The book of Deuteronomy is comprised of three sermons delivered by Moses in the last month of his life. Just before he died, he delivered laws of love to govern the Israelites. The glory of the gospel is on every page and the cross is demanded in every chapter. God requires perfect obedience, holiness, and justice, which are only found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is provided as our substitute. Jesus Christ, who kept every law, imputed His obedience to unworthy sinners.
A broad range of issues are covered in the book of Deuteronomy. You will find lessons in leadership in chapter 1:9–18, responsibility for community in chapter 3:12–33, education by parents in chapter 4:9–10, poverty, homelessness, debt, drug abuse, honesty in business, management of money, welfare, personal hygiene, marriage, sexuality, conservation, care of the elderly, human rights, child abuse, injustice, dangers of the occult, and the safety of your house.
In Deuteronomy, God is glorifying Himself through heartfelt obedience to His laws, so that He might demonstrate His superior goodness in the salvation sinners, the damnation of the wicked, and for the preservation of His people, both for His eternal glory, and their eternal joy.
The clear and consistent teaching of Scripture is that Moses wrote the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). For more information on Pentateuchal authorship, see the authorship section for Genesis.
Most of Deuteronomy was written in 1445–1405 B.C., during the last 39 days of Moses’ life. Joshua probably completed the book sometime between Moses’ death and his own death (no later than 1405 B.C.).
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”
“Now see that I, even I, am He,
And there is no God besides Me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.”
A Prophet like Moses
In Deuteronomy 18:15–19, Moses told the children of Israel about a coming Prophet like himself: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.” The Apostle Peter saw the fulfillment of this prophecy in Jesus (Acts 3:19–23).
The Requirements of the Law
Our need for atonement is demonstrated on every page of Deuteronomy since no one has ever been able to keep the commandments perfectly. Deuteronomy requires perfect obedience, perfect holiness, and perfect justice – requirements that only Jesus Christ was able to perform.
What does the word “Deuteronomy” mean?
What is the central verse of Deuteronomy?
“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deut. 5:29).
What is the theme of Deuteronomy?
Heartfelt obedience to the Law of God.
How does Moses summarize the Law of God in Deuteronomy 10?
Fear the Lord, walk in all His ways, love Him, serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and keep His commandments and statutes (Deut. 10:12–13).
Why did the Lord drive out the nations before the Israelites?
To punish them for their wickedness and to fulfill the word which He swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deut. 9:4–5).
How many witnesses were required to put someone to death?
Two or three witnesses (Deut. 17:6).
Why didn’t the Levites receive a portion of the inheritance?
Because the Lord was their inheritance (Deut. 18:1–2).
What does the Lord think about those who practice witchcraft?
They are an abomination to Him (Deut. 18:10–12).
What is the proper method for determining whether someone is a false prophet?
If his prediction does not come to pass, then he is a false prophet (Deut. 18:20–22).
What kinds of men were exempt from going to war?
What was the punishment for stubborn and rebellious sons?
Death by stoning (Deut. 21:18–21).
What was an Israelite supposed to do if he saw his brother’s animal going astray?
Return it to his brother, or keep it at his own house until his brother came looking for it (Deut. 22:1–3).
What restrictions does God place on the way men and women dress?
A woman should not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor should a man put on a woman’s garment (Deut. 22:5).
What was a man prohibited from doing in his first year of marriage?
He was not allowed to go out to war or be charged with any business (Deut. 24:5).
How often were the priests supposed to read the Law to the people?
Every seven years (Deut. 31:10–11).
What did Moses tell the Israelites to command their children?
To be careful to observe all the words of God’s law (Deut. 32:45–46).
What did God show Moses right before he died?
The Promised Land (Deut. 34:1–4).
How old was Moses when he wrote Deuteronomy?
One hundred and twenty years old (Deut. 34:7).
What was unique about Moses’ relationship with God?
God knew him “face to face” (Deut. 34:10).