A Summary to Make it Stick

Deuteronomy may be repetitive of the other 4 Books of Law, but thats also what makes it such a great book!

Lessons Learned: The Repetition is Purposeful

There's little that can be considered new information in Deuteronomy; it's mostly a rehash of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. The information that is new is just added details to things we've already been told (such as where they are to bring offerings). That's not to say that it's a waste of time to read this book, in fact, I found Deuteronomy to be even more important to read! Where Leviticus was quite hard to get through, and Numbers has several lists (census, places camped, etc.) that you may be tempted to skip, Deuteronomy was actually a pretty easy and straight forward read. I would say Deuteronomy is the high level summary, with Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers proving the supplemental details. The whole purpose of Deuteronomy is to introduce us to the law and establish it's place in the covenant.

Repetition is used throughout the Books of Law, but Deuteronomy itself is a repetition of the Books of Law. In one of his addresses, Moses says the law was to be read every 7 years to the whole congregation, which sheds light on why there is such repetition. The people of Israel didn't have the internet where they could just log in and check the law, or even books that they could keep in their homes for reference. It's possible (and likely) that most of the Israelites may not have even been able to read! Repetition would help them remember the law as it was passed to them orally.

Walking away from Deuteronomy, the repetition of the book left me with two main points: idolatry is a horrible thing that God absolutely hates, and it is important for us to provide for the poor and less fortunate. It seemed like every chapter touches on at least one of these two topics.

I find it ironic however, that despite God's insistence upon helping the poor, evangelical Christians are more likely to be Republican in the United States, and thus support cutting public assistance programs which are designed to provide for the poor.[1] Of course, there is the positive that religious people (in general, not specifically Christians) are more likely to donate to charities.[2] Though, it seems odd that people are willing to donate to a charity but not ok with public assistance programs. Whatever the case, Deuteronomy makes it very clear that as servants of God, we should be concerned for our fellow man. Based on God's law, churches should be running their own public assistance programs (perhaps then we wouldn't need a governmental one).

The first 5 books of the Bible are meant to introduce us to God: Who He is, what He has done, and How He expects us to behave. Deuteronomy concludes this message with a recap of the other books. I found it refreshing in a way I can't really describe... As I approached the last few chapters of Deuteronomy, I actually found myself growing sad to read about Moses' impending death. I already knew he was going to die, but I was so caught up in the text that I actually felt the loss of a great prophet. That was a new level of connection to the Word for me.

Can you imagine if preachers today were as righteous and connected to God as Moses?

Deuteronomy is heavily quoted from throughout the Bible; a solid foundation of this book is needed to understand the Bible as a whole. Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy to shut down Satan 3 times! Not only does this tell us about God's power, but it reiterates the importance of God's law, even under the New Testament. We are to keep these words in our heart because they are our defense against Satan and his army. Top


[1] Porter, Eduardo. "The Republican Party's Strategy to Ignore Poverty". The New York Times. October 2015
[2] Daniels, Alex. "Religious Americans Give More, New Study Finds". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. November 2013

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