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III. Moses' Second Exhortatory Address (4:44–28:68)

Dt 4:44-28:68 is the central section of the book both in theology and position. Dividing the material into five sections helps discover its meaning and significance. The various sections will be discussed according to the outline, III.A-E.

Ch. 4 introduced the “Ten Commandments” (v. 13) and indicated the necessity of Israel's observance of the first two commandments. According to Moses (5:22-32; Ex 19:1-20:20), all Israel heard the Ten Commandments given. Ch. 5 stresses these Ten Words, and ch. 6 emphasizes the need for Israel to obey them out of supreme love for Yahweh (6:4-9 et al.). The Shema in 6:4-9 is the key to the theology of the book. Israel's love for Yahweh involved an internal attitude toward him. Obedience to the commandments flowed from this motive. Wesley realized the importance of the Shema for a true religion of the heart (Notes, 604). Wesleyans have largely concurred with his evaluation. Chs. 6-11 exhort Israel to trust, love, and cling to Yahweh who has freely chosen them because of his love (7:6-8; Wesley, Notes, 607; Clarke, Commentary, 211) for them and their ancestors. Ch. 11 closes this section by echoing the Shema twice (vv. 1, 22) and by encouraging Israel to keep the religious, ethical, and civil laws. The emphasis is on the proper motivation for doing so. This obedience of love will make them holy unto Yahweh.

Israel's holiness cannot be separated from Yahweh's social, ethical, and religious instructions. Israel's holiness was an individual holiness but also a corporate, social holiness. Their holiness was permeated and kept alive by love. Wesley later defined this concept and experience as the essence of true holiness. Clarke asserted that few parts of Scripture “can be read with greater profit by the genuine Christian than the Book of Deuteronomy” (Clarke, 204).

For more on 11:29 and the covenant ceremony to be completed at Mount Ebal and Mount Gerazim, cf. 11:29-30; 27:1-26.

The presentation of the laws in chs. 12-26 follows closely the order of the Ten Words and also the order of the two Great Commandments. Chs. 27-28 close off 5:1-28:68 and echo chs. 1-4. Once again these last two chapters represent the options that Israel has and the results that follow.