ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 283

T H E A N C I E N T N AT I O N O F I S R A E L is
finally poised to enter the land God
promised to their ancestor Abraham. The books of Exodus, Leviticus,
and Numbers have told the story of Israel’s journey from Egypt to the
edge of Canaan. God has freed his people from their slavery in Egypt
and promised them a homeland of their own. The terms of God’s covenant with them have been delivered in parts from Mount Sinai, from
the Tabernacle, and along the route to Canaan. Now, just before he
dies, Moses conveys the terms of the covenant again, all at once.
Moses uses a literary form well suited to his purpose, adapting the
kind of treaty that a high king would use in making an agreement with
other kings who are subject to him. The covenant was made using
this culturally familiar and accepted treaty form. It would govern the
relationship between the Lord and the Israelites, his “kingdom of
priests” and “holy nation.” It is also worth noting that the Ten Commandments are actually a miniature version of this kind of treaty.
The nation has been wandering in the wilderness for forty years, during which time the disobedient generation has died out. Moses knows
that the new generation needs to hear and understand their covenant
with God and embrace it for themselves. The book of Deuteronomy is
the final message delivered by Moses to this next generation of God’s
covenant people.
The book of Deuteronomy has six distinct parts that reflect the elements in a treaty between a high king and those subject to him.
Credentials of the High King’s representative (p. 273)
What God has done for Israel (pp. ­273-279)
The expectation of exclusive allegiance to God (pp. 279-281)
Israel’s duties under God (pp. 281-310)
Blessings or curses (pp. 3
­ 10-­315)
Israel’s oath and witnesses (pp. 3
­ 15-­327)
The treaty begins by listing the High King’s name and titles. In
­ euteronomy, the credentials of Moses are given because he is acting
as God’s representative.

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