Moses didn't write the Epilog, did he? I suppose God could have revealed how he would died to him. And then he wrote it here. But that's not a necessary interpretation. In the ancient world, a document as authoritative as the written Torah of Moses, you could in fact attach introductions to it and conclusions to it, and they would be deemed as much part of the original text as the rest. And that's what happens here. But there are other instances, statements in the book of Deuteronomy that obviously cannot have been written by Moses. We call these post Mosaic insertions after Moses. Look at chapter two, verse 10 to 12.


[00:21:17] This is your favorite Bible verse. I'm sure I've never heard a sermon on this text. The mics live there formally are people as great, numerous and tall as the anecdotes. Like the anecdotes. They are also regarded as refined, but more by its call them myths. The Horowitz formerly lived in sear, but the sons of each are dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place. But look at the last sentence I have italicized. Just as Israel did to the land of their possession that Lord gave them. Really? What's the tense of the verbs? It's past tense. It's past tense. So there are four or five of these parenthetical comments that somebody else put inserted into Moses speech. And you can tell they're post mosaic. Now, the author of the book is the one who put the book together as we have it. And so I don't think Moses is the one to put the My theory is when Joshua crossed the Jordan River, he had a briefcase. With all sorts of files. And in this set of files, he had one file with Moses, first address, another file with Moses, second address, all the third and fourth addresses and a file perhaps for the song that you call the song of Moses. The Bible doesn't. It's not the song of Moses. And then the benedictions. That's probably another file. I have a feeling that Joshua, across the river with a whole briefcase full of files. And these weren't the only ones. I think the Levites had been producing files all along. The records. Perhaps Dwayne Garrett talks about this some the records, perhaps, of the ancestors. The patriarchs may have been gathered by now. And we got files of those, too.


[00:23:08] But at some point, somebody put all of this together in a coherent book. I have no idea who I have an idea of it. It's in soft led pencil. I have a feeling it happened under under David's watch when faith in Israel was at its high point and David received the revelation for temple worship. And David was writing all kinds of songs and spiritual hymns and whatever else David was engaged in as an I with speculation. My thinking is somebody under David during David's time, maybe into Solomon's time, somebody was gathering the scriptural texts that we recognize and making them into coherent documents. No idea of the. But that's that's the best we can. The text doesn't say how the book of Deuteronomy was produced. It tells us how the sermons were committed to writing. But that's a different story. I mean, I've got baskets full of my sermon manuscripts, but they're all separate fragments. But, you know, and so that's that's as much as we can say about this. This was the document that King was to copy in the presence of the Leviticus priests. Chapter 17. We'll talk about this. When the king sits on his throne, he shall not multiply horses, women and silver and gold for himself, for himself, for himself. But this is what he shall do for himself. He shall write a copy of this Torah in the presence of the Leviticus priests. Why? In the presence of the vertical priests. Can't take her. They're the custodians of the Torah. And they are the ones who will watch whether he adds or subtracts. So he he cannot decide what is scripture for him. The guardians are there. And so he writes it. But this time it's for himself. The king does not read, does not make a copy of this to read to the people.


[00:25:26] This is important. The Levites will read it to the people. The individual Israelites will never have their own copies of the Bible. You can't produce scripture like this. They don't have printing presses and whatever else. And people aren't probably aren't literate. But the assumption is the king has access to the Torah, Torah scrolls, and he is to make himself a copy, and it is to be with him as his companion. All the days of his life. He's to read it for himself. Very important because he is to view himself as the embodiment of what the scriptures teach. He doesn't read it to teach the people. He reads it to live it so that the people can say, I want to be like Mike. That's the ideal. That's the paradigm. I want to be. Exactly. And the king needs to know that his first obligation is to embody the covenant principles that God has established here. That is what Levi created for others. But the King reads, Read it for himself. Now, minimally, this document will have contained the entire third address. But I think it also included the first address. The second address, The third address and the fourth address. I think all of these were part of what Moses produced and left with Joshua. It's interesting when you get to the Book of Joshua, it opens with Moses. My servant is dead now. Then God has a commission for Joshua, and he says to Joshua, You this this book of the Torah shall not depart from you all the days of your life. You shall meditate on it and whatever else knows. At that point, Joshua is being cast in the role of the King. Joshua is not to read the Torah scroll for the people.


[00:27:33] He's to read it for himself so that Joshua, the leader, stays on track. And of Joshua is on track, then there's hope for for the nation. So it's a very personal thing at that point in fulfillment of this. And so when Psalm one Blessed is a man who walk up not in the Council of the Garden or sit up in the seat of the sun, the standard the way is, but his delight is in the Torah of the Lord. That's not risen to every Israelite. That is written to the king as the mortal Israelite. Bruce Walker is very right in that the whole Psalter is a very royal document and you get it right there. This guy is no ordinary citizen. He sits in the in the assembly and whatever else he is. It is a way of ensuring that the coming king is prepared spiritually. And he reads the Torah. And at this point, the Torah is not the Psalter. This is not instruction on how to read the songs. This is instruction in how to read Deuteronomy. This is important. If Deuteronomy is not our scripture, we have no business claiming the Psalter. I used to be a Gideon. I taught school for two years and there we could do. We could be Gideon's. As soon as you're ordained and you're involved in a formal ministry, they take that away from you. But we used to give New Testaments with. With the Psalms and the Proverbs as appendices. That is so wrong. It is so wrong. If you're going to pick one text from the first test and two to put in there to be sure the people get it should be Deuteronomy. It should be. It's the only word that is declared to be scripture and and and with instructions on how and when to use it.


[00:29:29] That's what should be there. We should start there. And this is why Deuteronomy is Jesus favorite book. He quotes more and alludes more often to the book of Deuteronomy than any other book. And so this is what the Kings were to rule by. Conclusions. This document of the Torah appears to have been a transcript of Moses farewell addresses, probably on separate scrolls. Later, Moses transcribed the National Anthem of the Lord's People. Chapter 32. It's called The Song of Moses. But in what sense is it the Song of Moses? Moses didn't compose Chapter 32. The Lord says to Moses and Joshua, come to the tender meeting, and then he dictates to them the song. So if anything, it's the song of Yahweh. Because it's about his responses to Israel's future. So that's chapter three. But he commits it to writing, and then he teaches it to the people. And it probably included also the tribal benedictions, which appear at the end that he gives to the the ten the 12 tribes as he's I think as he's climbing the mountain for his demise. Usually demise is thought of in terms of going down, but he's going up to Mount Nebo to be to die. God commands him go up to go up the mountain and die there. That's a strange command. But he goes up the mountain and as he's going up, I can imagine he is turning around and he sees the Israelites camped according to the tribal entities. Which is still in force at this point. And then he has an a a prayer of blessing for each of the tribes. And I'm assuming that somebody was there to pick that up with a with a mic and and transcribe it into text and that they're preserved as a final stage of composition long after the death of Moses and after the Israelites have had considerable succession of prophets.


[00:31:37] Remember, at the end of the book, it says, There's not been a prophet like this since Moses. Well, that assumes that we've had a few profits. In the Book of Judges. We got some profits in the books of Sam. You've had Samuel, you have Nathan Gadd, whatever. We've had a few prophets, but there's not been one like Moses. He's exceptional. It seems it's after that time. But who was this person? I don't know who put the book of Deuteronomy together. I am convinced that he is the same person who put the stories of the patriarchs together. In Genesis. I have an essay on that actually. And because when I read Genesis 1126, the beginning of Abraham's story through 35, which is when they're headed for Egypt, there are echoes of Deuteronomy everywhere. And so I think the author of the Book of Genesis, the patriarchal story, has already been steeped in the Torah of Moses. So that's what I see there. And of course, the only thing left in this whole production of Deuteronomy is a scripture is its transmission as a complete book. But this is a matter now of copying the text and updating the text. When you look at the Hebrew of Deuteronomy, it's scarcely the Hebrew of 1300 B.C.. We have text from about that early fragmentary texts. We have the poems in Deuteronomy, which everybody recognize of archaic Hebrew language. Poetry is often in archaic speech. Chapter 32 and 33 Archaic. Exodus 15 is archaic Hebrew language. In fact, the question is if if Moses and Jeremiah had ever met, would they be able to have a conversation? I'd be surprised. Language changes. While the grammar may remain fairly static, but verbal speech. I mean, we lived for 1010 months.


[00:33:58] Well, two months. We did German language school in Zola up in Saxony, which is where they speak. What's the closest to official high German? Of the radio Up in Saxony. But then I was at the University of Heilongjiang in Bavaria. And when those Germans were talking German, I couldn't understand a thing they said. On paper it's the same. But the Bavarian dialect is so weird, so strange. They must pronounce or pronounce all sorts of things differently. And. Could Moses have had a conversation with Esther? Could he have talked to Hosea? They probably could have read his text, but I don't. But the interesting thing is, when you read the Hebrew of Deuteronomy, the closest other texts to the style of the Hebrew is Jeremiah. Who is 600 B.C.. 600 B.C.. Which is 800 years or 700 years after the life of Moses. What's happened? And Ken Kitchen, I think, is quite right. And he says, we've been producing NL teas or knives all the way along. There's no point in having an archaic text that nobody. Nobody speaks that way. The Bible was written in ordinary English novels, written in ordinary Hebrew at the time of its composition. God spoke at Sinai in language that people understood. But over time it changes. And what somebody has been doing is tinkering with all this is not adding or subtracting. It is making it alive. The new living so that for every generation it it rings true. Well, the book of Deuteronomy is the heart of the Pentateuch. This was the document David charged Solomon to read. This was the scroll that Josiah's men found in the temple about 622 B.C. That was not the whole Pentateuch. That was Deuteronomy. This was a scroll of the Torah of Moses that Ezra read before the returned exiles.


[00:36:07] Nehemiah eight one. It's interesting in that one it's connected with a festival of booths, that event. And. He read from nine till noon. 3 hours. That's about how long it takes you to read Deuteronomy. But you can't read the whole Pentateuch in that time. No, I think that's what he was at that point. These were still separate scrolls. Yes. The the text is a continuous narrative. But for the sake of convenience, we've got five scrolls. Interestingly, the Pentateuch, which means five books, one continuous document, so that it that the book of Leviticus is deliberately constructed at the beginning so that it follows Exodus and Exodus Genesis and all the way through. This is one continuous document, in fact, from Exodus one to the end of Deuteronomy. Some people call this the biography of Moses. It is one continuous story, but it's on five scrolls because it's too big. You can't carry around a scroll that big. But the interesting thing is it consists of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, numbers. But what do they call it? They call it the Torah. Now, we would have expected them to call it gender says, because other in other instances you have collections of books named by the first book in the collection. So that Jesus talks about the prophets and the Psalms. And the Torah Psalms. Well, there is a certain canonical tradition where the Psalter is at the front end of that middle section of the Bible they call the writings. Well, there is a place in New Testament where and a quotation is ascribed to Jeremiah, but comes from Zachariah. Well, there is a tradition of the canonical tradition in which Jeremiah because it's the biggest of the prophetic books in terms of word count probably Jeremiah or my theory is because it is the most Deuteronomy it.


[00:38:35] But then I'm biased and all of these things. I see dogmas as I see Deuteronomy everywhere, but I actually do. But we this whole thing should be called Genesis. But it's not. It's called Torah, but I think it's from the perspective of the guy. The most recent revelation from God is formal revelation is in the form of the Torah, and this provides us the lens through which then we read everything as back story to the Torah. So that's how I interpret it. The Pentateuch is the Torah. Now, when you get to the book of that, when you get to the New Testament, you always have to ask yourself, what does enormous mean? Does not almost mean the Pentateuch. Does it mean Deuteronomy? Does it mean the actual speeches of Moses in Deuteronomy? Does it mean law in general? Does it mean a particular law? You always have to ask those questions. And this may help as well. In short, this book provides a theological base for virtually the entire first, a New Testament and the paradigm for much of its literary style. And we talk about the Deuteronomy stick historiography in the Bible. Joshua Judges. Samuel Kings If you haven't read Deuteronomy, you don't get it. Because this is history written through and interpreted through the lens of Moses. The author has been to seminary, where the textbook was Deuteronomy. And the prophets are that way. Jeremiah So Deuteronomy. Josiah So Deuteronomy Well, may we in our day rediscover in the book of Deuteronomy, the divinely breathed hands living and transforming Scripture, of which the New Testament Moses, the Apostle Paul spoke in second. Timothy 316 May we find it to be a sure and effective instrument for teaching, reproof, correction, training and righteousness in equipping for every good work.


[00:40:46] And I think it's at this point, I should have put that slide of Jesus passing the scroll to Paul, because to Jesus, the scroll of Deuteronomy was the most important of most. Apparently it's the base. It is the the lens through which all of biblical revelation passes. All right. That's it for me. Okay. I have a question is on. You made a comment as almost an aside, but I can I can hear people wincing. Yes. Let's say Psalm one is the royal some. Does it can we use it at a personal level as well? Not just for the king. I am glad you asked that because the the and the short answer to that is yes, because and we'll talk about this when we get to chapter 17 in our discussion. The king is is to be viewed as the ideal Israelite and the Levites are to be teaching the Torah to the people regularly. I think that's what the vertical cities are about. It's to do the seminars for teaching them Torah so that just as the king is a moral covenant lay righteous person, the people are to find their inspiration in him. But the assumption cannot be that they had their own copies of the Torah. How would they know the Torah? They know the Torah by watching their King act, but they know the Torah also through the work of the Levites, whom God commissioned as their teachers of Torah. Chapter 33. That's very clear. So, yes, the King is to be the one in whose steps all the subjects should be walking. And so it does apply to all of us, not because it is addressed to us, but the message that applies to the king applies to all of the King citizens.


[00:42:51] Yeah, good question.