Please choose a passage to read our commentary:
Moses exhorts the Israelites to obey God’s commandments by reminding them of God’s manifestation at Mount Horeb (Sinai) where He established a covenant relationship with them, to make them a nation that serves a priestly function if they would walk in obedience.
The LORD demands exclusive loyalty from the Israelites because He alone is God.
The Ten Commandments were God’s gift to Israel and were first given on Mount Sinai when Israel was redeemed from bondage in Egypt.
The LORD prohibits the Israelites from worshipping idols.
God warned Israel against misusing His name because He will punish anyone who dishonors Him.
The LORD asks Israel to observe the Sabbath as a reminder of their redemption from slavery in Egypt.
God asks the Israelites to honor their parents so that they might live a long and prosperous life in the Promised Land.
The Israelites are commanded not to commit murder.
God prohibits Israel from committing adultery.
The LORD commands His people not to steal.
The LORD prohibits His people against false testimony.
The LORD prohibits covetousness.
At Mount Sinai, all the heads of Israel’s tribes urged Moses to serve as Israel’s intercessor because they all were afraid when they heard God’s voice and saw His glory being displayed in a blazing fire.
The LORD accepted Israel’s request for Moses to serve as their mediator. So, He commanded Moses to tell the people to return to their tents while Moses alone would stay near Him in order to receive the instructions for the people.
The book of Deuteronomy is the fifth and last book of the Torah (“law”). It continues the story of the first 4 books and picks up exactly where the book of Numbers ends (with the people on the plain of Moab). Therefore, as we set the context for the book of Deuteronomy, it is important that we briefly summarize the theme of the previous books to see how the story of God unfolds.
Genesis describes God’s plan to bless the Israelites and the world through one man named Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3). Exodus focuses on God’s loving act by which He rescued the Israelites from Egypt in order to have a covenant relationship with them. Once the children of Israel are redeemed, Leviticus instructs them to live a holy life that reflects the life of their covenant redeemer (cf. Lev. 19). Since the first generation of the Israelites failed to obey God wholeheartedly, the book of Numbers displays a strong contrast between God’s faithfulness and the nation’s failure. That is why the book of Deuteronomy reiterates and expands on the covenant to a new generation of Israelites poised to enter and conquer the Promised Land. The message of the book is centered around two key terms: love and loyalty (Deut. 6:4-5).
Outline of Deuteronomy:
I. Introduction: Moses will explain the law (1:1 – 5)
II. Moses’ First Sermon – a Recounting of the LORD’s Faithfulness (1:6 – 4:43)
III. Introduction to Second Sermon on expositing the Law (4:43 – 49)
IV. Moses’ Second Sermon – an Exposition of the Law Given at Mt. Sinai (5:1 – 26:19)
V. Script for Covenant Renewal Ceremony Once they enter the land (27:1 – 29:1)
VI. Moses’ Third Sermon – a Call to Obedience (29:2 – 30:20)
VII. The Last Acts of Moses (31:1 – 34:12)
Deuteronomy 5 begins the exposition of the covenantal principles by which the Israelites were to live in the Promised Land as vassals or servants of Yahweh. This chapter is divided into three parts.
• The first part deals with Moses’s exhortation to Israel to obey God’s commandments. Here, Moses reminds the people of God’s manifestation at Mount Horeb (Sinai) where He established a covenant relationship with them and promised that if they walked in obedience as a nation, they would serve a priestly function to other nations (vv. 1-5).
• The second part deals with Moses’s restatement of the Ten Commandments God gave to Israel at Mount Sinai after redeeming them from bondage in Egypt (vv. 6-21).
• The third part focuses on exhorting Israel to fear God and walk in obedience by reminding them of the time when their elders asked Moses to be the mediator between the LORD and His people, because the Israelites were afraid upon hearing God’s voice from the midst of the fire at Mount Sinai (vv. 22-33).
Essentially, this chapter serves to encourage Israel to be loyal to their Suzerain (Ruler) God by reminding them of their past commitments with Him at Mount Horeb (Sinai). It provides assurance that God will keep His part of the bargain and see to their success if they will walk faithfully, as well as reminding them that they experienced that God is a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24).
It also reminds Israel of the three pillars of self-governance set up by God as the social order for His priestly nation: rule of law, private property, and consent of the governed.