Sunday, February 20, 2011

Deuteronomy 1-3 Oh, The Good Old Days

Deuteronomy 1-3
I'm going to also link to the Skeptics Annotated Bible for this book.  Just for yucks.
Deuteronomy 1-3

As the Israelites get closer to the promised land, Moses reminisces about the past forty years on the road.

I imagine him as a grandfather with his grand kids sitting on the floor around his La-Z-Boy.

"Did I ever tell you kids about the war?  Back in my day we didn't just conquer a nation.  We would kill every man, woman and child, burn the homes and crops and then have our way with the cattle!  Ah, the good old days."
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  1. About the book of Deuteronomy, from the Reformation Study Bible:


    By its own testimony (1:1, 5; 31:22), Deuteronomy is the work of Moses. Mosaic authorship is affirmed many times elsewhere in the Old Testament (e.g. 2 Kings 14:6), in ancient Jewish sources (e.g., Josephus), and in the New Testament. This view was almost universally held until the rise of the rationalistic criticism in modern times.
    Critics correctly point out that the last chapter could not have been written by Moses. It is widely agreed that ch. 34 is an addendum, perhaps appended by Joshua. In the same way, the Book of Joshua ends with the death of Joshua, this record clearly having been supplied by the author of the Book of Judges, who appended verse from Judges to the end of Joshua (Judg. 2:7-9; cf. Josh. 24:29-31). Likewise, the first verses of Ezra are copied and appended to the last chapter of Chronicles (Chronicles ends in the middle of a sentence). This way of linking a subsequent book to the preceding one (or variations of this practice) was common in antiquity and was intended to show a proper sequences of scrolls or clay tablets.

    Characteristics and Themes

    Deuteronomy has been much used both by Christians and ancient Jews. It is quoted in the New Testament over fifty times, a number exceeded only by Psalms and Isaiah…The famous Shema, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one," is given in 6:4, with the exhortation to teach, remember, and obey.

    Through types and prophecy this book also points us to Christ. He is the Passover Lamb and the coming Prophet. Moses, the founder of Israel's theocracy, mediated the old covenant, but Jesus Christ, the Son of God, mediated the new covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). The substance of the covenants is the same, but their manner of administration differs significantly. Whereas the old covenant was written on tablets of stone, Christ writes the new covenant through the Spirit of the living God on the tablets of human hearts (2 Cor. 3:3).

  2. Freidman's "Who Wrote the Bible" has great info in chapters 6 and 7 regarding the authorship of Deuteronomy and the next six books. He argues that the person was alive during the reign of King Josiah (640/641 - 609/610 BCE) and afterward during the Babylonian exile (587 BCE). He posits that it was Jeremiah's scribe Baruch (son of Neriyah) as the most likely author/editor of these books.

    Regarding Moses as the author:

    "The content of Deuteronomy is very old, although the literary style seems to be from the later period of Josiah. The D-author, in attributing the writings to Moses himself, certainly felt he was simply reviving Moses' teachings, as understood 600 years later. In much the same way a modern biographer might put together a collection of the sayings of Thomas Jefferson for a modern audience."

  3. This is off-topic, but I found a site that has maps of the stops in Exodus:


  4. These chapters, although a recap of prior books, were a pleasure to read because they appear concise and organized - resetting the scene for what (I hope) is coming in the following texts. I'm curious ...

    1) do the events as recapped by Moses in Deut 1-3 represent an accurate chronological accounting of Exodus through Numbers?

    2) are there gaps and/or mismatches in the accounts?

  5. The one thing I want to figure out about D is which of the other sources it is familiar with.

    1:9-18, reminiscent of Numbers 11:14, and definitely alludes to Exodus 18:13-27. Both E texts, per Friedman.

    1:20-46 recounts the story of the spies from Num. 13 & 14. But all the details (towering cities, Anakim, etc) come from the JE portion. CRUCIALLY, Deuteronomy states that it was the people's idea to send spies, not an order by God (as it is in P's version). In chapter 13, the beginning of the JE text is apparently missing; perhaps it involved a contradictory account that matches Deut's recollection!

    1:30 references JE text in Ex. 14:13-14 and 19-20.

    1:33 matches J's description of the Smoke Monster from Ex. 13:21

    1:34-46 heavily references Num. 14. But for the first time, it's making references to P- details such as Joshua being able to enter Canaan are absent from JE, and it even includes a direct quote. But it ALSO contains details from JE ("crushed at Hormah")

    So... um... very strange.

    The approach to Seir at 2:8 mimics the approach to Edom in Num. 20:14 (J text). Edom and Seir are both associated with Esau.

    The following text basically mirrors the subsequent JE text in Numbers (Moabites, Amorites, the kings of Bashan, capture of Heshbon) up until Balaam's story.

    Then it jumps over Balaam and references the allocation given in Numbers 32:33, a J text.

    Finally ch. 3 ends with Joshua's appointment. This event occurs in a P text, Num. 27:18 onward. But the details don't match.

    Oh jesus christ that was a lot of work.

    So, IN SHORT, the three chapter re-cap contains material strictly from Exodus and Numbers, a very odd sub-set of the material mostly drawn from chapters that have a mix of JE and P, but only containing JE references... except in ONE case... which is basically fossil rabbits in the precambrian.