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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(in Heb. the title is taken, like most of the other books, from the initial words, הִדְּבָרַים אֵלֶּה, "These are the words," or simply דְּבָרַים, "Words;" in the Sept. Δευτερονόμιον, second law, as being a repetition of the Law; Vulg. Deuteronium: called also by the later Jews מַשְׁנֵה הִתּוֹרָה, duplicate of the Law, and סֵפֶר תּוֹכָהוֹת, book of admonitions), the fifth book of Moses, or the last of the Pentateucho It gives an account of the sublime and dignified manner in which Moses terminated that work, the accomplishment of which was his peculiar mission, and intersperses several additional items of history in the recapitulation of his public career. It forms a sacred legacy which he here bequeathed to his people, and very different from those laws which he had announced to them at Sinai. The tone of the law falls here considerably in the background, and the subjectivity (individuality) of the Lawgiver, and his peculiar relation to his people, stand out more prominently. A thoroughly sublime and prophetic spirit pervades all its speeches from beginning to end. The thoughts of the man of God are entirely taken up with the inward concerns of his people, their relations, future fate, and eventful vicissitudes. The Lawgiver here stands amid Israel, warning and consoling, commanding and exhorting, surveying and proclaiming the future with marvelous discernment.
I. Contents. — The book consists chiefly of three discourses delivered by Moses shortly before his death They were spoken to all Israel in the plains of Moab, on the eastern side of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 1:1), in the eleventh month of the last year of their wanderings, the fortieth year after their exodus from Egypt (Deuteronomy 1:3). Subjoined to these discourses are the Song of Moses, the Blessing of Moses, and the story of his death.
1. The first Discourse (Deuteronomy 1:1-4). — After a brief historical introduction (Deuteronomy 1:1-5), the speaker recapitulates the chief events of the past forty years in the wilderness, and especially those events which had the most immediate bearing on the entry of the people into the promised land. He enumerates the contests in which they had been engaged with the various tribes who came in their way, and in which their success had always depended upon their obedience; and reminds them of the exclusion from the promised land, first of the former generation because they had been disobedient in the matter of the spies, and next of himself, with whom the Lord was wroth for their sakes (Deuteronomy 3:26). On the appeal to the witness of this past history is then based an earnest and powerful exhortation to obedience; and especially a warning against idolatry as that which had brought God's judgment upon them in times past (Deuteronomy 4:3), and would yet bring sorer punishment in the future (Deuteronomy 4:26-28). To this discourse is appended a brief notice of the severing of the three cities of refuge on the east side of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 4:41-43).
2. The second Discourse is introduced, like the first, by an explanation of the circumstances under which it was delivered (Deuteronomy 4:44-49). It extends from Deuteronomy 5:1, to Deuteronomy 26:19, and contains a recapitulation, with some modifications and additions, of the Law already given on Mount Sinai. Yet it is no bare recapitulation or naked enactment, but every word shows the heart of the lawgiver full at once of zeal for God and of the most fervent desire for the welfare of his nation. It is the father no less than the legislator who speaks; and while obedience and life are throughout bound up together, it is the obedience of a loving heart, not a service of formal constraint which is the burden of his exhortations. The following are the principal heads of discourse:
a. He begins with that which formed the basis of the whole Mosaic code — the Ten Commandments — and impressively repeats the circumstances under which they were given (Deuteronomy 5:1-6; Deuteronomy 5:3).
3. Then follows an exposition of the spirit of the First Table. The love of Jehovah who has done so great things for them (Deuteronomy 6), and the utter uprooting of all idol-worship (Deuteronomy 7), are the points chiefly insisted upon. But they are also reminded that if idolatry be a snare on the one hand, so is self-righteousness on the other (Deuteronomy 8:10 sq.), and therefore, lest they should be lifted up, the speaker enters at length on the history of their past rebellions (Deuteronomy 9:7; Deuteronomy 9:22-24), and especially of their sin in the matter of the golden calf (Deuteronomy 9:9-21). The true nature of obedience is again emphatically urged (Deuteronomy 10:12 to Deuteronomy 11:32), and the great motives to obedience set forth in God's love and mercy to them as a people (Deuteronomy 10:15; Deuteronomy 10:21-22), as also his signal punishment of the rebellious (Deuteronomy 11:3-6). The blessing and the curse (Deuteronomy 11:26-32) are further detailed.
c. From the general spirit in which the law should be observed, Moses passes on to the several enactments. Even these are introduced by a solemn charge to the people to destroy all objects of idolatrous worship in the land (Deuteronomy 12:14). They are, upon the whole, arranged systematically. We have first the laws touching religion; then those which are to regulate the conduct of the government and the executive; and, lastly, those which concern the private and social life of the people. The whole are framed with express reference to the future occupation of the land of Canaan.
(1.) Religious Statutes (Deuteronomy 12:1 to Deuteronomy 16:17). — There is to be but one sanctuary where all offerings are to be offered. Flesh may be eaten anywhere, but sacrifices may only be slain in "the place which the Lord thy God shall choose" (Deuteronomy 12:5-32). All idol prophets, all enticers to idolatry from among themselves, even whole cities if idolatrous, are to be cut off (Deuteronomy 13), and all idolatrous practices to be eschewed (Deuteronomy 14:1-2). Next come regulations respecting clean and unclean animals, tithe, the year of release, and the three feasts of the Passover, of Weeks, and of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 14:3 to Deuteronomy 16:17).
(2.) Governmental and Executive Functions (Deuteronomy 16:18 - Deuteronomy 21:23). — The laws affecting public personages and defining the authority of the judges (Deuteronomy 16:18-20) and the priests (Deuteronomy 17:8-13), the way of proceeding in courts of justice (Deuteronomy 17:1-13); the law of the king (Deuteronomy 17:14-20), of the priests, and Levites, and prophets (Deuteronomy 18); of the cities of refuge and of witnesses (Deuteronomy 19). The order is not very exact, but, on the whole, the section Deuteronomy 16:18 to Deuteronomy 19:21, is judicial in its character. The passage Deuteronomy 16:21 to Deuteronomy 17:1, seems strangely out of place. Baumgarten (Comm; in loc.) tries to account for it on the ground of the close connection which must subsist between the true worship of God and righteous rule and judgment. But who does not feel that this is said with more ingenuity than truth?
Next come the laws of war (Deuteronomy 20), both as waged
(a) generally with other nations, and
(b) especially with the inhabitants of Canaan (Deuteronomy 20:17).
(3.) Private and Social Injunctions, or laws touching domestic life and the relation of man to man (Deuteronomy 21:15 to Deuteronomy 26:19). So Ewald divides, assigning the former part of Deuteronomy 21 to the previous section. Havernick, on the other hand, includes it in the present. The fact is that Deuteronomy 21:10-14 belong to the laws of war, which are treated of in Deuteronomy 20, whereas 1-9 seem more naturally to come under the matters discussed in this section. It begins with the relations of the family, passes on to those of the friend and neighbor, and then touches on the general principles of justice and charity by which men should be actuated (Deuteronomy 24:16-22). It concludes with the following confession, which every Israelite is to make when he offers the first-fruits, and which reminds him of what he is as a member of the theocracy, as one in covenant with Jehovah, and greatly blessed by Jehovah.
Finally, this whole long discourse is wound up by a brief but powerful appeal (Deuteronomy 26:16-19), which reminds us of the words with which it opened. It will be observed that no pains are taken here, or indeed genes ally in the Mosaic legislation, to keep the several portions of the law, considered as moral, ritual, and ceremonial, apart from each other by any clearly-marked line. But there is in this discourse a very manifest gradual descent from the higher ground to the lower. The speaker begins by setting forth Jehovah himself as the great object of love and worship; thence he passes [1.] to the Religious, [2.] to the Political, and [3.] to the Social economy of his people..
3. In the third Discourse (Deuteronomy 27:1 to Deuteronomy 30:20), the elders of Israel are associated with Moses. The people are commanded to set up stones upon Mount Ebal, and on them to write "all the words of this law." Then follow the several curses to be pronounced by the Levites on Ebal (Deuteronomy 27:14-26), and the blessings on Gerizim (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). How terrible will be the punishment of any neglect of this law is further portrayed in the vivid words of a prophecy but too fearfully verified in the subsequent history of the people. The subject of this discourse is briefly "The Blessing and the Curse." The prophetic speeches visibly and gradually increase in energy and enthusiasm, until the perspective of the remotest future of the people of God lies open to the eye of the inspired lawgiver in all its checkered details, when his words resolve themselves into a flight of poetical ecstasy, into the strains of a splendid triumphal song, in which the tone of grief and lamentation is as heart- rending as the announcement of divine- salvation therein is jubilant (ch. 27, 28).
4. The delivery of the Law as written by Moses (for its still further preservation) to the custody of the Levites, and a charge to the people to hear it read once every seven years (Deuteronomy 31); the Song of Moses spoken in the ears of the people (Deuteronom 31:30-32:44); and the blessing of the twelve tribes (Deuteronomy 33).
5. The book closes (Deuteronomy 34) with an account of the death of Moses, which is first announced to him in Deuteronomy 32:48-52. On the authorship of the last chapter, see below.
II. Relation of Deuteronomy to the preceding books. It has been an opinion very generally entertained by the more modern critics, as well as by the earlier, that the book of Deuteronomy forms a complete whole in itself, and that it was appended to the other books as a later addition. Only Deuteronomy 32, 33, 34 have been in whole or in part called in question by De Wette, Ewald, and Von Lengerke. De Wette thinks that Deuteronomy 32, 33 have been borrowed from other sources, and that Deuteronomy 34 is the work of the Elohist (q.v.). Ewald also supposes Deuteronomy 32 to have been borrowed from another writer, who lived, however (in accordance with his theory, which we shall notice lower down), after Solomon. On the other hand, he considers Deuteronomy 33 to be later, whilst Bleek (Repert. 1:25) and Tuch (Gen. p. 556) decide that it is Elohistic. Some of these critics imagine that these chapters originally formed the conclusion of the book of Numbers, and that the Deuteronomist tore them away from their proper position in order the better to incorporate his own work with the rest of the Pentateuch, and to give it a fitting conclusion. Gesenius and his followers are of opinion that the whole book, as it stands at present, is by the same hand. But it is a question of some interest and importance whether the book of Deuteronomy should be assigned to the author, or one of the authors, of the former portions of the Pentateuch, or whether it is a distinct and independent work. The more conservative critics of the school of Hengstenberg contend that Deuteronomy forms an integral part of the Pentateuch, which is throughout to be ascribed to Moses. Others, as Staihelin and Delitzsch, have given reasons for believing that it was written by the Jehovist; whilst others again, as Ewald and De Wette, are in favor of a different author.
The chief grounds on which the last opinion rests on the many variations and additions to be found in Deuteronomy, both in the historical and legal portions, as well as the observable difference of style and phraseology. It is necessary, therefore, before we come to consider more directly the question of authorship, to take into account these alleged peculiarities; and it may be well to enumerate the principal discrepancies, additions, etc, as given by De Wette in the last edition of his Einleitung (many of his former objections he afterwards abandoned), and to subjoin the replies and explanations which they have called forth.
(I.) Discrepancies. — The most important discrepancies alleged to exist between the historical portions of Deuteronomy and the earlier books are the following:
(1.) The appointment of judges (Deuteronomy 1:6-18) is at variance with the account in Exodus 18 It is referred to a different time, being placed after the departure of the people from Horeb (Exodus 18:6), whereas in Exodus it is said to have occurred during their encampment before the mount (Exodus 18:5). The circumstances are different, and, apparently it is mixed up with the choosing of the seventy elders (Numbers 11:11-17). To this it has been answered, that although Deuteronomy 1:6 mentions the departure from Sinai, yet Deuteronomy 1:9-17 evidently refers to what took place during the abode there, as is shown by comparing the expression "at that time," Deuteronomy 1:9, with the same expression in Deuteronomy 1:18. The speaker, as is not unnatural in animated discourse, checks himself and goes back to take notice of an important circumstance prior to one which he has already mentioned. This is manifest, because Deuteronomy 1:19 is so clearly resumptive of Deuteronomy 1:6. Again, there is no force in the objection that Jethro's counsel is here passed over in silence. When making allusion to a well-known historical fact, it is unnecessary for the speaker to enter into details. This at most is an omission, not a contradiction. Lastly, the story in Exodus is perfectly distinct from that in Numbers 11, and there is no confusion of the two here. Nothing is said of the institution of the seventy in Deuteronomy, probably because the office was only temporary, and if it did not cease before the death of Moses, was not intended to be perpetuated in the promised land. (So in substance Ranke, Lengerke, Hengstenberg, Havernick, Stahelin.)
(2.) Deuteronomy 1:22 is thought to be at variance with Numbers 13:2, because here Moses is said to have sent the spies into Canaan at the suggestion of the people, whereas there God is said to have commanded the measure. The explanation is obvious. The people make the request; Moses refers it to God, who then gives to it His sanction. In the historical book of Numbers the divine command only is mentioned. Here, where the lawgiver deals so largely with the feelings and conduct of the people themselves, he reminds them both that the request originated with themselves, and also of the circumstances out of which,hat request sprang (Numbers 13:20-21). These are not mentioned in the history. The objection, it may be remarked, is precisely of the same kind as that which in the N.T. is urged against the reconciliation of Galatians 2:2 with Acts 15:2-3. Both admit of a similar explanation.
(3.) Deuteronomy 1:44, "And the Amorites which dwelt in that mountain," etc, whereas in the story of the same event, Numbers 14:43-45, Amalekites are mentioned. Answer: in this latter passage not only Amalekites, but Canaanites, are said to have come down against the Israelites. The Amorites stand here not for "Amalekites," but for "Canaanites," as being the most powerful of all the Canaanitish tribes (comp. Genesis 15:16; Deuteronomy 1:7); and the Amalekites are not named, but hinted at, when it is said, "they destroyed you in Seir," where, according to 1 Chronicles 4:42, they dwelt (so Hengst. 3, 421).
(4.) Deuteronomy 2:2-8, confused and at variance with Numbers 20:14-21; Numbers 21:4. In the former we read (Numbers 21:4), "Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren, the children of Esau." In the latter (Numbers 21:20), "And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him," etc. But, according to Deuteronomy, that part of the Edomitish territory only was traversed which lay about Elath and Ezion-geber. In this exposed part of their territory any attempt to prevent the passage of the Israelites would have been useless, whereas at Kadesh, where, according to Numbers, the opposition was offered, the rocky nature of the country was in favor of the Edomites. (So Hengst. 3, 283 sq.). To this we may add, that in Deuteronomy 2:8, when it is said "we passed by from our brethren the children of Esau... through the way of the plain from Elath," the failure of an attempt to pass elsewhere is implied. Again, according to Deuteronomy, the Israelites purchased food and water of the Edomites and Moabites (Deuteronomy 2:6; Deuteronomy 2:28), which, it is said, contradicts the story in Numbers 20:19-20. But in both accounts the Israelites offer to pay for what they have (comp. Deuteronomy 2:6 with Numbers 20:19). And if in Deuteronomy 23:4 there seems to be a contradiction to Deuteronomy 2:29 with regard to the conduct of the Moabites, it may be removed by observing (with Hengst. 3, 286) that the unfriendliness of the Moabites in not coming out to meet the Israelites with bread and water was the very reason why the latter were obliged to buy provisions.
(5.) There is a difference in the account of the encampments of the Israelites as given Deuteronomy 10:6-7, compared with Numbers 20:23; Numbers 33:30; Numbers 33:37. In Deuteronomy it is said that the order of encampment was,
2. Mosera (where Aaron dies);
3. Gud. godah;
In Numbers it is,
Then follow the stations Ebronah, Ezion-geber, Kadesh, and Mount Hor, and it is at this last that Aaron dies. (It is remarkable here that no account is given of the stations between Ezion-geber and Kadesh on the return route.) Various attempts have been made to reconcile these accounts. The explanation given by Kurtz (Atlas zur Gesch. d. A. B. 20) is, on the whole, the most satisfactory. He says: "In the first month of the fortieth year the whole congregation comes a second time to the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh (Numbers 33:36). On the down-route to Ezion-geber they had encamped at the several stations Moseroth (or Moserah), Bene-jaakan, Chor-hagidgad, and Jotbath. But now, again departing from Kadesh, they go to Mount Hor, ‘ in the edge of the land of Edom' (Numbers 33:37-38), or to Moserah (Deuteronomy 10:6-7), this last being in the desert at the foot of the mountain. Bene-jaakan, Gudgodah, and Jotbath were also visited about this time, i.e. a second time, after the second halt at Kadesh." (See EXODE).
(6.) But this is not so much a discrepancy as a peculiarity of the writer: in Deuteronomy the usual name for the mountain on which the law was given is Horeb, only once (Deuteronomy 33:2) Sinai; whereas in the other books Sinai is far more common than Horeb. The answer given is that Horeb was the general name of the whole mountain range, Sinai the particular mountain on which the law was delivered; and that Horeb, the more general and well-known name, was employed in accordance with the rhetorical style of this book, in order to bring out the contrast between the Sinaitic giving of the law, and the giving of the law in the land of Moab (Deuteronomy 1:5; Deuteronomy 29:1). So Keil. (See HOREB).
(II.) Additions. —
1. In the History.
(a) The command of God to leave Horeb, Deuteronomy 1:6-7, not mentioned in Numbers 10:11. The repentance of the Israelites, Deuteronomy 1:45, omitted in Numbers 14:45. The intercession of Moses in behalf of Aaron, Deuteronomy 9:20, of which nothing is said in Exodus 32:33 : — These are so slight, however, that, as Keil suggests, they might have been passed over very naturally in the earlier books, supposing both accounts to be by the same hand. But of more note are:
(b) The command not to fight with the Moabites and Ammonites, Deuteronomy 2:9; Deuteronomy 2:19, or with the Edomites, but to buy of them food and water, Deuteronomy 2:4-8; the valuable historical notices which are given respecting the earlier inhabitants of the countries of Moab, and Ammon, and of Mount Seir, Deuteronomy 2:10-12; Deuteronomy 2:20-23; the sixty fortified cities of Bashan, Deuteronomy 3:4; the king of the country who was "of the remnant of giants," Deuteronomy 3:11; the different names of Hermon, Deuteronomy 3:9; the wilderness of Kedemoth, Deuteronomy 2:26; and the more detailed account of the attack of the Amalekites, Deuteronomy 25:17-18, compared with Exodus 17:8.
2. In the Law. The appointment of the cities of refuge, Deuteronomy 19:7-9, as compared with Numbers 35:14 and Deuteronomy 4:41; of one particular place for the solemn worship of God, where all offerings, tithes, etc. are to be brought, Deuteronomy 12:5, etc., whilst the restriction with regard to the slaying of animals only at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation (Leviticus 17:3-4) is done away, 15, 20, 21; the regulations respecting tithes to be brought with the sacrifices and burnt-offerings to the appointed place, Deuteronomy 12:6; Deuteronomy 12:11; Deuteronomy 12:17; Deuteronomy 14:22, etc.; Deuteronomy 26:12; concerning false prophets and seducers to idolatry and those that hearken unto them, Deuteronomy 13; concerning the king and the manner of the kingdom, 17:14, etc.; the prophets, 18:15, etc.; war and military service, Deuteronomy 20; the expiation of secret murder; the law of female captives; of first-born sons by a double marriage; of disobedient sons; of those who suffer death by hanging, Deuteronomy 21; the laws in Deuteronomy 22:5-8; Deuteronomy 22:13-21; of divorce, Deuteronomy 24:1, and various lesser enactments, 23 and 25; the form of thanksgiving in offering the first-fruits, 26; the command to write the law upon stones, 27, and to read it before all Israel at the Feast of Tabernacles, Deuteronomy 31:10-13.
Many others are rather extensions or modifications of, than additions to, existing laws, as, for instance, the law of the Hebrew slave, Deuteronomy 15:12, etc. compared with Exodus 21:2, etc. See also the fuller directions in Deuteronomy 15:19-23; Deuteronomy 26:1-11, as compared with the briefer notices, Exodus 13:12; Exodus 23:19.
All these, however, afford no real difficulty in identifying the author with that of the preceding books, on the supposition that it was Moses himself, who, as the propounder of the law and the director of the history, was competent to expand and illustrate both, and, indeed, could hardly fail to do so, were he other than a mechanical copyist.
III. Date of Composition. — Was the book really written, as its language certainly implies, before the entry of Israel into the Promised Land? Not only does the writer assert that the discourses contained in the book were delivered in the plains of Moab, in the last month of the 40 years' wandering, and when the people were just about to enter Canaan (Deuteronomy 1:1-5), but he tells us with still further exactness that all the words of this Law were written at the same time in the book (Deuteronomy 31:9). Moreover, the fact that the goodly land lay even now before their eyes seems everywhere to be uppermost in the thoughts of the legislator, and to lend a peculiar solemnity to his words. Hence we continually meet with such expressions as "when Jehovah thy God bringeth thee into the land which He hath sworn to thy fathers to give thee," or "whither thou goest in to possess it." This phraseology is so constant, and seems to fall in so naturally with the general tone and character of the book, that to suppose it was written long after the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan, in the reign of Solomon (De Wette, Lengerke, and others), or in that of Manasseh (Ewald, as above), is not only to make the book a historical romance, but to attribute very considerable inventive skill to the author (as Ewald in fact does).
De Wette argues, indeed, that the character of the laws is such as of itself to presuppose a long residence in the land of Canaan. He instances the allusion to the temple (12, and Deuteronomy 16:1-7), the provision for the right discharge of the kingly and prophetical offices, the rules for civil and military organization and the state of the Levites, who are represented as living without cities (though such are granted to them in Numbers 35) and without tithes (allotted to them in Numbers 18:20, etc.). But in the passages cited the Temple is not named, much less is it spoken of as already existing: on the contrary, the phrase employed is "The place which the Lord your God shall choose." Again, to suppose that Moses was incapable of providing for the future and very different position of his people as settled in the land of Canaan, is to deny him even ordinary sagacity. Without raising the question about his divine commission, surely it is not too much to assume that so wise and great a legislator would foresee the growth of a polity, and would be anxious to regulate its due administration in the fear of God. Hence he would guard against false prophets and seducers to idolatry. As regards the Levites, Moses might have expected or even desired that, though possessing certain cities (which, however, were inhabited by others as well as themselves), they should not be confined to those cities, but scattered over the face of the country. This must have been the case at first, owing to the very gradual occupation of the new territory. The mere fact that, in giving them certain rights in Deuteronomy, nothing is said of an earlier provision in Numbers, does not by any means prove that this earlier provision was unknown or had ceased to be in force.
Other reasons for a later date, such as the mention of the worship of the sun and moon (Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 17:3); the punishment of stoning (Deuteronomy 17:5; Deuteronomy 22:21, etc.); the name Feast of Tabernacles; and the motive for keeping the Sabbath, are of little force. In Amos 5:26, Saturn is said to have been worshipped in the wilderness; the punishment of stoning is found also in the older documents; the Feast of Tabernacles agrees with Leviticus 23:34; and the motive alleged for the observance of the Sabbath, at least, does not exclude other motives. IV. Author. —
1. It is generally agreed that by far the greater portion of the book is the work of one author. The only parts which have been questioned as possible interpolations are, according to De Wette, 4:41-3; 10:6-9; 32 and 33. Internal evidence, indeed, is strongly decisive that this book of the Pentateuch was not the work of a compiler.
2. It cannot be denied that the style of Deuteronomy is very different from that of the other four books of the Pentateuch. It is more flowing, more rhetorical, more sustained. The rhythm is grand, and the diction more akin to the sublimer passages of the prophets than to the sober prose of the historians.
3. Who, then, was the author? This question, of course, is intimately connected with the preceding discussion. We will consider, first, the views of those who deny its authorship by Moses. On this point the following principal hypotheses have been maintained:
a. The opinion of Stä helin (and, as it would seem, of Bleek), that the author is the same as the writer of the Jehovistic portions of the other books. He thinks that both the historical and legislative portions plainly show the hand of the supplementist (Krit. Unters. p. 76). Hence he attaches but little weight to the alleged discrepancies, as he considers them all to be the work of the reviser, going over, correcting, and adding to the older materials of the Elohistic document already in his hands.
b. The opinion of De Wette, Gesenius, and others, that the Deuteronomist is a distinct writer from the Jehovist. De Wette's arguments are based
(1) on the difference in style;
(2) on the contradictions already referred to as existing in matters of history, as well as in the legislation, when compared with that in Exodus;
(3) on the peculiarity noticeable in this book, that God does not speak by Moses, but that Moses himself speaks to the people, and that there is no mention of the angel of Jehovah (comp. 1:30; 7:20-23; 11:13-17, with Exodus 23:20-33); and
(4) lastly, on the fact that the Deuteronomist ascribes his whole work to Moses, while the Jehovist assigns him only certain portions.
c. From the fact that certain phases occurring in Deuteronomy are found also in the prophecy of Jeremiah, it has been too hastily concluded by some critics that both books were the work of the prophet. — So Von Bohlen, Gesenius (Gesch d. Hebr. Spr. p. 32), and Hartmann (Hist. Krit. Forsch. p. 660). Konig, on the other hand (Alttest. Stud. 2:12 sq.), has shown not only that this idiomatic resemblance has been made too much of (see also Keil, Einl. p. 117), but that there is the greatest possible difference of style between the two books. De Wette expresses himself similarly (Einl. p. 191).
d. Ewald is of opinion that it was written by a Jew living in Egypt during the latter half of the reign of Manasseh (Gesch. des V. I. i, 171). He thinks that a pious Jew of that age, gifted with prophetic power, and fully alive to all the evils of his time, sought thus to revive and to impress more powerfully upon the minds of his countrymen the great lessons of that law which he saw they were in danger of forgetting. He avails himself, therefore, of the groundwork of the earlier history, and also of the Mosaic mode of expression. But as his object is to rouse a corrupt nation, he only makes use of historical notices for the purpose of introducing his warnings and exhortations with the more effect. This he does with great skill and as a master of his subject, while at the same time he gives fresh vigor and life to the old law by means of those new prophetic truths which had so lately become the heritage of his people. Ewald further considers that there are passages in Deuteronomy borrowed from the books of Job and Isaiah (Deuteronomy 4:32, from Job 8:8; and Deuteronomy 28:29-30; Deuteronomy 28:35, from Job 5:14; Job 31:10; Job 2:7; etc. from Isaiah 5:26 sq.; Isaiah 33:19), and much of it akin to Jeremiah (Gesch. 1:171, note). The song of Moses (32) is, according to him, not by the Deuteronomist, but is nevertheless later than the time of Solomon.
e. The old traditional view that this book, like the other books of the Pentatench, is the work of Moses himself. Of the later critics, Hengstenberg, Havernick, Ranke, and others, have maintained this view. Moses Stuart writes: "Deuteronomy appears to my mind, as it did to that of Eichhorn and Herder, as the earnest outpourings and admonitions of a heart which felt the deepest interest in the welfare of the Jewish nation, and which realized that it must soon bid farewell to them... Instead of bearing upon its face, as is alleged by some, evidences of another authorship than that of Moses, I must regard this book as being so deeply fraught with holy and patriotic feeling as to convince any unprejudiced reader who is competent to judge of its style, that it cannot, with any tolerable degree of probability, be attributed to any pretender to legislation, or to any mere imitator of the great legislator. Such a glow as runs through all this book it is in vain to seek for in any artificial or supposititious composition" (Hist. of the O.T. Canon, § 3).
In support of this opinion, it is said:
1. That, supposing the whole Pentateuch to have been written by Moses, the change in style is easily accounted for when we remember that the last book is hortatory in its character, that it consists chiefly of orations, and that these were delivered under very peculiar circumstances.
2. That the usus loquendi is not only generally in accordance with that of the earlier books, and that as well in their Elohistic as in their Jehovistic portions, but that there are certain peculiar forms of expression common only to these five books.
3. That the alleged variations in matters of fact between this and the earlier books may all be reconciled (see above), and that the amplifications and corrections in the legislation are only such as would necessarily be made when the people were just about to enter the promised land. Thus Bertheau observes: "It is hazardous to conclude from contradictions in the laws that they are to be ascribed to a different age... He who made additions must have known what it was he was making additions to, and would either have avoided all contradiction, or would have altered the earlier laws to make them agree with the later" (Die Sieben Gruppen Mos. Gesetze, p. 19, note).
4. That the book bears witness to its own authorship (31:19), and is expressly cited in the N.T. as the work of Moses (Matthew 19:7-8; Mark 10:3; Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37).
The book contains, in addition, not a small number of plain, though indirect traces, indicative of its Mosaic origin (see Jour. Sac. Lit. Jan. 1858, p. 313 sq.). We thus find in it:
1. Numerous notices concerning nations with whom the Israelites had then come in contact, but who, after the Mosaic period, entirely disappeared from the pages of history: such are the accounts of the residences of the kings of Bashan (Deuteronomy 1:4).
2. The appellation of "mountain of the Amorites," used throughout the whole book (Deuteronomy 1:7; Deuteronomy 1:19-20; Deuteronomy 1:44), while even in the book Joshua, soon after the conquest of the land, the name is already exchanged for "mountains of Judah" (Joshua 11:16; Joshua 11:21).
3. The observation (Deuteronomy 2:10) that the Emim had formerly dwelt in the plain of Moab: they were a great people, equal to the Anakim. This observation quite accords with Genesis 14:5.
4. A detailed account (Deuteronomy 2:11) concerning the Horim and their relations to the Edomites.
5. An account of the Zamzummim (Deuteronomy 2:20-21), one of the earliest races of Canaan, though mentioned nowhere else.
6. A very circumstantial account of the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 3:3 sq.), with whose concerns the author seems to have been well acquainted.
The standing-point also of the author of Deuteronomy is altogether in the Mosaic time, and, had it been assumed and fictitious, there must necessarily have been moments when the spurious author would have been off his guard, and unmindful of the part he had to play. But no discrepancies of this kind can be traced; and this is in itself an evidence of the genuineness of the book.
A great number of other passages force us likewise to the conclusion that the whole of Deuteronomy originated in the time of Moses. Such are the passages where:
1. A comparison is drawn between Canaan and Egypt (Deuteronomy 11:10 sq.), with the latter of which the author seems thoroughly acquainted.
2. Detailed descriptions are given of the fertility and productions of Egypt (Deuteronomy 8:7 sq.).
3. Regulations are given relating to the conquest of Canaan (Deuteronomy 12:1 sq.; Deuteronomy 20:1 sq.), which cannot be understood otherwise than by assuming that they had been framed in the Mosaic time, since they could be of no use after that period.
Besides, whole pieces and chapters in Deuteronomy, such as 32, 33, betray in form, language, and tenor, a very early period in Hebrew literature. Nor are the laws and regulations in Deuteronomy less decisive of the authenticity of the book. We are struck with the most remaikable phenomenon that many laws from the previous books are here partly repeated and impressed with more energy, partly modified, and partly altogether abolished, according to the contingencies of the time, or as the new aspect of circumstances among the Jews rendered such steps necessary (comp. e.g. Deuteronomy 15:17, with Exodus 21:7; Deuteronomy 12 with Leviticus 17). Such pretensions to raise, or even to oppose his own private opinions to the authority of divine law, are found in no author of the subsequent periods, since the whole of the sacred literature of the later times is, on the contrary, rather the echo than otherwise of the Pentateuch, and is altogether founded on it. Add to this the fact that the law itself forbids most impressively to add to, or take anything from it, a prohibition which is repeated even in Deuteronomy (comp. 4:2; 13:1); so that on the theory that this book contains nothing more than a gradual development of the law, it clashes too often with its own principles, and thus pronounces its own sentence of condemnation.
The part of Deuteronomy (34) respecting the death of Moses requires a particular explanation. That the whole of this section is to be regarded as a piece altogether apart from what precedes it, or as a supplement by another writer, is a ready solution maintained by the older theologians (comp. e.g. Carpzov, Introd. in libr. V. T. 1:137); and this opinion is confirmed not only by the contents of the chapter, but also by the express declaration of the book itself on that event and its relations; for chapter 31 contains the conclusion of the work, where Moses describes himself as the author of the previous contents, as also of the Song (ch. 32), and the blessings (ch. 33) belonging to it. All that follows is, consequently, not from Moses, the work being completed and concluded with chapter 33. There is another circumstance which favors this opinion, namely, the close connection that exists between the last section of Deuteronomy and the beginning of Joshua (comp. Deuteronomy 34:9 with Joshua 1:1, where also the connective force of the term וִיְהַי "and it came to pass," in the latter passage, must not be overlooked), plainly showing that ch. 34 of Deuteronomy is intended to serve as a point of transition to the book of Joshua, and that it was written by the same author as the latter. The correct view of this chapter, therefore, is to consider it as a real supplement, but by no means as an interpolation (such as some critics erroneously suppose to exist in the Pentateuch in general). To apply to it the term interpolation would be as wrong as to give that appellation, e.g., to the 8th book of Caesar's work De Bello Gallico, simply because it was written by an unknown author, for the very purpose of serving as a supplement to the previous books. (See PENTATEUCH).
V. Separate commentaries upon the book of Deuteronomy are not numerous; the most important are designated by an asterisk (*) prefixed: Origen, Selecta in Deuteronomy (in Opp. 2:386); Ephraem Syrus, Explanatio in Deuteronomy (in Opp. 4:269);, Theodoret,, Questiones in Deuteronomy (in Opp. i, pt. i); Isidorus Hispalensis, Commentaria in Deuteronomy (in Opera); Bede, In Deuteronomy Explanatio (in Opp. iv); id. Quaestiones super. Deuteronomy (ib. viii); Victor Hugo, annotatiunculae in Deuteronomy (in Opp. i); Rupertus Tuitienhis, In Deuteronomy (in Opp. 1:288); Luther, Deuteronomion castigatum (Viteb. 1524, 8vo; also in Opp. 3, 76; Exeg. Opp. xiii); Bugenhagen, Commentarius in Deuteronomy (Basil. t524, Viteb. 1525, 8vo); Macchabeus, Enarratio in Deuteronomy (London, 1563, 8vo); Chytraeus, Enarrationes in Deuteronomy (Viteb. 1575, 1590, 8vo); Calvin, Sermons upon Deuteronomy (from the French by Golding, Lond. 1583, fol.); I3rent, Comment. in Deuteronomy (in Opp. i); Bp. Babington, Votes upon Deuteronomy (in Works, p. 149); Lorinus, Commentarii in Deuteronomy (Lugd. 1625, 1629, 2 vols. fol.); Masius, Annotationes in cap. xviii et seq. (in the Critici Sacri, i, pt. ii); Franze, Disputationes per Deuteronomy (Viteb. 1608, 4to); *Gerhard, Commentarius super Deuteronomy (Jen. 1657, 4to); Cocceius, Note in Deuteronomy (in Opp. 1:186); id. De ult. Deuteronomy capita (ib. 1:201); Alting, Commentarius in cap. i-xix (in Opp. 1:121, Amst. 1687); Duquet, Explicatio de c. xxix-xxxiii (Par. 1734, 12mo); Vitringa, Comm. in cant. Mosis (Harl. 1734, 4to); Holt, Deuteron. illustratum (Lugd. 1768, 4to); Marck, Comment. in cap. xxix-xxxiii (in Partes Pentat.); Hagemann, Betrachtungen ü b. d.f. B. Mosis (Brunsw. 1744, 4to); Homberg, בְּאוּר לְסֵ 8 דְּבָרַים (in Mendelssohn's Pentateuch, Berlin, 1783, etc.); *Rosenmü ller, Scholia (in Schol. pt. ii); *Horsley, Notes on Deuteronomy (in Bib. Criticism, i); Riehm, Moses im lande Moab (Lpz. 1854, 8vo); Cumming, Readings on Deuteronomy (London, 1856, 12mo); *Graff, Der Segen Mosis erkldrt (Lpz. 1857, 8vo); Howard, Deut. fron the Sept. (Lond. 1857, 8vo); *Schultz Das Deuteron. erklrt (Berl. 1859, 8vo); *Knobel, Eklrung (in the Exeg. Handb. part xiv);* Schroder, Bearbeitung (in Lange's Bibelwerk, O.T. 3, Bielefeld, 1866, 8vo). (See OLD TESTAMENT).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Deuteronomy'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/d/deuteronomy.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13