Welcome Back to the Bible Blog!
Woo Hoo! Book 5!!! We’re almost through the first 5 books of the Bible, called the Pentateuch (pentateuch actually means ‘five books’). So this week it is Deuteronomy.
What does that word mean? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Beuller? Beuller?…
Oops… showing my age.
Anyway, the word deuteronomy is not exactly an everyday word. It surely isn’t as common as numbers and, although a little more difficult, leviticus is at least possible to figure out if you consider that the Levites were the tribe chosen to serve God as priests.
So what does deuteronomy mean? Well it took me years to learn this (or maybe to ask the question), but it’s name actually makes a lot of sense. The word is Greek. Deutero meaning “second” and nomos meaning “law”, this book is essentially entitled, “Second Law” or “The Law a Second Time”.
As we read the Pentateuch we see Israel (formed and described in Genesis) being lead out of Egypt (Exodus) with the promise of a land all their own, The Promised Land. However Israel rebels (several times) and God finally rules that the adult generation (all those 20 or older) will not enter the Promised Land (Leviticus). They will wander the wilderness until their children are old enough to inherit it. The children will enter the Promised Land, but not their parents.
In Leviticus we learn of the Law that the Levites will be in charge of keeping before God (in fact all of Israel must keep the Law, but only the Levites will serve God at the tabernacle).
In Numbers we see a census being taken of Israel, the establishment of the Levites as priests, the dedication of the Tabernacle, the exploration of Canaan by the 12 spies, and the subsequent rebellion of the people when 10 spies bring a negative report. The punishment makes, “going along with the crowd” a lesson we should all learn. Right?
So in the middle of Numbers (22-24) we have this weird story about a talking donkey (see last week’s blog) and a prophet-for-hire named Balaam. After King Balak (king of Moab) is unsuccessful enticing Balaam to curse Israel we find out (later in chapter 31) that Balaam gave the king some parting advice. Balaam advised that the Moabite women should seduce the Israelite men into turning against their God.
We read in chapter 25 that these women were successful and the Israelite men stirred up the wrath of God, perhaps for the last time. As a result 24,000 leaders were killed for this act of immorality and idolatry.
This represented the end of the “older generation”; those whom God had condemned to the wilderness and would not allow to enter the Promised Land.
So we see in Numbers 26 another census. This was to number those who would enter the Promised Land. We see later in Numbers 31 that the Israelites kill Balaam as they attack the kings of the Midianites.
So that pretty much brings us up to this week’s reading (Deut 1-16). This understanding of the word deuteronomy meaning, “second law” or “the law a second time” helps us understand that Moses is once again giving the Law to Israel (this time to the younger generation) as they prepare to enter the Promised Land. The Law is restated and expanded upon in this final book of the Pentateuch.
There are all kinds of things to mention in these chapters that I could go into for pages and pages.
However, I thought I’d simply mentioned a few of them and ask you to begin interacting with the Blog a little more. Feel free to comment on any of the following topics or ask your own questions on these or other passages!
- We see the theme of teaching the Scriptures to your children mentioned several times (4:9-10 and The Shema 6:4-9) followed by a promise that with obedience comes blessing
- A promise that even after we have rebelled, if we seek God with our whole heart we will find Him (4:29).
- Even though we can get caught up in the “letter of the law” Moses makes sure we realize that it is really all about the heart (8:2)
- God promises that one day He will send a ‘prophet’ like Moses (in other words, Jesus). [oops! That’s from today’s reading in chapter 18.]
So interact with us!
Make your comments!
Ask your questions!
Let’s make this a dialogue…
[Blog rules/protocol can be found on website…]