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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

Deuteronomy - Introduction

Deuteronomy presents itself as an address by Moses to Israel just before the invasion of the promised land. Moses proclaims the law by which Israel is to shape its life in the land as God's faithful people. This law (Deut 12–26 ) calls on Israel to reform itself. It urges exclusive loyalty to the LORD by demanding that all sacrificial worship be centralized in a single location. It also seeks to make Israel a just and humane society by advocating concern for the poor and disadvantaged. Moses prefaces this law by reviewing the history of the last generation (chs. 1–4 ) and motivating Israel to careful obedience (chs. 5–11 ). After teaching the law, Moses refers to the future implications of the covenant * that God has established (chs. 27–30 ) and recites two poems (chs. 32–33 ). Narratives * about the transition of leadership and the death of Moses (chs. 31, 34 ) lead into the upcoming narratives about Israel's conquest (Joshua) and life in the land (Judges, 1–2 Samuel, 1–2 Kings).

The law of reform in Deuteronomy was originally produced in a time of religious, political, and social crisis. Religious loyalty was being undermined by the worship of other gods and an unfaithful monarchy. Some classes of society had fallen into poverty. There are indications that Deuteronomy was originally directed to the northern kingdom of Israel rather than to Judah. Deuteronomy was later expanded to serve as the introduction to the Deuteronomistic * History (see the introduction to Joshua). The distinctive theology, style, and language of Deuteronomy strongly influenced that later work.

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