The book of Deuteronomy is organized as a series of addresses given by Moses to the people of Israel in the land of Moab, where they had stopped at the end of the long wilderness journey and were about to enter and occupy Canaan.
Some of the most important matters recorded in the book are as follows: 1) Moses recalls the great events of the past forty years. He appeals to the people to remember how God has led them through the wilderness and to be obedient and loyal to God. 2) Moses reviews the Ten Commandments and emphasizes the meaning of the First Commandment, calling the people to devotion to the Lord alone. Then he reviews the various laws that are to govern Israel's life in the promised land. 3) Moses reminds the people of the meaning of God's covenant with them, and calls for them to renew their commitment to its obligations. 4) Joshua is commissioned as the next leader of God's people. After singing a song celebrating God's faithfulness, and pronouncing a blessing on the tribes of Israel, Moses dies in Moab, east of the Jordan River.
The great theme of the book is that God has saved and blessed his chosen people, whom he loves; so his people are to remember this, and love and obey him, so that they may have life and continued blessing.
The key verses of the book are 6.4-6, and contain the words that Jesus called the greatest of all commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
Outline of Contents
Moses' first discourse (1.1—4.49)
Moses' second discourse (5.1—26.19)
a. The Ten Commandments (5.1—10.22)
b. Laws, rules, and warnings (11.1—26.19)
Instructions for entering Canaan (27.1—28.68)
The covenant renewed (29.1—30.20)
Moses' last words (31.1—33.29)
The death of Moses (34.1-12)
Shortly before Moses died, he gave three farewell speeches. In them he reviewed the many laws God had given the Israelites. This book gets its name, which means “second law,” from this review. Deuteronomy includes many succinct and beautiful summaries of God's commands to love one another and to care for the poor.