The New Covenant Promised By Yahweh – Part 1

We have seen in previous studies that Israel entered into covenant agreements with Yahweh at Sinai, Moab and Shechem, committing to obey and have Yahweh as their God, and to be His people (Exodus 19:5-9, 24:3-8, Deuteronomy 26:16-19, 27:1-10, 29:1, 10-15, 31:24-26, Joshua 24:14-28).

On each occasion the people of Israel swore an oath and committed themselves in a covenant relationship to take Yahweh as their God (their only God), to obey and to serve Him and to keep the covenant.

Even during this time Yahweh knew that they would fail in their promises and commitments, and that a covenant of a different kind, a ‘new’ covenant would be required in the future.

Deuteronomy 31:16-20 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers; and this people will rise up, and play the prostitute after the strange gods of the land, where they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come on them; so that they will say in that day, Haven’t these evils come on us because our God is not among us?
18 I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evil which they shall have worked, in that they are turned to other gods.
19 Now therefore write you this song for you, and teach you it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.
20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I swore to their fathers, flowing with milk and honey, and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and grown fat; then will they turn to other gods, and serve them, and despise me, and break my covenant.

Deuteronomy 31:26-29 WEB
Take this book of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of Yahweh your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.
27 For I know your rebellion, and your stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, you have been rebellious against Yahweh; and how much more after my death?
28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to witness against them.
29 For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will happen to you in the latter days; because you will do that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

Joshua 24:19-24 WEB
Joshua said to the people, You can’t serve Yahweh; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your disobedience nor your sins.
20 If you forsake Yahweh, and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you evil, and consume you, after that he has done you good.
21 The people said to Joshua, No; but we will serve Yahweh.
22 Joshua said to the people, You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen you Yahweh, to serve him. They said, We are witnesses.
23 Now therefore put away, [said he], the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to Yahweh, the God of Israel.
24 The people said to Joshua, Yahweh our God will we serve, and to his voice will we listen.

Why would the people be unfaithful and break the covenant and turn from Yahweh, bringing all the curses upon themselves?

Deuteronomy 29:4 WEB
but Yahweh has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, to this day.

Will that be the end of it for Israel?

Deuteronomy 30:1-8 WEB
It shall happen, when all these things are come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where Yahweh your God has driven you,
2 and shall return to Yahweh your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul;
3 that then Yahweh your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where Yahweh your God has scattered you.
4 If [any of] your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will Yahweh your God gather you, and from there will he bring you back:
5 and Yahweh your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.
6 Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.
7 Yahweh your God will put all these curses on your enemies, and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.
8 You shall return and obey the voice of Yahweh, and do all his commandments which I command you this day.

Is this the ‘new covenant’ that Jeremiah later foretold?

Jeremiah 31:31-33 WEB
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh.
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:

Jeremiah 24:6-7 WEB
For I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Yahweh: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

Notice a few important points here:

The covenant is to be made with Israel (northern 10 tribes) and Judah (southern tribes), ‘Israel’ in total.

It is a ‘new’ covenant – Strongs 2319: a fresh new thing in both time and quality.
Different from (not like) the one they broke.
Yahweh’s law would be within them, upon their hearts.
They will turn to Yahweh with their whole hearts.

Is this what Yahweh said in Deuteronomy?

Deuteronomy 30:6 WEB
Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.

Is this confirmed elsewhere?

Jeremiah 32:37-41 WEB
Behold, I will gather them out of all the countries, where I have driven them in my anger, and in my wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them again to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
38 and they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
40 and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from following them, to do them good; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me.
41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

(Notice: an everlasting covenant)

Ezekiel 37:23-27 WEB
neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
24 My servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my ordinances, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 They shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, in which your fathers lived; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children, forever: and David my servant shall be their prince for ever.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore.
27 My tent also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

(Notice: an everlasting covenant of peace)

Hosea 2:18-20 WEB
In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, And with the birds of the sky, And with the creeping things of the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land, And will make them lie down safely.
19 I will betroth you to me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion.
20 I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness; And you shall know Yahweh.

(Notice: this covenant will involve the creatures of creation)

Isaiah 61:8-9 WEB
For I, Yahweh, love justice, I hate robbery with iniquity; and I will give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which Yahweh has blessed.

Ezekiel 11:16-20 WEB
Therefore say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Whereas I have removed them far off among the nations, and whereas I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them a sanctuary for a little while in the countries where they are come.
17 Therefore say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
18 They shall come there, and they shall take away all the detestable things of it and all the abominations of it from there.
19 I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh;
20 that they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

Ezekiel 16:59-60 WEB
For thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will also deal with you as you have done, who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant.
60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish to you an everlasting covenant.

Ezekiel 36:24-28 WEB
For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.
28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Summary
History and the biblical record show that the people of Israel, as predicted, failed to keep the covenants they entered into with Yahweh their God. As told beforehand they went into idolatry etc and brought all the curses prescribed in the covenants upon themselves, being defeated, enslaved, deported – many lost completely out of the land and scattered amongst the nations of the world. But this wasn’t to be the end for God’s people – Yahweh has a ‘new covenant’ for them, a covenant that will impact the whole of creation.

We will continue to explore this and learn more of the ‘new covenant’ in the next part of this series.

The Shechem Covenant

When Israel were firmly established in the promised land, and Yahweh had given them rest from their enemies (Joshua 23:1), Joshua was now old and near the end of his life and he summoned all Israel before him – somewhat similar to Moses before him.
For a final time he addressed Israel to reiterate all their recent history and the gravity of their covenant relationship with their God, Yahweh.

Joshua 23:2-3 WEB
that Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and for their heads, and for their judges and for their officers, and said to them, I am old and well stricken in years:
3 and you have seen all that Yahweh your God has done to all these nations because of you; for Yahweh your God, he it is that has fought for you.

Did Joshua admonish them to keep all the law of Moses (see the Moab Covenant)?

Joshua 23:6 WEB
Therefore be you very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that you not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left;

Did he warn them against turning back from loving and obeying Yahweh?

Joshua 23:11-12 WEB
Take good heed therefore to yourselves, that you love Yahweh your God.
12 Else if you do at all go back, and cleave to the remnant of these nations, even these who remain among you, and make marriages with them, and go in to them, and they to you;

Does Joshua remind them that Yahweh has not failed in a single promise?

Joshua 23:14 WEB
Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing has failed of all the good things which Yahweh your God spoke concerning you; all are happen to you, not one thing has failed of it.

Does he warn them against breaking the covenant of Yahweh, and turning to other gods?

Joshua 23:16 WEB
When you disobey the covenant of Yahweh your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow down yourselves to them; then will the anger of Yahweh be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land which he has given to you.

In chapter 24 at Shechem, Yahweh reminds them through Joshua of everything that He had done starting with Abraham (please read the whole chapter):

Joshua 24:2-4 WEB
Joshua said to all the people, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Your fathers lived of old time beyond the River, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor: and they served other gods.
3 I took your father Abraham from beyond the River, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
4 I gave to Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave to Esau Mount Seir, to possess it: and Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

Joshua 24:6 WEB
I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and you came to the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and with horsemen to the Red Sea.

Joshua 24:11 WEB
You went over the Jordan, and came to Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Girgashite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I delivered them into your hand.

Joshua 24:13 WEB
I gave you a land whereon you had not labored, and cities which you didn’t build, and you dwell therein; of vineyards and olive groves which you didn’t plant do you eat.

Joshua advises them that in light of all this that they ought to sincerely and faithfully serve Yahweh – and he puts them on the spot to ‘choose whom you will serve’:

Joshua 24:14-15 WEB
Now therefore fear Yahweh, and serve him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt; and serve you Yahweh.
15 If it seem evil to you to serve Yahweh, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.

The people answered decisively and chose Yahweh:

Joshua 24:16-18 WEB
The people answered, Far be it from us that we should forsake Yahweh, to serve other gods;
17 for Yahweh our God, he it is who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way in which we went, and among all the peoples through the midst of whom we passed;
18 and Yahweh drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land: therefore we also will serve Yahweh; for he is our God.

However, Joshua had some reservations – ‘can you really serve Yahweh as you say? And think what will happen IF you forsake Him!’:

Joshua 24:19-20 WEB
Joshua said to the people, You can’t serve Yahweh; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your disobedience nor your sins.
20 If you forsake Yahweh, and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you evil, and consume you, after that he has done you good.

Nevertheless, the people insisted they could and they would:

Joshua 24:21 WEB
The people said to Joshua, No; but we will serve Yahweh.

Joshua said ‘ok but you are witnesses against yourselves!’, and they said ‘alright, so be it’:

Joshua 24:22 WEB
Joshua said to the people, You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen you Yahweh, to serve him. They said, We are witnesses.

So Joshua said ‘well you had better get rid of all the foreign gods that you still have among you, and seriously turn your hearts to Yahweh the God of Israel’:

Joshua 24:23 WEB
Now therefore put away, [said he], the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to Yahweh, the God of Israel.

And the people confirmed:

Joshua 24:24 WEB
The people said to Joshua, Yahweh our God will we serve, and to his voice will we listen.

So that day a covenant was made and ratified with the people of Israel at Shechem, just prior to Joshua’s death:

Joshua 24:25-27 WEB
So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
26 Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a great stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of Yahweh.
27 Joshua said to all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it has heard all the words of Yahweh which he spoke to us: it shall be therefore a witness against you, lest you deny your God.

Notice that Joshua wrote down all the words of the covenant – the statutes and ordinances, and set up a great stone as a witness to it. After this Joshua died – verse 29.

Israel did serve Yahweh and remained faithful – for a period:

Joshua 24:31 WEB
Israel served Yahweh all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, and had known all the work of Yahweh, that he had worked for Israel.

Do you remember the scriptures concerning the Sinai covenant and the people’s responses:

Exodus 19:8 WEB
All the people answered together, and said, “All that Yahweh has spoken we will do.” Moses reported the words of the people to Yahweh.

Exodus 24:3 WEB
Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahweh, and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words which Yahweh has spoken will we do.”

They confidently asserted they could and would obey and remain faithful, but Yahweh and Moses knew differently:

Deuteronomy 31:16 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers; and this people will rise up, and play the prostitute after the strange gods of the land, where they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.

Deuteronomy 31:29 WEB
For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will happen to you in the latter days; because you will do that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

Why is that?

Deuteronomy 29:2-4 WEB
Moses called to all Israel, and said to them, You have seen all that Yahweh did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land;
3 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders:
4 but Yahweh has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, to this day.

However, in the latter days things are going to be quite different:

Deuteronomy 30:1-6 WEB
It shall happen, when all these things are come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where Yahweh your God has driven you,
2 and shall return to Yahweh your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul;
3 that then Yahweh your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where Yahweh your God has scattered you.
4 If [any of] your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will Yahweh your God gather you, and from there will he bring you back:
5 and Yahweh your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.
6 Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.

Notice the heart of Messiah Jesus and what he came saying:

John 5:19-20 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.
20 The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished.

John 5:30 NRSV
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

John 14:10-11 NRSV
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

John 14:18-21 NRSV
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.
19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.
20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

Are we also instructed to allow Messiah mind to be in us?

Philippians 2:5 NRSV
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

Summary
So we see that the people of Israel entered into a covenant at Shechem, prior to Joshua’s death, in which they chose to obey and serve Yahweh and committed themselves to love Him and to keep all the law of Moses. In particular they were to have no other gods – Yahweh was their God and they were His people. They said they could do it and that they would do it – unfortunately history tells a different story, a story of a nation that splits into two, of idolatry, foreign gods, abominable practices, broken covenants, captivity and enslavement, even the disappearance of the majority of the tribes of Israel, all forewarned by many prophets sent to them by Yahweh beforehand. These same prophets also foretold the coming of ‘a new covenant’ and a Messiah to deliver them.

We have already covered ‘the Messiah’ in a number of articles, and we will look at ‘the new covenant’.

The Moab Covenant

In the fortieth year after Israel had been brought out of Egypt, in the fifth month, Aaron died on Mount Hor (Numbers 33:38-39). In the next few months they moved camp several times and eventually arrived and camped in the plains of Moab, by the Jordan river opposite the city of Jericho (verses 40-50). Here they received final instructions and commandments before entering the promised land from Yahweh through Moses:

Numbers 36:13 WEB
These are the commandments and the ordinances which Yahweh commanded by Moses to the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

Notice this scripture in the 29th chapter of Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 29:1WEB
These are the words of the covenant which Yahweh commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.

So here Yahweh commands Moses to make another covenant with the people of Israel – ‘besides (in addition to, as well as) the covenant made at Horeb (Sinai)’ – here in Moab, 39 years later! Also take notice that these words of the book of Deuteronomy are ‘the words (terms) of this covenant’.

Deuteronomy 1:1-5 WEB
These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah over against Suph, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
2 It is eleven days’ [journey] from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.
3 It happened in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that Yahweh had given him in commandment to them;
4 after he had struck Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth, at Edrei.
5 Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying,

Deuteronomy 31:9 WEB
Moses wrote this law, and delivered it to the priests the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and to all the elders of Israel.

Deuteronomy 31:24-26 WEB
It happened, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,
25 that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, saying,
26 Take this book of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of Yahweh your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.

Deuteronomy 29:21 LEB
And Yahweh will single him out for calamity out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant written in the scroll of this law.

Here we see that when Moses had written all the words in a book, that this ‘book of the law’ was placed ‘by the side of the ark’ – not inside it! Inside the ark were the tablets of stone of the Sinai covenant, this was placed at the side – just as the covenant being made in Moab was ‘beside (as well as, in addition to)’ the one made at Sinai.

Notice the making of this covenant made between Yahweh and the people ‘this day’, prior to them crossing over into the promised land – this is how they were expected to conduct themselves in the promised land.

Deuteronomy 29:10-15 WEB
You stand this day all of you before Yahweh your God; your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel,
11 your little ones, your wives, and your foreigner who is in the midst of your camps, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water;
12 that you may enter into the covenant of Yahweh your God, and into his oath, which Yahweh your God makes with you this day;
13 that he may establish you this day to himself for a people, and that he may be to you a God, as he spoke to you, and as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
14 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath,
15 but with him who stands here with us this day before Yahweh our God, and also with him who is not here with us this day

They were to be His people and He was to be their God just as He had sworn to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
However, Yahweh had told both Moses and Aaron that they were not to be allowed to lead the people over into the promised land because of the incident of ‘striking the rock’:

Numbers 20:8-12 WEB
Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, you, and Aaron your brother, and speak you to the rock before their eyes, that it give forth its water; and you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock; so you shall give the congregation and their cattle drink.
9 Moses took the rod from before Yahweh, as he commanded him.
10 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, Hear now, you rebels; shall we bring you forth water out of this rock?
11 Moses lifted up his hand, and struck the rock with his rod twice: and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their cattle.
12 Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, Because you didn’t believe in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.

So Aaron had died and Moses was about to die also:

Numbers 33:38-39 WEB
Aaron the priest went up into Mount Hor at the commandment of Yahweh, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fifth month, on the first day of the month.
39 Aaron was one hundred twenty-three years old when he died in Mount Hor.

Deuteronomy 34:5-7 WEB
So Moses the servant of Yahweh died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of Yahweh.
34:6 He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth Peor: but no man knows of his tomb to this day.
34:7 Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

Now before Moses died he put together what is generally termed ‘the law of Moses’, the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

As we will see the book of Deuteronomy was effectively a shortened summary of the whole ‘law of Moses’ – ‘the book of the law’ which was placed beside the ark of the covenant.

Moses instruction to the people before he died was:

Deuteronomy 29:9 WEB
Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

Deuteronomy 31:9-11 WEB
Moses wrote this law, and delivered it to the priests the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and to all the elders of Israel.
10 Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of [every] seven years, in the set time of the year of release, in the feast of tents,
11 when all Israel is come to appear before Yahweh your God in the place which he shall choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing.

Deuteronomy 32:46-47 WEB
He said to them, Set your heart to all the words which I testify to you this day, which you shall command your children to observe to do, [even] all the words of this law.
47 For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land, where you go over the Jordan to possess it.

We encourage the reader make a study of the book of Deuteronomy to get a fuller understanding of what was recorded there and placed along side the ark of the covenant.

Below we will set out a few of the major elements:

Deuteronomy 1 – Moses begins to explain ‘this law’, recounts the episode of the spies, they did not believe Yahweh, so He swore that generation would not enter the land. Wandering begins.

Deuteronomy 3 – Joshua told he was the one who would take the people into the promised land.

Deuteronomy 4-8 – Moses reminds them of Yahweh’s covenant at Sinai.

Deuteronomy 9 – Reiterates the golden calf event and the breaking of the first two tablets of stone.

Deuteronomy 10 – The second two tablets of stone, Yahweh was unwilling to destroy them:

Deuteronomy 10:10-16 WEB
I stayed on the mountain, as at the first time, forty days and forty nights: and Yahweh listened to me that time also; Yahweh would not destroy you.
11 Yahweh said to me, Arise, take your journey before the people; and they shall go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give to them.
12 Now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
13 to keep the commandments of Yahweh, and his statutes, which I command you this day for your good?
14 Behold, to Yahweh your God belongs heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth, with all that is therein.
15 Only Yahweh had a delight in your fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all peoples, as at this day.
16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.

Deuteronomy 11 – Keep the statutes, ordinances and commandments. Blessing and curse choice.

Deuteronomy 12 – Warning against idolatry.

Deuteronomy 14 – Clean and unclean creatures food-wise. Tithing laws.

Deuteronomy 15 – Seventh year release.

Deuteronomy 16 – Yahweh’s appointed feasts.

Deuteronomy 17 – The administration of justice.

Deuteronomy 18 – The Levites portion. Warning against divination and other abominable practices. Yahweh’s prophets and the promise of Messiah:

Deuteronomy 18:15-19 WEB
Yahweh your God will raise up to you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, like me; to him you shall listen;
16 according to all that you desired of Yahweh your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I not die.
17 Yahweh said to me, They have well said that which they have spoken.
18 I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, like you; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
19 It shall happen, that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

Deuteronomy 19 – Cities of refuge, landmarks and giving testimony.

Deuteronomy 20 – Destroying nations who may teach you abominable practices.

Deuteronomy 21-25 – Various laws.

Deuteronomy 26 – Offering the first fruit, and the declaration of the covenant agreement:

Deuteronomy 26:16-19 WEB
This day Yahweh your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances: you shall therefore keep and do them with all your heart, and with all your soul.
17 You have declared Yahweh this day to be your God, and that you would walk in his ways, and keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his ordinances, and listen to his voice:
18 and Yahweh has declared you this day to be a people for his own possession, as he has promised you, and that you should keep all his commandments;
19 and to make you high above all nations that he has made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that you may be a holy people to Yahweh your God, as he has spoken.

All the words of this law were to be written upon large stones set up when they went over the Jordan into the land:

Deuteronomy 27:1-8 WEB
Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandment which I command you this day.
2 It shall be on the day when you shall pass over the Jordan to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, that you shall set yourself up great stones, and plaster them with plaster:
3 and you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you are passed over; that you may go in to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has promised you.
4 It shall be, when you are passed over the Jordan, that you shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster.
5 There shall you build an altar to Yahweh your God, an altar of stones: you shall lift up no iron [tool] on them.
6 You shall build the altar of Yahweh your God of uncut stones; and you shall offer burnt offerings thereon to Yahweh your God:
7 and you shall sacrifice peace-offerings, and shall eat there; and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God.
8 You shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.

Joshua 4:20 WEB
Those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, did Joshua set up in Gilgal.

‘This day you have become the people of Yahweh your God’:

Deuteronomy 27:9-10 WEB
Moses and the priests the Levites spoke to all Israel, saying, Keep silence, and listen, Israel: this day you are become the people of Yahweh your God.
10 You shall therefore obey the voice of Yahweh your God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command you this day.

Deuteronomy 27 also contains the declaration of the curses for disobedience in verses 15 to 26.

Deuteronomy 28 – Blessings for obedience and the results of disobedience.

Deuteronomy 29 – Another covenant beside the one made at Sinai, entered into ‘this day’, in accordance with all that is written in ‘the book of the law’.

Deuteronomy 30 – Another warning to obey Yahweh and keep His commandments. A choice set before them:

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 WEB
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your seed;
20 to love Yahweh your God, to obey his voice, and to cleave to him; for he is your life, and the length of your days; that you may dwell in the land which Yahweh swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Deuteronomy 31 – This ‘law written by Moses’ to be read every seven years at the feast of booths (tabernacles) – so they learn and be careful to keep this law. Yahweh commissions Joshua to lead the people into the promised land. Moses instructed to write a song and teach it to the people as a witness against them (verse 19). The book of the law placed beside the ark.

Moses predicts their failure to obey:

Deuteronomy 31:29-30 WEB
For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will happen to you in the latter days; because you will do that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.
30 Moses spoke in the ears of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were finished.

Deuteronomy 32 – The song Moses wrote and taught them.

Deuteronomy 33 – Moses blesses the children of Israel before he dies.

Deuteronomy 34 – Moses dies and Joshua takes over the leadership.

The people of Israel now enter the promised land under the leadership of Joshua, as Yahweh’s people in covenant with Him, with a full understanding of what is required of them and how they are expected to behave in the land.

Why were they given ‘the law’?

Romans 7:7 NRSV
What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

Galatians 3:24 TMB
Therefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The law defined sin for them and was there as a teacher.

Summary
We see now that the people of Israel entered the promised land with an additional covenant formalised in Moab, beside (as well as) the one ratified at Sinai. The ‘book of the law’ containing all the terms and instructions regarding this covenant was placed along side the ark of the covenant (of Sinai). They now had all the formalised ‘statutes, ordinances and commandments’ for their life as a nation (and individuals) in the promised land.

Deuteronomy is a summary of all these things which are more explicitly detailed throughout ‘the law of Moses’ – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.