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Verses 6-46

1. God’s guidance from Sinai to Kadesh 1:6-46

Moses began his recital of Israel’s history at Horeb (Sinai) because this is where Yahweh adopted the nation by making the Mosaic Covenant with her. The trip from Egypt to Sinai was only preparation for the giving of the covenant. The Mosaic Covenant is central in Deuteronomy.

"The importance of history has two focal points: (a) there is the covenant tradition of promise, from Abraham to Moses; (b) there is the experience of God in history working out in deed the content of the promise. Thus, for the renewal of the covenant described in Deuteronomy, the prologue recalls not only the covenant’s history, but also the ability of the Lord of the covenant to fulfill his promise. What God had done in the past, he could continue to do in the future. There is thus a presentation of a faithful God, whose demand was for a faithful people." [Note: Peter C. Craigie, The Book of Deuteronomy, p. 94.]

Moses reflected on the past mainly as Israel’s history stands revealed in the earlier books of the Pentateuch. He did not assume knowledge of Israel’s history that is independent of the biblical account nor did he recount events previously unrecorded. Occasionally in Deuteronomy he supplemented what he had written earlier with other explanatory material. This indicates that Moses assumed that those who read Deuteronomy would have prior knowledge of his preceding four books. He did not just write Deuteronomy for the generation of Israelites about to enter the Promised Land but for later generations as well, including our generation.

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