Deuteronomy: A Commentary

Deuteronomy: A Commentary

Deuteronomy: A Commentary

Deuteronomy: A Commentary


This milestone commentary by Jack Lundbom is intended for any and all readers who want to better know and understand the key Pentateuchal book of Deuteronomy, which has had a huge influence on both Judaism and Christianity over the centuries. For Jews Deuteronomy contains the Decalogue and the Shema -- "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one" (6:4) -- supplemented by a code of primal legislation.

Deuteronomy is much cited in the New Testament and has come to occupy an important place in the life and doctrine of the Christian church. It lifts up important wisdom themes such as humane treatment and benevolence to the poor and needy and is rich in theology, calling repeatedly on Israel to reject other gods and worship the Lord alone as holy.

Besides drawing on language, archaeology, and comparative Near Eastern material, Lundbom's commentary employs rhetorical criticism in explicating the biblical text. Lundbom also cites later Jewish interpretation of the book of Deuteronomy and makes numerous New Testament connections. An appendix contains all citations of Deuteronomy in the New Testament.


In James Michener’s novel The Source (Michener 1965), an American archaeologist in charge of excavating Tell Makor, Harvard-educated Dr. Cullinane of Chicago, is told by his Israeli colleague, Dr. Ilan Eliav, that if he really wants to understand the Jewish people, he should read Deuteronomy five times. the American Irish Catholic questions whether the book is worth five readings. Dr. Eliav answers:

Deuteronomy is so real to me that I feel as if my immediate ancestors — say,
my great-grandfather with desert dust still on his clothes — came down
that valley with goats and donkeys and stumbled onto this spot.

So the American began reading — first in the Authorized King James Version, and last in the Hebrew Bible — and found that not only did he understand the Jews and Judaism better, but also the Christian faith in which he had been reared. Michener writes:

… as his eyes ran down the columns they caught phrases and sentences
which he had once vaguely supposed to be from the New Testament: “Man
doth not live by bread only” … and “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” He discovered
concepts that lay at the core of his New Testament Catholicism: “But the
word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou
mayest do it.” (Michener 1965, 158-59)

It is no fiction that Deuteronomy has exercised enormous influence on both Judaism and Christianity over the centuries. No fewer than two hundred of the traditional six hundred thirteen commandments of Pharasaic Judaism . . .

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