Moses' Farewell Addresses
Recounting of History
Rehearsal of Principal Laws
This book contains:
Prediction.of Prophet like unto Moses (18:15-19).
What Christ called The Greet Commandment (6:4).
Words Christ quoted to the Tempter (6:13, 16; 8:3).
Some of the world's Finest Eloquence
The word "Deuteronomy" means "Second Law," or "Repetition of the Law. In Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, laws had been promulgated, at intervals. Now, their wanderings over, on the eve, of entrance into Canaan, these laws were rehearsed and expounded. in
anticipation of, and with applications to, settled life.
Some passages, for genuine eloquence are unsurpassed in literature, even by Demosthenes, Cicero, Pitt or Webster.
Chapters 1, 2, 3. From Sinai to the Jodan
An epitome, in .retrospect, of Numbers 1-13. After one of the noblest and most heroic accomplishments of the ages, Moses' final appeal to God let him go over the Jordan, was denied (3:23-28), because God had something better for him, in a Better World.
Chapters 4, 5. Cling to God's Word
Very earnest. exhortations to Observe God's Commandments, to Teach them diligently to their Children, and to Shun Idolatry; with the ever-recurring that their Safety and Prosperity would depend on their Loyalty and Obedience to God.
The Ten Commandments (chapter 5) are also given in Exodus 20.
Chapter 6. The Great Commandment
"Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with All Thy Heart, with All Thy Soul, and whit All Thy Might" (5). This is repeated over and over (10:12; 11:1, 13, 22). And it was re-emphasized by Jesus (Matthew 22:37), and given First Place in his teaching.
For the perpetuation of God's Ideas among the people, they were not to depend on Public Instruction alone; but were to teach them diligently at Home (6-9). Because books were few and scattered, the people were to write certain important parts of the Law on their doorposts, and bind them on their arms and foreheads, and talk of them constantly.
Chapter 7. Canaanites and Idols to be Destroyed
No covenants or marriages to be made with them. This was necessary in order to save Israel from Idolatry and its Abominations.
Chapter 8. Wonders of the Wilderness Recalled
For 40 years they had been "proved" and fed with manna; "their raiment waxed not old, and their feet swelled not"; that they, might learn to Trust God, and Live by His Word (2-5).
Chapters 9,10. Israel's Persistent Rebellion
Three times over Israel is reminded that God's wondrous dealings with them was "not for their righteousness" (9:4, 5, 6). They had been a rebellious and stiffnecked people all the way.
Chapter 11. Blessings of Obedience
A great chapter. Like chapters 6 and 28, it is an appeal for Devotion to God's Word and Obedience to His Commandments as basis for National Prosperity, with wondrous Promises and ominous Warnings.
Chapters 12,13,14,15. Various Ordinances
All Idols to be Destroyed. Moses, reared in the hot-bed of Egypt-Idolatry, and surrounded all his life by Idol-Worshiping people, never compromised with Idolatry. And, as he repeatedly warned, Idolatry did turn out to be the Ruin of the nation.
"Rejoice": note how often the word is used (12:7, 12, 18; 14:26; 28:47). It is a favorite word in Psalms and Epistles.
Clean and Unclean Animals (14:1-21, see on Leviticus 11). Tithes (14:22-29), see on Leviticus 27). Sabbatic Year (15:1-11, see on Leviticus 25). Slavery (15:12-18, see on Leviticus 19). First-fruits (15:19-23, see on Leviticus 27).
Chapter 16. Set Feasts
Three times a year all males were required to appear before God: at the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles . Besides these were the Feasts of Trumpets, and Day of Atonement. These Feasts were designed to Keep God in the thought of the people, and to promote National Unity.
Passover. also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was kept in the spring on the day of the 1st month, lasting 7 days, as Memorial of their Deliverance our of Egypt.
Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks, or Harvest, or of First-Fruits, was kept on the 50th day after Passover, lasting 1 day.
Tabernacles, also called Feast of Ingathering, was, keep on,15th day of 7th month, 5 days after Day of Atonement, lasting 7 days
Feast of Trumpets, on the 1st day of the 7th month, ushered in the Civil Year (see on Numbers 28).
Day of Atonement, on 10th day of 7th month (see on Leviticus 16).
Chapter 17. Prediction of a King
God here prophesied it, with some instructions, and some warnings (14-20). The Kingdom came some 400 years later (see on 1 Samuel 8). Samuel told the people that, in asking for a king, they were rejecting God. This is not a contradiction.The fact that God force knew they would want a king is not saying that He approved their action; but only that He foreknew they would do it, and wanted to be consulted in their choice. In rejecting the Form of Government which God had given them, they were rejecting God. Note the instruction about Kings being lifelong Readers of God's Word ( 18-20). What a suggestion to present-day Rulers! Note too that Kings began right away to do what had said they should not do: multiply to themselves Wives, as Horses and Gold (16, 17; 1 Kings 10:14-29; 11:1-13)
Chapter 18. The Prophet Like unto Moses
This prediction (15-19) may have a secondary reference to the Prophetic order at large, that is, a succession of prophets, to be raised up for emergencies in Israel's history. Bur its language unmistakably points to One Illustrious Individual. THE MESSIAH. It is one of the Old Testament's most specific predictions of Christ. Jesus himself so
understood it (John 5:46). And so did Peter (Acts 3:22).
The Hebrew Nation was being founded of God as the medium through which one day Alt Nations would be Blessed. Here is an explicit statement that the System around which the Hebrew Nation was now being organized would Not be the System by which the Nation would Bless All Nations; but that it would be Superseded by Another System, given by Another prophet, which would contain God's Message to All Nations. Judaism to be superseded by Christianity.
Chapter 19. Cities of Refuge
For protection of those causing accidental deaths. Moses had already set aside three such cities east of the Jordan: Bezer, Ramoth and Golan (4:41-43). Later, Joshua set aside three west of the Jordan: Kadesh, Shechem and Hebron. All six were Levitical cities, included in the Levites' 48 cities (Numbers 35:6).
Chapter 20. Rules of Warfare
Those who had built a new house, or planted a new vineyard, or were newly married, or faint-hearted, were to be excused from military service. Canaanites were to be destroyed; food-bearing trees to be spared.
Chapters 21 to 26. Various Lows
In case of Unknown Murderer. Slave Wives. Polygamous Children. Rebellious Sons. Death to be by Hanging. Stray Animals. Lost Articles. Clothes of Men and Women to be Different. Setting Birds to be Spared. House-roofs to have Railings. About Farming and
Clothing Harlotry. Adultery. Rape. . Eunuchs. Bastards. Ammonites. Moabites, Edomites. Cleanliness in Camp. Treatment of Slave Refugees. Prostitutes. Sodomites. Harlots. Usury. Vows Divorce. Marriage. Pledges. Kidnapping. Leprosy. Wages. Justice for the Poor. Gleanings. 40 Stripes to be limit. Levirate Marriages. Interference in Stripes Diverse Weights and Measure. Amalekites. First-Fruits Tithes.
Chapter 27. The Low to be Recorded on Mt. Ebal
Joshua did this (Joshua 8:30-32). In an age when books were scarce it was a custom to record laws on stones, and set them up in various cities, so the people could know them. It was done in Egypt, and in Babylonia, as, for instance, the Code of Hammurabi.
Moses commanded Israel to do it first thing on arrival in Canaan. The stones were to be plastered with plaster, and the laws written thereon "very plainly."
Chapter 28. The Great Prophecy about the Jews
An amazing chapter. The Whole Future History of the Hebrew Nation is outlined. The Babylonian Captivity and Destruction by the Romans, is vividly pictured. The "eagle" (49), was the ensign of the Roman army. In both the Babylonian and Roman sieges of Jerusalem, men and women ate their own children for food (53-57). The Jews' Dispersion, Wandering Persecution. Trembling of Heat and Pining of Soul, even unto the present time, are all graphically Foretold.This 28th Chapter of Deuteronomy, placed alongside the History of the Hebrew Nation, constitutes one of the Most Astounding and Indisputable Evidences of the Divine Inspiration of the Bible. How else account for it?
Chapters 29, 3O. The Covenant, and Final Warnings
Moses' last words, as he envisions the fearful consequences of Apostasy: serve God, the Way of Life; serve Idols, Certain Death.
Chapter 31. Moses Wrote this Low in a Book
Moses, 40 years before, had written God's Words in a Book (Exodus 17:14; 24:4, 7). He had written a Diary of his Journeys (Numbers 33:2). Now, his Book completed, he handed it over to the Priests and Levites, with instruction, that it be Read Periodically to the people. The Constant Teaching of God's Written Word to the people is the safest and most effective way to guard against the corruption of their religion. When Israel gave heed to God's Word, they prospered. When they neglected it, they suffered adversity.
Reading of God's Book brought Josiah's Great Reformation (2 Kings 23). Likewise, Ezra's (Nehemiah 8). Likewise, Luther's. New Testament books were written to be Read in the Churches (1 Thessalonians 5:27; Colossians 4:16). God's Word itself is the Power of God in the human heart. O that the Present-Day Pulpit would some-how learn to keep itself in the background, with God's Word in the Foreground!
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE (EMB)
The Law had many historical roots:
(a) Many of the cult objects were in general use. The Tabernacle and the Ark have Egyptian antecedents in many details. Ras Shamra Tablets contain similar details.
(b) Much of the ritual was in earlier use. e.g. animal sacrifice. The trespass, peace, tribute, "wave" offerings, the first-fruits, shew-bread, etc. are details from the Ras Shamra Tablets, which cannot be proved imitations of the Mosaic ritual. Rather they betray a common origin (cf. Creation and Flood Tablets).
(c) Much of the social legislation can be paralleled from the Codes of Hammurabi and the Hittites.
Thus, in a sense, much of the Law is pre-Mosaic, in the same sense that much of the Lord's Prayer is pre-Christian. No originality in the narrow sense of the word is claimed for either.
a) Moses'code is the divinely sanctioned order for a theocracy.
b) Moses' code is more humane in its penology.
c) Moses'code contains none of the paganism of the earlier codes (e.g. Ras Shamra provisions for "seething a kid in its mother's milk").
d) Moses'code sets a higher value on human life and relates all to God, the love of God, and love for one's neighbor.
Chapter 32. The Song of Moses
After Moses had finished "writing the book," he composed a Song for the People to Sing. He had celebrated their deliverance from Egypt with a Sons (Exodus l5). He had written another, which is known as the 90th Psalm. Popular Songs ere among the best means of Writing Ideas on People's Hearts. Deborah and David poured out their souls to God in Song. The Church. from its inception till now, has used this same means of United Rhythmic Expression to perpetuate and spread the Ideas for which it stands.
Chapter 33. The Blessings of Moses
Wherein the Tribes are called by Name, with predictions about each; similar to Jacob's Blessing on his Sons (Genesis 49).
Chapter 34. Death of Moses
"At I20, his eye not dimmed, nor his natural force abated, the aged man climbed Mt. Pisgah, and, as he viewed the Promised Land, into which he longed to go, God gently lifted him into the Better Land. In a moment his soul had passed within the veil, and he was at home with God. God buried his body. Of his sepulchre no man knows. His remains were removed from all reach of idolatry."
The loftiest peak of Mt. Pisgah, 8 miles east of the mouth of the Jordan. The end of Motes' earthly journey. From its summit could be seen the hills of Judea and Galilee; and Mt. Carmel, where, Elijah, 500 years later, called down fire from heaven, and from which Elijah went to Mt. Sinai, where Moses had given the Law, and then to Mt. Pisgah, where Moses had died, as if he wanted to be with Moses in death. And then, from where Moses had died the angels come down, and bore Elijah away to join Moses in Glory.
At the Transfiguration of Jesus
From the top of Mt. Pisgah, could be seen, on a clear day, far to the north, the snow-capped summit of Mt. Hermon, where Jesus was Transfigured; and where Moses was again seen by mortal eyes, he. and Elijah, the two representatives of the Law and the Prophets, talking with Jesus of the work for which the Law and the Prophets had paved the way. And there Moses participated in the heavenly announcement that the time had come for the Dispensation which he had inaugurated to give place to that of the Greater Prophet whom he had foretold: that henceforth it would be, not the thunders of Sinai, but the "still small voice" of "Jesus only." Mt. Sinai, Mt. pisgah, Mt. Hermon. Moses, Elilah, Jesus.
Here closes the first fourth of the Old Testament (almost as large as the entire New Testament), all written by one man, Moses. What a man Moses must have been! How intimate'with God! What a work he did! What a benefactor to mankind! ,40 years in the Palace of Pharaoh. 40 years a refugee in Midian. 40 years leader of Israel in the wilderness. Delivered a nation of some 3,000,00O from servitude; transplanted them from one land to another; organized for them a system of jurisprudence that has been a fountain source of much of the world's civilization.
Winston Churchill's Opinion of Moses
"We reject with scorn all those learned and labored myths that Moses was but a legendary figure upon whom the priesthood and the people hung their essential social, moral and religious ordinances. We believe that the most scientific view, the most up-to-date and rational conception, will find its fullest satisfaction in taking the Bible story literally. We may be sure that all these things happened just as they are set our according to Holy Writ. We may believe that they happened to people not so very different from ourselves, and that the impressions those people received were faithfully recorded, and have been transmitted across the centuries with far more accuracy than many of the telegraphed accounts we read of goings on of today. In the words of a forgotten work of Mr. Gladstone, we rest with assurance upon 'The Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture.' Let men of science and learning expand their knowledge, and probe with their researches, every detail of the records which have been preserved to us from those dim ages. All they will do is to fortify the grand simplicity and essential accuracy of these recorded truths which have so far lighted the pilgrimage of man."