An Exegetical Research Paper
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
ESTABLISHING THE TEXT
The text is a passage known as the Shema (“Hear”) which has become the fundamental dogma of the Old Testament and was also identified in the New Testament (Mark 12:29-30) as the most important of all the commandments. This comprises the basic teaching which exhorts the Israelites to love God with their whole being, including the intellect, emotions and will. The central importance defined by Moses in this passage extends to the required teaching of these commandments to the children by all means possible. (Wolf 1991) Book
The Hebrew appellation for this title is called Mishmeh Torah משנה תורה which means “repeated law” or “second law” (to show continuity from the Sinai Covenant laws) . The word Deuteronomy came from the Greek title deuteronomion which means the same as repeated law. This is taken from the verse Deut. 17:18. Consistent with its contents, Deuteronomy delivers a review of the laws and history which have taken place in the first four books of the Pentateuch (also known as tetrateuch)
Compared to the first four books, Deuteronomy has explicitly stated Moses as its author, (1:5, 5:1; 27:1,8; 29:2; 31:1,9,24, 30;) and his writing (31:9,22,24). Other books of the bible make reference to Moses as the author of the book: 1 Kings 2:3; 8:53
Acts 3:22; 7:37-38
2 Kings 14:6; 18:6,12
1 Cor 9:9
Mark 10:3-5; 12:19
But certain events in the book show that Moses was not the only author. Specific Passages such as the death of Moses proves that another author necessitates the recording of this event. (Deut 31) Other researches indicate that the book of Deuteronomy could have been written or appended in a much later date after the death of Moses. These claims are based on the significant difference in writing styles of Deuteronomy compared to the writing styles of the First four books (tetrateuch) . Another claim includes the developments in priesthood when the passages between Exodus 28:1 and Deuteronomy 18:6-8 shows a significant difference in the granting of rights for Priesthood. Exodus gives exclusivity of priesthood to Aaron and his sons. But in Deuteronomy, priesthood is granted to all Levites, which, indicate a more advanced stage in the priesthood orders, therefore moving the date of authorship to a much later date which is in the 8th Century BC. The same is true when comparing Exodus 20:23-23:33 and Deut 12-26. (Cairns 1992) Both discusses concern for social justice but shows a more developed code in Deuteronomy, which shows a remarkable resemblance with 8th Century prophets. However, these do not affect the authenticity of Moses’ authorship in the majority of the book.
Time, Place, and Audience
Most research date completion of Deuteronomy back to approximately early 7th Century BC. The story of Deuteronomy happened a lot earlier (approximately 1300 BC) when the Israelites were gathered at the plains of Moab (Deut 1:5) before entering the promise land. Here, Moses spoke to the people about the renewal of the covenant received at Sinai since they were about to pass on his leadership to Joshua and will soon cross Jordan to claim the Promised Land, Canaan. Also, the Israelites were about to face such a difficult task as entering the “land flowing with milk and honey”, so, their pledge of obedience to the covenant God had given them of the blessing of victory in this undertaking. (Craigie 1976) It was also a time when 40 years of wilderness wandering was coming to a close and those who were given a curse for being unfaithful to Yahweh(Num 14:20-35) have already died. The remaining audience with Moses were the complete clans of Joshua and Caleb and all...
Bibliography: Cairns, Ian. Deuteronomy: Word andPresence. Grand Rapids, MI: W B. Eerdmans publishing Co., 1992.
Craigie, Peter C. "The Book of Deuteronomy." In The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, by W. B. Eerdmans, 30-32. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Inc., 1976.
John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews and Mark W. Chavalas. "Deuteronomy." In IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, by IVP. InterVarsity Press, 2000.
Lasor, W.S. "Ashurbanipal." In International standard Bible Encyclopedia -revised edition, by W. B. Eerdmans. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B. eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979.
Parsons, John J. The Shema-Hear, O Israel! http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Torah/The_Shema/the_shema.html (accessed October 11, 2010).
W. B. Eerdmans. International Standard BibleEncyclopeda, Revised ed. Chicago Il: Wm. B.Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979.
Weinfeld, Moshe. Deuteronomy 1-11 A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group , Inc, 1991.
Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition commentary : Old Testament. 2004.
Wolf, Herbert. "Deuteronomy." In An Introduction to the Old Testament Pentateuch, by Herbert Wolf. Chicago: Moody Publishing Co., 1991.
[ 2 ]. Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy 1-11 A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York, NY, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group., Inc., 1991) p 1-3
[ 3 ]
[ 4 ]. Peter C. Craigie, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: The Book of Deuteronomy. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Compnay, Inc., 1976), 30-32.
[ 5 ]. Weinfeld, 1991. p 17
[ 6 ]
[ 9 ]. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, revised edition,( Chicago, IL by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1979.)
[ 10 ]
[ 17 ]. Cairns, 1992, p 84
[ 18 ]
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