Smith's Bible Dictionary

Deuteronomy, The Book of

Deuteronomy, The Book of. The Book of Deuteronomy -- which means "the repetition of the law" -- consists chiefly of three discourses delivered by Moses shortly before his death. Subjoined to these discourses are the Song of Moses, the Blessing of Moses, and the story of his death.

1. The first discourse. Deu 1:1; Deu 4:40. After a brief historical introduction, the speaker recapitulates the chief events of the last forty years in the wilderness. To this discourse, is appended a brief notice of the severing of the three cities of refuge, on the east side of the Jordan. Deu 4:41-43.

2. The second discourse is introduced, like the first, by an explanation of the circumstances under which it was delivered. Deu 4:44-49. It extends from Chapter 19, Deu 5:1-26, and contains a recapitulation, with some modifications and additions, of the law already given on Mount Sinai.

3. In the third discourse, Deu 27:1-30, 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, Deu 27:14-26, and the blessings on Gerizim. Deu 28:1-14.

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, Deu 31:30; Deu 32:44, and the blessing of the twelve tribes. Deu 33:5.

The book closes, Deuteronomy 34, with an account of the death of Moses, which is first announced to him. Deu 32:48-52. The book bears witness to its own authorship, Deu 31:19, and is expressly cited in the New Testament as the work of Moses. Mat 19:7-8; Mar 10:3; Act 3:22; Act 7:37.

The last chapter, containing an account of the death of Moses, was of course added by a later hand, and probably formed, originally, the beginning of the book of Joshua.

Taken from: Smith's Bible Dictionary by Dr. William Smith (1884)