Deuteronomy was not written by Moses

Deuteronomy was written by someone that scholars call “D.” It was not written by Moses.

  • Why couldn’t it have been written by Moses? Because it was written around 600-700 BCE and Moses lived somewhere around 1300 BCE. Scholars were able to estimate the date because in 2 Kings there is a story about finding a “book of the law” during the reign of king Josiah – a real king who reigned in that 600-700 BCE time period.
  • What is significant about Deuteronomy? It contains page after page of laws to live by. In theory these laws were dictated by Moses. But there’s a problem in that some of the laws in Deuteronomy differ from the laws as dictated by Moses in other parts of the Bible. The priests who ultimately put together the first five books of the Old Testament solved this by giving “D” his own book, saying it was the second giving of the law by Moses.
  • What are some of the laws that are different in Deuteronomy? The most significant one is that the main worship needs to be in central place (i.e. Jerusalem). That solidified the Jewish religious hierarchy with Jerusalem as the center. Here are some other interesting ones:
    • First born males are to be offered to God.
    • Debt relief in seventh year.
    • Newly-married women are not to be slandered (22:13-21)
    • No religious prostitution. (23:17-18)
    • Women are to be modest. (25:11-12)
  • Bonus bullet. What are some of the laws that are similar to other parts of the Bible?
    • No human sacrifice.
    • No disfiguring yourself during mourning.
    • Lists of clean and unclean animals.
    • No eating of roadkill (Deut 14:21)
    • No marrying your step-mother (22:30)

The Chief Editor offered the above lists without commentary. The readers may supply their own.

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