The Book of Deuteronomy in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

("repetition of the law".) Containing Moses' three last discourses before his death, addressed to all Israel in the Moabite plains E. of Jordan, in the eleventh month of the last year of their wanderings, the fortieth after their departure from Egypt; with the solemn appointment of his successor Joshua, Moses' song, blessing, and the account of his death subjoined by Joshua or some prophet (Deuteronomy 1:1 - 4:40; Deuteronomy 5:1 - 26:19; Deuteronomy 27:1 - 29:29). The first is introductory, reminding Israel of God's protection and of their ungrateful rebellion, punished by the long wandering; and warning them henceforth to obey and not lose the blessing. The second discourse begins with the Ten Commandments, the basis of the law, and develops and applies the first table; next declares special statutes as to: (1) religion, (2) administration of justice and public officers, (3) private and social duties. The third discourse renews the covenant, reciting the blessings and curses. The discourses must have been all spoken in the eleventh month; for on the tenth day of the 41st year Jordan was crossed (Joshua 4:19). Joshua 1:11; Joshua 2:22, three days previous were spent in preparations and waiting for the spies; so the encampment at Shittim was on the seventh day (Joshua 2:1). Thirty days before were spent in mourning for Moses (Deuteronomy 34:8); so that Moses' death would be on the seventh day of the twelfth month, and Moses began his address the first day of the eleventh month, fortieth year (Deuteronomy 1:3). Hence, the discourses, being delivered about the same time, exhibit marked unity of style, inconsistent with their being composed at distant intervals. The style throughout is hortatory, rhetorical, and impressive. A different generation had sprung up from that to which the law at Sinai had been addressed. Parts of it had been unavoidably in abeyance in the wilderness. Circumcision itself had been omitted (Joshua 5:2). Now when Israel was to enter Canaan, their permanent abode, they needed to be reminded of much of the law which they but partially knew or applied, and to have under divine sanction, besides the religious ordinances of the previous books, supplementary enactments, civil and political, for their settled organization. Thus, Deuteronomy is not a mere summary recapitulation, for large parts of the previous code are unnoticed, but Moses' inspired elucidation of the spirit and end of the law. In it he appears as "the prophet," as in the previous books he was the historian and legislator. Two passages especially exhibit him in this character...

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