Book of Deuteronomy

The Book of Deuteronomy (from Ancient Greek: Δευτερονόμιον, Deuteronómion, “second law”; Hebrew: דְּבָרִים‎”) is the fifth book of the Torah and the Old Testament. The Hebrew title is taken from the opening expression Eleh ha-devarim, “These are the words…”; the English title is from a Greek mistranslation of the Hebrew expression mishneh haTorah hazoth, “a duplicate of this law”, in Deuteronomy 17:18, as to deuteronomion touto – “this second law”.

The book comprises of three sermons or addresses conveyed to the Israelite’s by Moses on the fields of Moab, in the blink of an eye before they enter the Promised Land. The main sermon summarises the forty years of wild wanderings which have prompted this minute, and finishes with a urging to watch the law (or lessons), later alluded to as the Law of Moses; the second helps the Israelite’s to remember the requirement for monotheism and recognition of the laws he has given them, on which their ownership of the land depends; and the third offers the solace that even ought to Israel demonstrate unfaithful thus lose the land, with atonement all can be restored.

One of its most critical verses is Deuteronomy 6:4, the Shema Yisrael, which has turned into the authoritative articulation of Jewish character: “Listen, O Israel: Yahweh our Elohim, Yahweh is one.” Verses 6:4–5 were likewise cited by Jesus in Mark 12:28–34 as a feature of the Great Commandment.


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