Return of the spies (Josh 2:22-2:24)

“They departed. They went into the hill country. They stayed there three days, until the pursuers returned. The pursuers had searched all along the way and found nothing. Then the two men came down again from the hill country. They crossed over and came to Joshua son of Nun. They told him all that had happened to them. They said to Joshua. ‘Truly Yahweh has given all the land into our hands. Moreover all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before us.’”

The spies got home safe. Interesting enough we never hear the name of these two spies. After 3 days they get back to Joshua and tell him the whole story. They said the people over in Jericho were afraid of the Israelites.

The pact between Rahab and the spies (Josh 2:8-2:21)

Before they went to sleep, she came up to them on the roof. She said to the men. ‘I know that Yahweh has given you the land. The dread of you has fallen upon us. All the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. For we have heard how Yahweh dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. As soon as we heard it, our hearts melted. There was no courage left in any of us because of you. Yahweh your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by Yahweh that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them. Deliver our lives from death.’ The men said to her. ‘Our life for yours! If you do not tell this business of ours, then we will deal kindly and faithfully with you when Yahweh gives us the land.”

The agreement is simple. If all goes well with them, they will spare Rahab and her family. Rahab seems to be exceptionally well informed about Yahweh, which seems a little strange. She says that they are all afraid of the Israelites and all the things that Yahweh had done for them. However, she is willing to bargain with them. She wants to save her family. The spies are quick to respond, our life for yours.

“Then she let them down by a rope through the window. Her house was on the outer side of the city wall. Thus she resided within the wall itself. She said to them. ‘Go into the hill country, so that the pursuers may not come upon you. Hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.’ The men said to her. ‘We will be released from this oath that you have made us swear to you, if we invade the land, and you do not put this crimson cord in the window through which you let us down. If you do not gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your family then we are released. If any one of you go out of the doors of your house into the street, they shall be responsible for their own death. We shall be innocent. But if a hand is laid upon any who are with you in the house, we shall bear the responsibility for their death. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be released from this oath that you have made us swear to you.’ She said. ‘According to your words, so be it.’ Then she sent them away. After they departed, she tied the crimson cord in the window.”

The deal is confirmed with the colorful crimson cord in the window.  She tells them to go into the hill country for 3 days. The spies swear an oath to her to save her and her family. But this only applies if they are inside this house, not if they go outside or are not there. The house must have the crimson cord in the window.

The spies of Joshua at Jericho (Josh 2:1-2:7)

“Then Joshua son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies.  He said to them. ‘Go! View the land, especially Jericho.’ So they went. They entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab. They spent the night there. The King of Jericho was told. ‘Some Israelites have come here tonight to search out the land.’ Then the King of Jericho sent orders to Rahab. ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house. They have come only to search out the whole land.’ But the woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said. ‘True, men came to me. But I did not know where they came from. When it was time to close the gate at dark, the men went out. Where the men went I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you can overtake them.’”  

The Israelites were camped at Shittim, while Jericho was in the Jordan valley. Joshua sent spies out to view the land. They visited a prostitute. There is no indication why they went there. Anyhow, the King of Jericho found out about them. He asked Rahab what happened. She said that they were there but had left. She suggested that they go catch them when, in fact, she had hid them. Rahab, the prostitute, gave the leaders of Jericho the wrong information.

“She had, however, brought them up to the roof. She had hidden them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order out on the roof.  So the men pursued them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. As soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.”

Rahab had hid them on the roof. While the others were pursuing the two spies, the gate of the town was shut. So far, all is going well.

The preparations for crossing the Jordan River (Josh 1:10-1:18)

“Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people. ‘Pass through the camp. Command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions. In three days you are to cross over this Jordan, to go in to take possession of the land that Yahweh your God gives you to possess.’”

It is time to get ready, to move out to take the Promised Land on the other side of the Jordan River. You have 3 days to get ready.

“To the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said. ‘Remember the word that Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded you. ‘Yahweh your God is providing you a place of rest. He will give you this land.’ Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan. But all the warriors among you shall cross over armed before your kindred. You shall help them, until Yahweh gives rest to your kindred as well as to you. That is when they too will take possession of the land that Yahweh your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land. You shall take possession of it, the land that Moses the servant of Yahweh gave you beyond the Jordan to the east.’”

This is an obvious reference to Numbers, chapter 32. The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh already have their land on the east side of the Jordan. However, they agreed to fight with their other tribe mates on the other side of the Jordan River. They are going to leave their families behind and then return to their east side land when the victory on the other side of the Jordan is complete.

“They answered Joshua. ‘All that you have commanded us we will do. Wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may Yahweh your God be with you, as he was with Moses! Whoever rebels against your orders and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.’”

They will follow Joshua just as they followed Moses, no questions asked. If anyone disobeys or rebels against Joshua, they will be put to death. They add the Yahweh command of being strong and courageous in all that they do.


Thank you – 5

April 27, 2014

Thank you – 5


I just finished blogging the Book of Deuteronomy. Every time I finish a book of the Bible, I will send a thank you. I usually post 5 blogs a day covering a chapter or two of the biblical books. Sometimes I do not do this regularly, but I hope that to be average amount. So far I have posted about 580 blogs about the individual paragraphs of the first five books of the Torah. The Torah is now complete so I wrote a blog about that.


About 130 to 140 people have said that they are following this project.   The following people have begun following me on wordpress, the “Eugene Finnegan Bible Project,” or on searchgi since I finished the book of Numbers, last month. I just want to thank all of you.   Some of you want to moderate my comments, but that is fine with me. If you want to contact me directly, my email is


Here is the list of the new followers during this last month. Obviously all of you are not using your own name, but that is fine with me.


Sue Thompson

Mr. Smith
Bryce Gorman
Jonathan Roumain
New pingback
Jane Risdon
Levi Thetford


Peace – love – joy

Gene Finnegan

Fidelity to the law, the condition for Divine aid (Josh 1:6-1:9)

“Be strong and courageous. You shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that Moses, my servant, commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. You shall meditate on it day and night. Thus you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous. Then you shall be successful. I hereby command you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened or dismayed. For Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go.”    

As long as you follow the Mosaic laws, neither going to the right or the left, you do not need to be fearful since you will be successful. Joshua must meditate on the book of the law day and night. Yahweh tells Joshua to be strong and courageous, not frightened or upset because Yahweh will be with him wherever he goes.

The invitation to pass into the Promised Land (Josh 1:1-1:5)

“After the death of Moses the servant of Yahweh, Yahweh spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying. ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all the people, into the land which I am giving to them, to the Israelites. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and the Lebanon as far as the great river, the Euphrates River, all the land of the Hittites, to the Great Sea in the west shall be your territory. No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not fail you or forsake you.’”

The book of Joshua is a follow up to Deuteronomy. In fact, most scholars put this book in the Deuteronomic school of writings, the Deuteronomic history that was produced hundreds of years after the events described here around the 6th or 7th century BCE. It might be considered a historical book or one of the prophetic books.   Joshua as a person first came on the scene in Numbers, chapters 11, 13, 14, and 22. His name has the meaning of savior or deliver. Therefore, he is often referred to as a forerunner of Jesus the messiah. He was appointed by Moses and Yahweh to take over Moses’ task. This idealized description of the new land is greater than any part of Israel at any time. This new land goes east to west from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River, north and south from the Sinai desert to the Lebanon Mountains.


Outline of the Book of Joshua

The Book of Joshua


Joshua General Structure (per Jerusalem Bible)


I. Conquest of the Promised Land


a)      Preparations

The invitation to pass into the Promised Land (Josh 1:1-1:5)

Fidelity to the law, the condition for Divine aid (Josh 1:6-1:9)

The preparations for crossing the Jordan River (Josh 1:10-1:18)

The spies of Joshua at Jericho (Josh 2:1-2:7)

The pact between Rahab and the spies (Josh 2:8-2:21)

Return of the spies (Josh 2:22-2:24)


b)      Crossing the Jordan River

Preliminaries for the crossing of the Jordan River (Josh 3:1-3:6)

Last instructions (Josh 3:7-3:13)

The crossing of the Jordan River(Josh 3:14-3:17)

The twelve commemorative stones (Josh 4:1-4:9)

The end of the Jordan River crossing (Josh 4:10-4:18)

The arrival at Gilgal (Josh 4:19-4:24)

The fear among the western Jordan population (Josh 5:1-5:1)

The circumcision of the Hebrews (Josh 5:2-5:9)

The celebration of Passover at Gilgal (Josh 5:10-5:12)


c)      The conquest of Jericho

The theophany with Joshua (Josh 5:13-5:15)

The taking of Jericho(Josh 6:1-6:16)

Joshua vows destruction (Josh 6:17-6:21)

The preservation of the house of Rahab (Josh 6:22-6:25)

The curse on Jericho (Josh 6:26-6:27)

Violation of the destruction (Josh 7:1-7:1)

The first attach at Ai (Josh 7:2-7:5)

The prayer of Joshua (Josh 7:6-7:9)

The response of Yahweh (Josh 7:10-7:15)

The discovery and punishment of the guilty one Achan (Josh 7:16-7:26)


d)     The taking of Ai

Yahweh gives an order to Joshua (Josh 8:1-8:2)

The maneuvers of Joshua (Josh 8:3-8:13)

The battle of Ai (Josh 8:14-8:19)

The human disaster at Ai (Josh 8:20-8:25)

The destruction and ruin at Ai (Josh 8:26-8:29)


e)      The sacrifice and the reading of the law at Mount Ebal

The altar of stones at Mount Ebal (Josh 8:30-8:31)

The reading of the Law (Josh 8:32-8:35)


f)       The treaty between Israel and the Gibeonites

The coalition against Israel (Josh 9:1-9:2)

The trap of the Gibeonites (Josh 9:3-9:18)

The state of the Gibeonites (Josh 9:19-9:27)


g)      The coalition of the five Amorite kings and conquest of southern Palestine

The five kings and the war with the Gibeonites (Josh 10:1-10:5)

Joshua helps Gibeon (Josh 10:6-10:9)

The help of heaven (Josh 10:10-10:15)

The five kings escape to the cave at Makkedah (Josh 10:16-10:27

The conquest of southern Canaan (Josh 10:28-10:39)

Recapitulation of the capture of the south (Josh 10:40-10:43)


h)      The conquest of the north

Coalition of the kings of the north (Josh 11:1-11:4)

The victory at Merom (Josh 11:5-11:9)

Taking of Hazor and the other cities of the north (Josh 11:10-11:14)

The mandate of Moses executed by Joshua (Josh 11:15-11:20)

The extermination of the Anakim (Josh 11:21-11:23)


i)        Recapitulation

The kings conquered east of the Jordan (Josh 12:1-12:6)

The kings conquered west of the Jordan (Josh 12:7-12:21)


II. Partition of the country among the tribes


a)      Description of the tribes on the Transjordan

Countries that remain to be conquered (Josh 13:1-13:7

A sketch of the area(Josh 13:8-13:14)

The tribe of Reuben (Josh 13:15-13:23)

The tribe of Gad (Josh 13:24-13:28)

The half tribe of Manasseh (Josh 13:29-13:33)


b)      Description of the three great tribes on the west Jordan

Introduction (Josh 14:1-14:5)

The role of Caleb (Josh 14:6-14:15)

The tribe of Judah (Josh 15:1-15:12)

Caleb occupies the territory of Hebron (Josh 15:13-15:19)

The list of the names of the places for the tribe of Judah (Josh 15:20-15:63)

The tribe of Ephraim (Josh 16:1-16:10)

The other half tribe of Manasseh (Josh 17:1-17:13)

The sons of Joseph told to clear the forests (Josh 17:14-17:18)


c)      Description of the seven other tribes

The disposition of the other seven tribes (Josh 18:1-18:10)

The tribe of Benjamin (Josh 18:11-18:20)

The towns of Benjamin(Josh 18:21-18:28)

The tribe of Simeon(Josh 19:1-19:9)

The tribe of Zebulun (Josh 19:10-19:16)

The tribe of Issachar(Josh 19:17-19:23)

The tribe of Asher(Josh 19:24-19:31)

The tribe of Naphtali(Josh 19:32-19:39)

The tribe of Dan(Josh 19:40-19:48)

The town for Joshua(Josh 19:49-19:51)


d)     Privileged towns

The refuge towns (Josh 20:1-20:9)

The Levitical towns(Josh 21:1-21:8)

The towns for the Kohathites(Josh 21:9-21:26)

The towns for the Gershonites(Josh 21:27-21:33)

The towns for the Merarites (Josh 21:34-21:42)

Conclusion of the distribution(Josh 21:43-21:45)

III.  The end of the career of Joshua


a)      The return of the eastern tribes and the question of the their altar

Joshua blesses and sends the trans-Jordan tribes home (Josh 22:1-22:8)

Erection of the altar(Josh 22:9-22:12)

The Israelites address the tribes of the east(Josh 22:13-22:20)

Justification of the tribes on the other side of the Jordan (Josh 22:21-22:29)

An understanding is reached (Josh 22:30-22:34)


b)      The last discourse of Joshua

Joshua reminds them that the work continues (Josh 23:1-23:5)

How to conduct yourself among strangers (Josh 23:6-23:16)


c)      The grand assembly at Shechem

Remembering Yahweh’s call to Israel (Josh 24:1-24:13)

Israel choices Yahweh (Josh 24:14-24:24)

The covenant at Shechem (Josh 24:25-24:28)


d)     Appendix

The death of Joshua (Josh 24:29-24:31)

The bones of Joseph (Josh 24:32-24:32)

The death of Eleazar (Josh 24:33-24:33)


Torah or Pentateuch

One of the most interesting problems is what to call the first five books of the Bible. Pentateuch seems to be the easiest because these are the first five books of the Bible. As the Greek based word Pentateuch means five and it is an old English word this seems to be the answer, the Pentateuch.

However, the question remains are these five books part of the Jewish Bible or the Old Testament Christian Bible? The answer at first glance is that they are part of both. However, the fact is that these books were established in some set format before the time that Jesus of Nazareth or any of his followers come on the scene. These five books have nothing to do with Jesus Christ. Jesus and his followers knew about these books and probably read them, if they could read. Nevertheless, these five books were adopted by the followers of Jesus, but only after a minor dispute with Marcion in the second century as to whether they were necessary for Christians. Certainly Jerome in the fourth century made them part of the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Greek Septuagint. The Latin Vulgate became the Christian Bible that served western Christianity for over a thousand years. For the sake of argument we can simply say that Christians have accepted these five books, the Pentateuch, to be the first five books of their Bible, or more specifically the first five books of the Old Testament.

Thus the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Christian Old Testament, was not created by Christians. The early Christians adopted these books as they understood them as part of their holy scripture as Jesus and his Jewish followers had done. Who then created these holy books? For many Christians the answer is God. This is God’s word. How did God write or present these books to humans. These books were originally written in Hebrew, not Greek, nor in Shakespeare English, as some might believe.

So now we have to go to a Jewish source to find out about these books. Where did they come from? Jewish Hebrew writers appear to be the correct answer. Traditionally, these five books were called the Mosaic books, written by Moses. In fact, many Christians and Jews today believe that God dictated to Moses these written works which he wrote down. In fact, the Book of Deuteronomy seems to indicate that this is the case when it talks about Moses writing a book. Now let me sure that you understand that Moses was not a disciple of Jesus. Therefore, these books are not Christian in origin or purpose, no matter who wrote them.

These first five books of the Bible are Jewish Mosaic books. Both Christians and Jews believe that God inspired Moses or someone to write these holy books so that they have become known as the holy writings, Holy Scripture, or the ‘Word of God.’ They are in fact words about God and his relationship to a group of people known as Israelites, a term that appears a lot. I translated it as Israelites, but others have used terms like ‘children of Israel,’ or ‘people of Israel.’ Israel is the name given to Jacob who had twelve sons from four different women that became the twelve tribes of Israel.

There are numerous Hebrew terms for God, but Yahweh is the predominate one, used over 6,800 times. As I am using the Jerusalem Bible, this was their exclusive term in their earlier editions. Quite often the term ‘the LORD’ appears in English translations. However, this is a particular English term with hints of feudalism in it. In fact, England does have a ‘House of Lords’ as the upper house of their parliament. Many religious have appropriated this term to apply to their deity. Lord comes from the Greek kurios, but these were Hebrew writings. Therefore, I stuck with the unique word ‘Yahweh,’ based on the non-vowel Hebrew Tetragrammaton ‘YHWH.’ Strangely enough, Tetragrammaton is a Greek word. I also know that many Jewish people do not use the term ‘Yahweh’ when reading of speaking about God, but use Adonai or the name of God when addressing God, especially since the Second Temple times. They feel that it is too holy of a name to pronounce. I am also aware that Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 recommended that Yahweh not be used in any Roman Catholic liturgical services, since it was offensive to Jews. However, the factual use of the term better illustrates the uniqueness of Yahweh God than the more generic ‘the LORD. This I will continue to use this term, even if it is offensive to some people. In fact, Yahweh may have been the name of some gods among the Canaanites or Moabites around the first millennium, 1,000 BCE.

Now back to our Jewish Bible. The Hebrew canon of the Bible is called the Tanakh,which is an acronym for their three main divisions of the Bible, Torah, Nevi’im, and Katuvim, TaNaKh. The first of these three parts of the Tanakh is the Torah, or the law, the teachings, which consists of five books with the Hebrew title the first word of the book: (1) Bereshit, In the beginning, Genesis; (2) Shemot, Names, Exodus; (3) Vayikra, And He called, Leviticus; (4) Bəmidbar, In the desert Numbers; (5) Devarim, Things or Words, Deuteronomy. These are the five books that make up the Jewish Torah, the Jewish law, of the Hebrew Tanakh. So we are clear. We are dealing with Hebrew sacred writings of the Jewish people. These writings were later accepted into the Christian Bible as the Old Testament. This is where we come up with the Greek English names that we use today, (1) Genesis, origins; (2) Exodus, going out; (3) Leviticus, relating to the Levites; (4) Numbers, numbering of the Israelites; (5) Deuteronomy, the second law.

There is no doubt that these are ancient oral stories that existed for hundreds of years before they were written down. We might call some of these stories folk tales or fairy tales. Most scholars agree that the ancient belief that Moses literally wrote all these books cannot be held today. The fact that it records his death goes against that literal interpretation. However, the opposite is also true. These are Mosaic inspired oral stories that cannot be disputed. There must be something behind these stories. The nineteenth century four source theory put the actual writing of the texts between 800 and 450 BCE. Two of the sources were the Jahwist and the Elohist sources based on the name of God used. For me, the Jahwist dominated. These would be the older oral tales where Yahweh God is more capricious and angry. The Elohist God is more laid back. The other two sources were more concerned with laws and commandments. The Priestly God and the Deuteronomist God is more concerned about following the laws. However, the Deuteronomist source talks about following the law with love from your heart and soul. The Priestly source is more legalistic, and probably the final editor of these books. Nevertheless, there are many strains and stories combined in these five books. Somewhere around the fifth century BCE these Hebrew books got their final form. However, the actual text with all its uniformity of vowels and consonants does not occur until the early Middle Ages with the Masoretic texts in the Middle East from the seventh to the tenth century CE. This is precisely the same time when the western Christian monks are producing Latin versions of the Vulgate Bible in their scriptoriums.

The five books of Moses contain the following stories: 1) Prehistory before Abraham; 2) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; 3) Joseph; 4) Moses; 5) Exodus from Egypt; 6) Covenant at Mount Sinai; 7) Building the Tabernacle; 8) Aaron and laws for sacrifice offerings; 9) Holiness Code; 10) Unbelief in the wilderness; 11) Forty year wanderings in the desert; 12) The capture of the east side of the Jordan River; 13) Moses speeches; 14) Deuteronomic Code; 15) the end of Moses; 16) and the new leader Joshua.

What did the Torah mean to the Jewish people? Everything, their whole life and being was dependent on these stories and the laws, ordinances, statues, and commandments contained in these books. Torah means teachings. This is not merely a story book or a legal document. They are bound together. The land was everything. It was tied to God Yahweh and his commandments. Everything came from Yahweh. This was a Theo-centric world. Everything made sense within this world with Yahweh as its leader. Moses was the great intercessor. He interpreted Yahweh’s words for the Israelite people. He pleaded with Yahweh to save his people. There is an intense relationship between Yahweh and Moses and his people. It is a great love-hate relationship with betrayal and great forgiveness. However, it is a brutal world. People do die. People need to be punished. The rewards are long life, many children, and great land to prosper on. The punishments are separation from the community, uncleanness, and death.

If I were Jewish I would call these books the Torah.   However, Torah within the Jewish community has a wider meaning since it also includes oral teachings not written down, sometimes referred to as Midrash or Talmud. However, I am a Christian with a Jewish base. I accept and believe that the Old Testament or the Jewish writings are sacred divine writings, and part of the Bible. These human Hebrew words are the words that God wanted the Israelites to follow, neither to the right or left. Of more importance for a Christian is the fact that Jesus and his followers considered the Torah to be their law. So whenever they talk about the law they are referring to the Torah, which are the laws and commandments in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. If we accept the fact that Jesus was certainly Jewish, then we have to accept the Hebrew writings as he did, the Torah. So it is that I have finished reading and commenting on the first five books of the Torah as well as the first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch. Let the debate continue.


My Understanding of Deuteronomy

The Book of Deuteronomy purports to be the last words of Moses as it reports his death and burial near Mount Nebo. At the same time it talks about a book that Moses is writing. This is the origin of the idea that Moses wrote the whole Torah or at least this Book of Deuteronomy. Most contemporary biblical scholars, however, date this book between 700 and 400 BCE, which would mean that it was written about 800 to 1,000 years after the death of Moses.

Deuteronomy presents Moses apparently giving three long sermons before his death. Parts of this work have Moses speaking in the first person singular, ‘I,’ which has beautiful moving descriptions of how Moses felt as he led the Israelites from Egypt up to eastern banks of the Jordan River. This personal touch is lost in the later parts of this book where there is a switch to the third person singular, describing Moses and his actions with a return to the more prosaic ‘Moses says.’

Deuteronomy is somewhat of a duplication of the stories in the other books of the Torah. Moses is there on the plains of Moab, on the east side of the Jordan River, as they plan to take the land on the west side, Canaan, the Promise Land, the land flowing with milk and honey. Moses is telling his people what has happened to them, the Israelites, since they left Egypt. He continually reminds them about their unbelief, especially at Kadesh and at Peor. He also related the conquests on the east side of the Jordan, against King Sihon and Og.

The Ten Commandments are also part of the larger Deuteronomic Code, but they are not from Mount Sinai as in Exodus, but from Mount Horeb. Throughout this work, Mount Sinai is usually referred to as Mount Horeb. The Ten Commandment stone tablets were placed within the Ark of the Covenant. The Israelites wanted Moses to be their intercessor with Yahweh since they were afraid that they would die if they had to speak with Yahweh face to face. Moses then became their intercessor and interpreter with Yahweh.

There was an emphasis on the greatness of Yahweh and his divine choice of Israel. Yahweh is all powerful. Love of Yahweh is the essence of the law. Following the commandments of Yahweh is an act of love, not a legalistic action. Thus the Israelites had to remain faithful to Yahweh which made them a separate people, chosen by Yahweh with a divine favor.

There were trials in the desert. However, there would be more temptations to come in the Promise Land. Victory belonged to Yahweh, not to the Israelites. The Israelites had to circumcise their hearts. There were both promises and warnings as they prepared to enter the new land. Aaron died at Mount Hor while Eleazar, his son, took over as the new high priest.

The Deuteronomic code determines that there will be one place to worship without mentioning Jerusalem. This new place of worship will be ‘the place where Yahweh chooses.’ This work talks continuously about this ‘place where Yahweh will choose to glorify his name.’ Since all this takes place before the Israelites came into Canaan, they could not say Jerusalem. However, the hints are very clear.

All the sacrifices had to be very precise. Nevertheless, they had to fight against the seduction of the Canaanite cult and idolatry in general. They are reminded about the clean and unclean animals. There is a difference between the annual tithing and the third year tithing, which is local. There are the details about the Sabbatical year. They were told how you to deal with their fellow Hebrew slaves. They had to dedicate the first-born of their animals and the first fruits of their crops to Yahweh.

The feast days were to be all celebrated in the place that Yahweh will choose. The great feast days were Passover, the Unleavened Bread, Weeks, and Booths. The judges were to act with justice and not accept bribes. There should be no deviations in how worship is conducted. The decisions of the Levite judges were to be followed under pain of death. A king in the new land would be okay. The Levite priests could go the place to be named later. You had to learn the difference between true and false prophets.

The laws of retaliation were clear, an eye for an eye, no more and no less. Murderers could go the refuge towns as long as they were not premeditated killers. Otherwise the avenger of blood, the next of kin of the killed one, could step in and kill the murderer.

You had to accept your neighbor’s boundaries. No one could be convicted with one witness alone since it had to be two or three. When you conquered a town, you killed all the males but took the women, children, and all their possessions as yours. If a town found a corpse, and they did not know who murdered the person, they had to have an absolution rite to cleanse that town.

There was a lot about the family and marriage. You could marry a captured woman after a month of mourning for her family. Even if you had two wives, the oldest son got the double birth right. Disobedient sons were to be put to death by stoning. You had to be careful about a young girl’s reputation as a virgin. Adultery and rape were punishable by death. Unmarried women who have sex with a man, had to marry the man they had sex with. Nocturnal emissions made you unclean for a day. One divorce seemed to be okay. The laws of the levirate marriage say that if your brother died without children, you had to marry your brother’s widow. Certain people were excluded from the community for a few generations even if they marry into it.

You had to help your neighbor with his animals. You could not charge interest to fellow Israelites, but interest to strangers was fine. You could eat your neighbor’s crop if you just took a handful. You had to make sure your roof was safe. There should be no cross-dressing. You could not take a mother bird from her nest. If someone was hanged, they had to be buried the same day. You had to keep your seeds, animals, and clothing separate. You had to keep accurate weights and measures and not cheat people.

You had to give the first fruits of your field, vine, and herd to Yahweh. On the third year of tithing the tithe stayed in town for the Levites, the poor, the widows, and the orphans. You had to write the laws in plaster. Moses gave a series of curses and blessings as he reminded them of the struggles to come, which might be a hint at the later exiles and the need for conversion. As Moses finally finished his sermons, he once again reminded them of the Exodus and the covenant for future generations.

Moses handed things over to Joshua. He wanted them to have a ritual reading of the law. Then the law was placed before the Ark of the Covenant. The law is the source of life. Moses then recited his famous Canticle. He then blessed the individual tribes. He died and was buried at Mount Nebo on the east bank of the Jordan River. Now it is on to Joshua and his exploits as they try to cross the Jordan River and enter the new land.