5. The four principal parts of the Book: I. A repetition of the preceding history, composed to acquire the attention and good will of the people, who are about to hear the law again (Deuteronomy 1-4). II. A repetition of the Mosaic legislation, in which the duty of the people, as long as they are dwelling in possession of the promised land, is depicted in explicit detail (Deuteronomy 5-26). III. The sanction and solemn confirmation of the law hitherto repeated (Deuteronomy 27-30). IV. Moses’ Testament and Death (Deuteronomy 31-34). A Synoptic Table, and the Interpreters of the book, ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Hebrew.
Among the Hebrews the Book is wont to be distributed into ten Parashot. But, since in this Book it is principally treated, that, first, the preceding histories, compendiously repeated, are inculcated in the people, Deuteronomy 1:1-4:43; second, the legislation repeated to them is impressed upon them as to be religiously kept in the land of Canaan, Deuteronomy 4:44-26:19; third, the preceding things are confirmed and reinforced with signs, promises, threats, and a renewal of the covenant, Deuteronomy 27-30; fourth, the death of Moses, together with its antecedents and consequent mourning, Deuteronomy 31-34; a fourfold division appears to flow thence spontaneously. Therefore, the general parts of the book are as follows:
I. A repetition of the preceding history, composed to acquire the attention and good will of the people, who are about to hear the law again, Chapters 1:1-4:43. See:
1. A narration, of which the sum is, that God in all ways provided for, and still provides for, the people being about to enter into the promised land, although they be ill-deserving, so that, they, with their sins cast aside, might seize the promised inheritance: chapters 1:1-4:43. See:
a. A repetition of those things that happened in the departure from Mount Horeb into Kadesh-Barnea (verses 1-19), and of those things that happened in Kadesh, with the spies sent into and returning out of the land of Canaan (verses 20-46): chapter 1.
b. A repetition of those things that happened concerning the Moabites, Edomites (verses 1-12), and Ammonites, whom whom it was not permitted to them to invade (verses 13-23); and also of the war successfully waged against Sihon the Amorite (verses 24-37): chapter 2.
c. A repetition of the history of the defeat of Og, King of Bashan (verse 1-11), and of the occupation of his and Sihon’s land, and its distribution among the two and a half tribes (verses 12-20): and also of the investiture of Joshua by Moses to the principate (verses 21, 22), and of the death denounced against Moses, although begging pardon (verses 23-29): chapter 3.
2. The exhortation arising from the preceding narration, that the people, divinely honored with so great blessings, should faithfully adhere to the commandments and promises of God (verses 1-14), and should especially beware of idolatry for weighty reasons (verses 15-40); where also three cities of refuge are specified for the tribes to be located on the far side of Jordan (verses 41-43): chapter 4:1-43.
II. A repetition of the Mosaic legislation, in which the duty of the people, as long as they are dwelling in possession of the promised land, is depicted in explicit detail, Chapter 4:44-26:19. See:
1. The preface, in which is set forth the place of the repetition of the νομοθεσίας/ legislation, on the other side of Jordan, in a valley near Beth-Peor in the land of Sihon: chapter 4:44-49.
2. The sermon of Moses repeated concerning the Divine law. See:
a. The narration of the moral law or Decalogue promulgated on mount Horeb, with Moses mediating (verses 1-31), with him also imploring the people, that they might most diligently yield to that law, and not turn to the right hand or to the left (verses 32, 33): chapter 5.
b. The repetition of those precepts that were conjoined with the Moral law expressed in the Decalogue: chapters 6-11. See:
α. A general exposition and commendation of the precepts of the law: chapters 6-9. See:
א. An exposition of the first precept of the Decalogue, in which the honoring and worship of Israel’s God alone is commended with the utmost gravity (verses 1-14), with a commandment added, that they should earnestly inculcate in their children both the love and worship of God alone, and the observance of all His commandments (verses 15-25): chapter 6.
ב. An exposition of the second precept, with God prohibiting commerce with the impious Gentiles (verses 1-8), and commanding that they cut off and destroy both them and their idolatry (verses 9-26): chapter 7.
ג. A promise of beneficence, if the people obey the commandments (verse 1), in which by reviving the memory of past benefits, and by promising future benefits, he removes anxiety over provision (verses 2-20): chapter 8.
β. A commandment to put faith in God alone, and a dehortation from trusting in oneself and in one’s own righteousness, with multiple arguments alleged, and just so many specimens of the previous disobedience of the people, deserving nothing less than the inheritance of the land of Canaan (verses 1-29): chapter 9.
γ. The account continued, of the ingratitude of the people, and of the reconciliation of the same with God (verses 1-11); and an exhortation to gratitude, repentance, and obedience (verses 12-22): chapter 10.
δ. The exhortation to the obedience of the law continued, with arguments from the judgments of God, the promise of blessing, and the threat of cursing, if they should be obstinate (verses 1-28): where is also a commandment to pronounce blessings from mount Gerizim, and curses from mount Ebal (verses 29-32): chapter 11.
c. A repetition of laws pertaining to the Divine worship: chapters12-16. See:
α. Laws simple and stripped of ceremonies, of which sort are:
א. Laws concerning the destruction of idolatry everywhere, flight from superstition to the place of Divine worship (verses 1-14), concerning not eating blood, supporting the Levites (verses 15-28), concerning fleeing from the idolatry of the nations devoted to destruction (verses 29-32): chapter 12.
ב. Laws against apostasy, against False Prophets soliciting unto that (verses 1-11), and cities guilty of idolatry (verses 12-18): chapter 13.
β. Laws clothed in ceremonies: chapters 14-16: of which sort are:
א. Laws concerning avoiding the pollution of the nations (verses 1, 2), the cleanness and uncleanness of animals (verses 3-21), paying tithes (verses 22-29): chapter 14.
ב. Law of the seventh year (verses 1-3), against beggary (verses 4-6), concerning helping the poor (verses 7-11), concerning the manumission of slaves (verses 12-18), concerning the consecration of the firstborn of the flocks to God (verses 19-24): chapter 15.
ג. Concerning the stated and annual feasts, of Passover (verses 1-8), Pentecost (verses 9-11), Tabernacles (verses 12-17), where is also a law concerning the selection of judges (verses 18-20), and not planting groves (verses 21, 22): chapter 16.
d. A repetition of judicial laws, and a fuller interpretation of the same as were comprehended in Exodus: chapters 17-26. See:
α. Laws concerning the punishment of idolaters and apostates (verses 1-7): concerning the judgment of controversies civil and legal (verses 8-13): concerning the selection of a King, and His necessary characteristics (verses 14-20): chapter 17.
β. Concerning the stipend of the Priest from the offerings (verses 1-8), the removal of diviners, astrologers, soothsayers, mediums, seers, etc. (verses 9-14), with the added promise of a great Prophet, the Christ, to be raised up from the midst of His brethren (verses 15-22): chapter 18.
γ. Concerning cities of refuge (verses 1-10), the punishment of willing homicides (verses 11-13), not removing boundaries (verse 14); concerning the number and things required of witnesses (verses 15-21): chapter 19.
δ. Concerning the law of war (verses 1-4), the removal of persons from military service (verses 5-9), taking under protection those that surrender, with those excepted that are devoted to destruction (verses 10-18): with the trees not to be destroyed in the siege (verses 19, 20): chapter 20.
ε. Concerning the manner of investigating a homicide, if the one killed be found in a field (verses 1-9); concerning not contracting marriage with a foreigner (verses 10-14): concerning paternal rights over children (verses 15-21), and the removal of a hanged corpse (verses 22, 23): chapter 21.
ζ. Concerning the love of one’s neighbor, even an enemy (verses 1-4), not exchanging garments (verse 5), the care of animals, that the nest should not be destroyed with the mother bird (verses 6, 7), the manner of building one’s house and vineyards (verses 8, 9): concerning not mixing things dissimilar, like an ox and an ass for plowing, linen and wool (verses 10-12), and punishing those joined in marriage, if they accuse one another unjustly, or if they defile themselves with adultery (verses 13-22): concerning the punishment of the rape (verses 23-29), and incest (verse 30): chapter 22.
η. Concerning those that are not suited to enter into the assembly, or to engage in public ministry (verses 1-8): concerning the practice of cleanliness in the camp (verses 9-14): concerning the fugitive slave (verses 15, 16), not tolerating a harlot in Israel (verses 17, 18), not practicing usury (verse 19, 20), fulfilling vows (verses 21-23), permitting to a travel grapes and ears, by a fixed law (verses 24, 25): chapter 23.
θ. Concerning the bill of divorce (verses 1-4), the privilege of a new husband (verse 5), pledges (verse 6), manstealing (verse 7), leprosy (verses 8, 9), giving speedily the hire to one’s laborer (verses 10-15), not transferring punishment to the innocent (verse 16), humanity toward foreigners, widows, orphans, in judgment, and in produce (verses 17-22): chapter 24.
ι. Concerning the form and righteousness of trials (verse 1), the stripes of the guilty (verses 2, 3), the recompense of the laborer (verse 4), the law of the Levirate (verses 5-10), the punishment of a woman dishonestly handling an enemy (verses 11, 12), the equality of weights and measures (verses 13-16), the cutting off of the Amalekites on account of the injury done to the Israelites (verse 17-19): chapter 25.
κ. Concerning the consecration of the firstfruits (verses 1-11), the payment of tithes in the third year (verses 12-14): and finally concerning the religious keeping of the covenant with God, solemnly undertaken with mutual conditions (verses 15-19): chapter 26.
III. The sanction and solemn confirmation of the law hitherto repeated, Chapter 27-30. Now, the Law is ratified and confirmed:
1. By signs, both the stony pillars, to be erected on the other side of Jordan for this end, that the Law of God might be inscribed on them for perpetual notice and witness to the people; and the altar, to be erected from the stones of Jordan on mount Ebal (verses 1-10): chapter 27:1-10.
2. By public profession and witnessing, whereby the people by execrations pronounced on mount Ebal by the Levites binds itself, as if out of the necessity of legal observance, to observe the law, or, should they transgress, to suffer the curse (verses 11-26): chapter 27:11-26.
3. By legal promises and threats, whereby good things are declared by God to those obeying (verses 1-14), evil things to those disobeying (verses 15-68): chapter 28.
4. By solemn renewal of the covenant undertaken with the people. See:
a. The stipulation of that covenant in the plain of Moab with Israel, entered into after attestation of the experience and knowledge of the preceding works of God (verses 1-13), and also a special declaration of that, both with respect to the persons bound to the covenant (verses 14-17), and with respect to a warning of fault that was going to place the offender outside that covenant (verses 18, 19), and with respect to the punishment of that fault, agreeable to the curse written (verses 20-29): chapter 29.
b. A declaration of the same covenant, both with respect to the grace to be exercised toward the elect, with promises to them in exile of repentance (verses 1, 2), remembrance and enlargement (verses 3-5), circumcision of the heart, vengeance upon enemies (verses 6-8), blessing (verse 9), and with respect to the promise and the promulgation and inscription of the law upon the hearts of the faithful (verses 10-14), and with respect to the connection of life and faith, death and infidelity (verses 15-20): chapter 30.
IV. Moses’ Testament and Death, Chapters 31-34. See:
1. The Testament of Moses, the parts of which are:
a. A commendation of his Successor, Joshua, as Leader (verses 1-8): chapter 31:1-8.
b. A commendation of the Scripture, as the rule of all actions, to be gone over by public reading also in the seventh year during the feast of tabernacles (verses 9-13): chapter 31:9-13.
c. A description of the song of Moses, a perpetual witness of the unbelief of the people, which was
α. Charged by God upon Moses, that it might be sung, and commended to the people for perpetual memorization (verses 14-30): chapter 31:14-30.
β. Set forth with pathos by Moses, containing the Church’s future, ordained in a singular succession (verses 1-47), where also God’s commandment was given to Moses, so that in ascending mount Nebo he might compose himself for death (verses 48-52): chapter 32.
d. A Prophetic Description of the twelve tribes of Israel, with a description of Jehovah leading the way, whom he invokes over the tribes, namely, by a twofold appearance, both past at Sinai for the promulgation of the law (verses 1-4): and future, when He, having been made King in Jeshurun, will walk in the midst of the Israelites on His own feet (verse 5), after which the blessing are composed in order (verses 6-29): chapter 33.
2. The Death of Moses (verses 1-5), his burial (verses 6, 7), the mourning of the Israelites (verse 8), and the succession of Joshua, previously consecrated by Moses with the laying on of hands (verse 9), but not making an equal with the pre-eminence of Moses (verses 10-12): chapter 34.