Deuteronomy, Chapter 7, Verses 1-11 Thesis

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Deuteronomy 7:1-11

The fifth book of the Pentateuch, or Jewish Torah is known as Deuteronomy, translated from the Hebrew word Devarim, which means "things or words." Most of the material inside Deuteronomy consists of a series of lessons ostensibly delivered by Moses as he reviewed he past forty years of wandering in the desert. The central element in the Book is that of a series of detailed law-codes that allow the Israelites to live in the promised land with fewer outside contacts. Theologically, the book renewed and professed the covenant between God and the Children of Israel. Although conservative tradition holds that Moses wrote most of the passage, most modern scholarship believes it to be a product of reform carried out under King Josiah, with later additions added after the fall of historic Judah.

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In general, the book itself is divvied up into four significant "chapters" -- or sermons, each dealing with a significant action of the Tribes of Israel. The First Sermon (Chapters 1-4) recapitulates the Israelite's disobedient refusal to enter the Promised Land and the resulting 40 years of wandering. This is contrasted with God's judgement and wrath, as well as Moses continually warning that God's will must be done. The Second Sermon (Chapters 5-26) expands the ethnical dialog between God and Man, and how people must behave in order to live together. It is the central dogma of mitzvot (commands) that we find in most societies who move from a nomadic to an urban existence. The focus is on preventing conflict and preserving the gene pool. The Third Sermon (27-31) gives a more colloquial reading of what sanctions will occur when laws are broken, how to be obedient, and what the covenant with God means. The Fourth Sermon (32-34) renews the covenant, Moses appoints Joshua as heir; teaches the people the song of Moses and Blessings of Moses, and then Moses' death.

Text - Warnings Against Assimilation-

Thesis on Deuteronomy, Chapter 7, Verses 1-11 Assignment

7:1 When God your Lord brings you to the land you are entering, so that you can occupy it, He will uproot many nations before you - the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizites, Hivites and Yebusites - seven nations more numerous and powerful than you are.

7:2 When God your Lord places them at your disposal and you defeat them, you must utterly destroy them, not making any treaty with them or giving them any consideration. (consideration or mercy)

7:3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons, and do not take their daughters for your sons. (This prohibition includes all gentiles, the seven nations in Verse 1 are forbidden, even if they convert to Judaism).

7:4 [If you do], they will lead your children away from Me, causing them to worship other gods. God will then display His anger against you, and you will quickly be destroyed.

7:5 What you must do to them is tear down their altars, break their sacred pillars, cut down their Asherah trees, and burn their idols in fire. (Reference also to Exodus 34:13).

7:6 You are a nation consecrated to God your Lord. God your Lord chose you to be His special people among all the nations on the face of the earth.

7:7 It was not because you had greater numbers than all the other nations that God embraced you and chose you; you are among the smallest of all the nations. (embraced or preferred).

7:8 It was because of God's love for you, and because He was keeping the oath that He made to your fathers. God therefore brought you out with a mighty hand, liberating you from the slave house, [and] from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

7:9 You must realize that God your Lord is the Supreme Being. He is the faithful God, who keeps in mind [His] covenant and love for a thousand generations when it comes to those who love Him and keep His commandments. (or pays back)

7:10 But He pays back His enemies to their face to destroy them. He does not delay the payment that He gives His enemies to their face.

7:11 So safeguard the mandate, the rules and laws that I am teaching you today, so that you will keep them.

Historical Issues -- Most likely, Deuteronomy was written in the 7th century B.C. In Jerusalem. It was also likely to have been penned to reinforce the centralization of Israelite bureaucracy and power in Jerusalem. There is considerable affinity in language and prose style between Deuteronomy and that of the books 2 Kings, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Because these books were also probably written in the 7th or early 6th centuries BC, Deuteronomy must follow to have been written approximately the same time (See also, Table 1, giving us an approximate dating and linguistic commonality).

Table 1 -- Parallels between Deuteronomy and Josiah's Reforms (Ibid).

Issue

Josiah's Reforms

Deuteronomy

Destruction of idols, high places and altars by fire

2 Kings 23:4, 6-15; 2 Chron. 34: 4-7, 33

7:5, 25; 12:2-3

Grinding of idols to dust

2 Kings 34:6, 15; 2 Chron. 34:7

9:21

Execution of Pagan Priests and false prophets

2 Kings 23:5, 20

13:1-11

A Chosen place for worship

2 Kings 23:27

12:4-8, 17-19

Celebration of Passover at the chosen place

2 Kings 23:21-23; 2 Chron. 35:1-19

16:1-2, 5-6

The king to follow and obey the commands of law

2 Kings 23:2; 2 Chron 34:31

17:18-20

Aim and Scope of Deuteronomy - The Deuteronomic discourses may be said to comprise three elements -- a historical, a legislative, and persuasive. Of these the persuasive element is both the most characteristic and the most important; for it is devoted to the inculcation of certain fundamental religious and moral principles upon which the writers lay great stress. The historical element is subservient to the persuasive, the references to history, being more didactic in nature. The legislative element, though obviously, in many of its features, tending directly to secure the national well-being, and possessing consequently an independent value of its own, is by the writer of Deuteronomy viewed primarily as a vehicle for exemplifying the principles which it is the main object of his book to enforce. The author wrote, it is evident, under a keen sense of the perils of idolatry; and to guard Israel against this, by insisting earnestly on the debt of gratitude and obedience which it owes to its sovereign Lord, is the fundamental teaching of his book. Accordingly the truths on which he loves to dwell are the sole godhead of Yhwh, His spirituality (Deut. IV), His choice of Israel, and the love and faithfulness which He has manifested toward it; from which are deduced the great practical duties of loyal and loving devotion to Him, an absolute and uncompromising repudiation of all false gods, a warm and spontaneous obedience to His will, and a large-hearted and generous attitude toward men.

Literary Focus- There are many stories within Deuteronomy that become associated with the folklore of the Israelites, even in the manner in which they are crafted; rather than stern pronouncements (as in Numbers) they are more literary and poetic. However, the vocabulary used is instructive, and the main theme seems to be that the nation of Israel has not necessarily merited God's love and choice, but rather, has God's love out of paternal feelings and now must find the merit.

Within the storyline of Exodus and numbers, it would be possible to see the Israelites feeling a sense of superiority and arrogance when the learned that they had been chosen by God -- indeed, other tribes destroyed during the forty year wandering just so the Israelites could find the promised land. Psychologically, this "chosen" people might assume that God's choice was in response to something that was extraordinary about their tribe -- something they had done, or already possessed. Even worse, based on what we know in Numbers, the tribes might become complacent, resting upon their belief that as the chosen people, they could neglect their conventional obligations. However, considering the phrasing of Deuteronomy, God clearly had something different in mind when he expounded upon the laws necessary to allow these tribes, rather inexperienced (as shown in Exodus and Numbers) in urban living. Moses, though, absolutely articulates that God's choice was not based upon any inherent goodness, merit, or strength in Israel. Rather, God's choice was due to love, and, as scholars have commented the emotive and literary vocabulary in quite instructive:

"Set his heart on you" (v. 7) might better be rendered "was smitten with you," in that the Hebrew root (hashaq) depicts the desire Shechem felt for Dinah (Genesis 34:8). God is strongly attracted to Israel, but not because of Israel's charms. Certainly not because of Israel's greatness, as the disclaimer "you were the fewest of all" indicates, despite Deuteronomy's own testimony that Israel was "as numerous as the stars" (1:10; 10:22; 28:62). God is drawn to Israel, but why?

"Love" (v. 8). God's love, here indicated with the normal word… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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