Deuteronomy is a book in the Bible. It is the last of the five books of Moses, meaning it deals with Moses, the Israelites and their ancestors, and their relationship with God. It is part of the Torah. The Hebrew name of the book is Dbariym, which means ‘people of the Word.’
The book begins with the words Moses spoke to the Israelites in the wilderness east of the Jordan. He told them that they had been very rebellious towards God, so God made them travel from place to place before reaching the land he promised them. This was the fortieth year they travelled.
Moses told the Israelites what had happened throughout their journey. He scolded them for disobeying God, who made them go through a very hard journey. Moses then gave them the Law, teaching them what must be done, and what cannot be done. These laws were given to him by God. (See Ten Commandments.) The Law warns against worshipping other gods, and tells that all Israel, every one, must obey God alone. He warned them against worshipping idols, and commanded them to treat the poor, foreigners, and orphans well. If the Israelites obey God, they will prosper (be successful). But God predicted that the future generations will suffer because of their disobedience. One day, however the Israelites would return to God.
God then commanded Moses to write the Law on stone tablets for the Israelites to remember. Then Moses formally made Joshua, son of Nun, the new leader over the Israelites. God gave Moses a song to sing, and asked him to teach it to the Israelites. The song would remind them in the future about how they had gone against God.
The death of Moses
Moses was very old – 120 years – during that time. He knew he was going to die because God had told him it would happen. Therefore, before he died, he gave a blessing to all the twelve tribes of Israel.
Finally God made Moses climb Mount Nebo and showed him all the land he was giving to Israel. Because Moses and his brother Aaron disobeyed God earlier on, Moses was not allowed to enter the land, only to see it. Moses died on Mount Nebo, and the Israelites mourned for him for thirty days. After that Joshua began to lead Israel under God’s command.