Reading Scripture in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 9-10, 31, 2 Kings 22-23, Jeremiah 36, Nehemiah 8

By G. J. Venema | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

The Hidden Words – Deuteronomium 9:7–10:11;
31:9–13, 24–26

Satan now hasteded to Moses and askdd him: 'Where is
the Torah that God hath given thee?' Whereupon Moses
answered: 'Who am I, that the Holy One, blessed be He,
should have given me the Torah?' God hereupon spoke to
Moses: 'O Moses, thou utterest a falsehood.' But Moses
answered: 'O Lord of the world! Thou hast in Thy pos-
session a hidden treasure that daily delights Thee. Dare
I presume to declare it my possession?' Then God said:
'As a reward for thy humility the Torah shall be named
for thee, and it shall henceforth be known as the Torah of
Moses.'

L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, vol. 3, repr. Phil-
adelphia 1987, 118.

Deuteronomy is the outstanding example of a biblical book centred round the spoken word. At whichever point we start reading, we are always reminded of the opening: 'These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, in the wilderness…' (Deut. 1:1) Although the book does not give the impression of being written as a single whole, Deuteronomy acquires cohesion from characteristic expressions and phrases,1 among which the allusions to this initial situation. These key words and phrases regularly recur in different forms, and in this way are a constant reminder of the opening statement.2 The effect is that Deuteronomy presents itself as one long speech as

1 S. Loersch, Das Deuteronomium und seme Deutungen: Em forschungs-
geschichtlicher Überblick
(SBS, 12), Stuttgart 1967, 31: 'Tatsächlich beruht
die durchgängige Gleichartigkeit in der sprachlichen Färbung des Dtn zum
groβen Teil auf der stets wiederholten Verwendung fastgeprägter, stereotyper
Formeln…'

2 A gross articulation of the book is provided by the headings beginning
with

, 'This is…', or , 'These are…':

Deut.1:1'These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel.'
Deut.4:44'This is the torah that Moses set before the sons of Israel.'

-3-

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Reading Scripture in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 9-10, 31, 2 Kings 22-23, Jeremiah 36, Nehemiah 8
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Oudtestamentische StudiËn - Old Testament Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part One - Reading 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Hidden Words – Deuteronomium 9:7–10:11; 31:9–13, 24–26 3
  • Chapter 2 - The Discovered Book – 2 Kings 22:1–23:30 47
  • Chapter 3 - Controversial Statements – Jeremiah 36 95
  • Chapter 4 - Scripture Opened – Nehemiah 8 138
  • Part Two - Re-Reading 183
  • Chapter 5 - Connections 185
  • Chapter 6 - Cross-References 202
  • Chapter 7 - Mimemata 218
  • Bibliography, Abbreviations, Indices 231
  • Bibliography 233
  • Abbreviations 259
  • Index of Authors 260
  • Index of Biblical Texts 265
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