The Old Testament | The Books of Moses


Things to know
Where does the book begin?

Deuteronomy begins with the people near the border of the promised land.

Where does the book end?

Deuteronomy ends when Moses died. The people were now ready to go into the land.

People to know


Places to go

Moses stayed behind.
Deuteronomy 3:23-29

Moses gave the Ten Commands.
Deuteronomy 5

We see the great command.
Deuteronomy 6

Do not forget God.
Deuteronomy 8:11-20

Moses sang a song.
Deuteronomy 32

The Story of Deuteronomy

This book is the last of the books of Moses. The name ‘Deuteronomy’ means the ‘second law’.

The people had been wandering in the desert for 40 years. Almost all of the adults that came out of Egypt had died there. But many people were still alive. The children of Abraham were still a large nation. Soon, they would go into the land that God promised them. So Moses wanted to talk to the people before they went. This book is a record of what he said.

As this book opens, Moses was standing on the edge of the promised land. He knew that he could not go into the land. So he called the people together to speak to them one last time. Moses reminded them of what God had said to them in the past.[1] He talked about how God cared for them when they were in the desert.[2] He wanted them to remember everything that happened on the journey. He told them not to forget God’s laws. These were the same laws that they must obey when they go into the land.[3]

Moses started with the Ten Commands.[4] Have no other gods but God. Do not worship* an idol*. Do not use God’s name in a wrong way. Remember the Sabbath*. Honour your father and mother. Do not murder. Do not have sex with another person’s husband or wife. Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not desire things that belong to someone else. He told them to keep the laws and teach them to their families.

But Moses did not want the people to only obey these laws because they were afraid of God. He wanted them to love God with all of their hearts.[5] Moses knew that if they did this, it would go well with them when they went into the land.

Then, Moses repeated many of the other laws God had given Israel*. He did not want the people to forget them when they went to live in the Promised Land. He talked to them about worship*. He gave wise words to the leaders. He reminded all of the people how to please God in all parts of life. He warned them about God’s punishments for those who failed to obey.

In the last part of the book, Moses brought the people together one last time. He spoke the words of the agreement that they made with God almost 40 years ago. He reminded them that God would do what he promised. God would bless* them when they obeyed. He would remove his blessing when they did not. Then, Moses called on the people to do what they promised.

Near the end of the book, Moses wrote a song. This song would remind them who God is and why they should obey him. So Moses told them to remember every word of it.

‘The Lord is the Rock,
    And His work is perfect!
    Yes all His ways are right!
God is true and faithful.
    He is good and honest.’[6]

Moses was not sure this group of people would obey God any better than their parents did.[7] What was missing and what they needed was a new heart.[8] When they had a new heart, they would love God, obey his laws and follow his ways.[9]

Moses chose Joshua to be the next leader. After he blessed* the people once more, Moses died. Soon, the people would enter the land that God promised them. But, first, they wept for Moses’ death for many days and added words to honour him to the end of the book.

‘Since then, Israel* has never had a prophet* like Moses. The Lord*knew him face to face. Moses did many signs and astonishing things. No one has ever had the great power Moses had. No one has ever done the wonderful acts he did in the sight of all the people.’[10]

  • [1] Deuteronomy 1:5
  • [2] Deuteronomy 1-3
  • [3] Deuteronomy 4
  • [4] Deuteronomy 5
  • [5] Deuteronomy 6:4-9
  • [6] Deuteronomy 32:4
  • [7] Deuteronomy 31:27-29
  • [8] Deuteronomy 30:6
  • [9] Deuteronomy 30:6-14
  • [10] Deuteronomy 34:10-12

The Old Testament | The Books of Moses