Deuteronomy 1-4: Moses’s First Speech

Part one of Deuteronomy is Moses first speech, or the first of this set of sermons. According to my study Bible, that’s mostly what this book consists of, Moses’ sermons. After that, there’s a succession of leadership. This first speech cuts off part way through chapter four, so it’ll be mentioned in the next one too.

Chapter one

This book begins with Moses recounting the reasons it had been 40 years before they would see the promised land, who was not to see it and who was supposed to see it.

Chapter two

Recounting the story of how they came to this point continues in chapter two, but it includes some information that I don’t recall on the first round. Here we have some of the people that Israel was not to harass on their journey because of ancestors, like Lot and Esau, that those lands were promised to before.

This one is a little strange to me but perhaps one day I’ll get a chance to get in there and really study this sequence of events and how it corresponds to what happened in Numbers because the telling is so different.

Chapter three

This chapter begins with the total destruction of over sixty cities. It’s a little mindblowing to me. All the land that these cities took up are then explained as the land that was given to the Ruebinites and the Gadites and half the tribe of Manasseh. It continues to go into how all the land was divided up and who had originally owned it.This section ends with Moses reminding them:

Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings. So will the Lord do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.

That is followed by Moses recounting his discussions with God over getting to see the promised land himself and God basically telling him not to bring it up again.

Chapter four

Now, a warning. This one is entirely a warning to be faithful to God while in the land He is giving them. There is a set of consequences for the entire congregation if they stop believing. One of the interesting things in this explanation is that it does specifically say that they all heard the voice of God come from the mountain, not just Moses and Aaron.

Then there’s a reminder of the cities of refuge.

So there are my feelings and impressions on chapters 1-4 of Dueteronomy. Have you read it? What do you think?

Chapter links go to the ESV translations at but I’m reading from the ESV Global Study Bible, which is available for free on the Kindle Reading App.


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