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Home » OT » Law » Deuteronomy

Last updated Mar 8, 2024
The law is repeated, and the new generation makes a covenant with God


In Moab, on the border of Canaan (c. 1405 BC)

Key verse

"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess." 30:15-16
Table of Contents

When the Book of Numbers ends, the Israelites have come to the border of Canaan, and there is now a pause in the action of the Book of Deuteronomy. The book consists of four speeches by Moses, which we can also see as one long speech that he gives just before they are to enter the land. He repeats much of the law that has been given from Exodus to Numbers for the new generation that has grown up in the desert. Deuteronomy is a covenant document because this second generation must renew the covenant God made with their parents in Exodus.

Although many of the laws are repeated, more justification is often given for them here than before, and thus we see more of God’s heart behind the law. We also see that He is still faithful, even though the first generation was not. Moses encourages the new generation to keep the law after they enter the land (e.g., 30:19-20). He speaks to them as if they were personally present at Mount Sinai (always called “Horeb” in Deuteronomy) when the previous generation received the law. He does this because it is the same people, and they envisioned that all later generations were, in a sense, present when the law was given. This is how the covenant is kept alive in every generation.

Some recurring expressions:

“The land he promised on oath to our ancestors” (v. 6:23) or similar expressions are often mentioned, as the next step is precisely for them to enter and obtain this land.

“The place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name” (v. 14:23) is also repeated several times. The Tabernacle was not to be mobile forever but was to stand in one place. Eventually, this became Jerusalem, but before that it stayed long in Shiloh, where it is set up in the Book of Judges.

Jesus in Deuteronomy:

The “prophet” (18:15-19): John 6:14, Acts 3:22-26 and Matthew 17:5.

21:22-23: “Anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse” → Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal 3:13).

30:11-14 in Rom 10:6-9: Faith in Jesus includes keeping the law since Jesus fulfilled it.