Book of Deuteronomy

Summary of
The Book of Deuteronomy

The genre of the book of Deuteronomy is not much different than that of the Exodus; it is Narrative History and Law; although there is a Song from Moses just after he commissions Joshua. 

This song describes the History that the Israelites had experienced. 

The key personalities are Moses, and Joshua.

Moses wrote this book to remind the Israelites of what God had done and to remind them of what God expects of them.

The name literally means “Second Law”. Moses gives “the Law” for the second time.

Chapters 1-4 – Moses reviews some of the details of the past history of Israel such as the Exodus and the wandering in the wilderness.  He then urges that they obey the Laws of God.

Chapters 5-28 – Moses restates the Ten Commandments to the Israelites.  Moses explains the principles and instructions for living a Godly life as God’s chosen nation. 

Deuteronomy – Blessings and Curses (But Mostly Curses)
Deuteronomy begins with a lengthy recap of the journey of the Israelites since the Exodus (which reminded me of one of those “previously on…” teasers you see at the beginnings of episodes of a television show), and then most of the rest of the book is taken up by more laws and commandments by Moses, many of them darker and more violent than what we’ve seen thus far (which is saying a lot). If you can get through that, your reward is a lovely bit of poetry at the end, and then Moses dies.

These include how to love the Lord, laws of worship, laws regarding relationships (like divorce), and also the consequences and penalties if these laws are broken.

Chapters 29-30 – there is a move to commit themselves, as a nation, and to stand apart unto God.

This consists of not only knowing the many laws that God has commanded, but also obeying them and placing God first. 

Chapter 31 through 34 – We see the first change in leadership in Israel. 

Moses, the one who has been leading them the entire time, hands over his authority to Joshua, and commissions him.  

Moses blesses the tribes, which reminds us of Jacob blessing his sons almost 450 years earlier.  

Last chapter – God shows Moses the promise land, although he cannot enter it, after this, Moses the servant of the Lord dies on Mt. Nebo. 

Book of Numbers

Summary of the Book of Numbers

The book of numbers is largely Narrative History as far as its genre. 

Key personalities include Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Eleazar, Korah, and Balaam. 

The purpose of the book of Numbers is to tell about how Israel prepared to enter the promise land, but sinned and was punished. 

Moses takes two different population censuses, hence the name Numbers. 

Chapters 1-9 –  the Israelites are preparing for their journey and entry into the promise land.

Moses begins by taking a census of all the tribes, primarily to see how many men are available and in shape for military service. 

Next, Moses dedicates the Levites and instructs the Nazirite vows and laws. 

During this time, the Israelites celebrate the 2nd Passover one year after their exit from bondage.

Chapters 10-12 – the Israelites travel from the wilderness in Sinai to approach the promise land. 

The people complain about their food, God gives them quail, and because of their greed, He also sends them a plague.

Miriam and Aaron learn a lesson about whom God places in leadership.

Chapters 13-19we see severe punishment for disobedience and unfaithfulness to God. 

Moses sends out 12 spies to perform reconnaissance on the promise land.  The 12 spies return and only two of them bring good news. 

The people fear the occupants and rebel against taking the land. For this God punishes them and sends them into the wilderness for forty years to roam.

Chapters 20-36 – the new generation of Israelites again attempt to enter the land to take it as God promised.  This time they easily destroy two nations that confront them as they are entering. 

Balak uses his prophet Balaam to learn to seduce the Israelites to worship Baal. Because of this disobedience, about 24,000 people die, including Balaam. 

Before the book of Numbers ends, Moses again conducts a census, and Joshua assumes the leadership of Israel in place of Moses who is banned from the promise land, due to his disobedience.

Book of Leviticus


Summary of Leviticus

Leviticus is comprised of two basic genres Narrative History and Law. 

The setting of Leviticus mainly appears to take place at Mt. Sinai.  

The key personalities of Leviticus include Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu Eleazar, and Ithamar.

It was written to draw the Israelites to the understanding of the infinite holiness of God, and that He desires them to act in a holy manner toward Himself. 

In doing this, God gives them many instructions to carry out.  It describes Moses giving procedural instructions for the Israelites, especially to the Levitical priests, about how they are to carry out offerings, ceremonies, and celebrations. 

The word “Holy” is mentioned more times in Leviticus, than any other book in the Bible.

Chapter 1-7 – Sacrifice and Offerings are laid out for Priests and individuals in detail. These passages also describe how to use the alter for the sacrifices and the offerings to God.

Chapters 8-10 – Moses describes the instructions for the Levitical Priesthood, since Israel is to be “a kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6).

He does this from the doorway of his tent. Moses consecrates his brother Aaron and his sons who are the priests. 

Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.

Chapters 11-15 –  Moses teaches the importance and procedures for things that are unclean. These include food, diseases, animals, insects, dead bodies, birth, cleaning and many others.

God’s purpose of all this is to protect His people from the illnesses and diseases that come from these sources.

Chapter 16 – Moses gives instruction about the Day of Atonement. This was the day out of the year that the High Priest cleanses and prepares himself ceremonially to meet with God.

This ceremony only takes place once a year. The High Priest enters into the Holy of Holies and offers a sacrifice to God for sins on behalf of the entire nation of Israel.   

Chapters 17-27 – pertain to the laws that apply generally for living a holy life. These are many laws including sexual immorality, idolatry, land laws, more priestly laws, religious festivals and celebrations, the Sabbath year and the year of Jubilee.