Sunday, May 09, 2010: “The Old Testament: Deuteronomy: Chapters 1-28”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
A General Overview of the Old Testament
An In-Depth Discussion Led by The Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, May 9, 2010


The Old Testament — Deuteronomy: Chapters 1 – 28


Deuteronomy is different from the other books of the Torah in its atmosphere.  It is the farewell address of Moses.  It re-interprets the Torah a couple hundred years after the mass exodus.  It also sets up criteria for judging people.  There is a new focus in that once the people reach the promised land there will be one place only to worship God.


Chapters 1 through 4 are a summary of the journey; where we have been and where we are right now.  Chapter 1 discusses the rebellion of the people against God except for Caleb.  Moses blames others for the fact he himself cannot enter the promised land.  Moses asks God if he can go in but is refused.  He can only view it from afar.

Chapter 2 discusses how the land will be apportioned to different people, even those who are not Israelites.  Chapter 4 verses 1-9 are used in our lectionary.  It’s a reminder about keeping the law from generation to generation.  If you do so, you will prosper.  Scholars are now looking at other references from that time period.  They found that there were good people who did follow the law that still ended up suffering.  In some cases the people of Israel did not deserve the punishment they received.  There are still some “prosperity churches” today that preach if you follow the law, you will prosper.


The end of chapter 4 is a collection of laws.  Chapter 5 is a restatement of the Ten Commandments with a slight twist.  Chapter 6 is another passage about obeying God’s law and if you do, you will prosper.  This chapter also lists the great commandments.  Chapter 7 discusses why the Israelites were chosen by God.  Because he loved them.


In Chapter 11 there is more discussion about the laws written on the scroll and placed in the box.  This should be written on your forehead so you will remember to obey them every day.  Chapters 12 through 26 are a collection of laws.  This in fact could be “The Book of the Law” that Josiah found while restoring the temple from 640 to 609 BC.  Chapter 18 discusses how Moses declared that another prophet like himself shall arise and you shall heed him.  In Matthew, Jesus is portrayed as this prophet.  In Chapter 27 there is discussion about the tribal leaders who are divided; the blessed and the cursed on two mountains.  Finally, Chapter 28 is a summary of how if you follow certain laws you will be blessed, and if you do not follow those laws, you will be cursed.