Key verse: Deuteronomy 17:18-19
“When [the king] is seated on his royal throne, he is to write a copy of this instruction for himself on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It is to remain with him, and he is to read from it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to observe all the words of this instruction, and to do these statutes.” (CSB)
Monday, August 26 | Read Deuteronomy 15
From the NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes on vv. 1-6;
“The Law included the regulation of borrowing and lending so that the poor could survive deprivation. It provided restrictions to allow the rich to minister to the needs of the poor without exploiting them.
“cancel the debts: This technical term refers to releasing people in financial bondage from their creditors and from any penalty for their default.
“The time of release was to occur every seventh year across the nation (the Sabbath year, Lev 25:1-7). The time frame followed the calendar rather than the length of the loan arrangement. This meant that the year of release could fall as soon a s a year after the loan was made. If Israel lived in perfect obedience to the covenant, there would be no poor in the nation. However, this ideal was never realized in ancient Israel, and poverty was very much an issue.
“You will lend money to many nations: An obedient Israel would become an affluent nation able to provide international aid. this bounty would bear testimony to God’s promise to Abraham that his seed would be a blessing to all nations (Gen 12:2-3; 17:4-6; 26:3-4).”
Tuesday, August 27 | Read Deuteronomy 16
From the Biblical Theology Study Bible notes on vv. 1-17;
“Cf. Exod 23:14-19; 34:18-26; Lev 23:4-44; Num 28:16. The holy days of Passover, Festival of Weeks, and Festival of Tabernacles extend the sabbatical principle into the entire yearly calendar. As if to underline the significance of the Sabbath, the number seven is repeated (in the Hebrew) seven times (vv. 3,4,8,9 [twice in the Hebrew],13,15).
“rejoice before the LORD. The note of joy is unmistakable. “Holy day” and “holiday” were synonymous in Israel. Verse 11b mentions no less than seven categories of people. This is a festival of total inclusion that will someday be fulfilled when there will be neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female in the future thanksgiving celebrations in the Christian church (Gal 3:28).”
Wednesday, August 28 | Read Deuteronomy 17
“The law on the king is one of the most remarkable and important in Deuteronomy. It comes in the sequence of laws about officials in Israel, only after the regulations about the judicial functions of priests and judges (16:18-17:13). Its late appearance in the sequence corresponds to the rold that is given to the king in Israel’s constitution. A King in the ancient world was typically the chief executive in all departments of the life of the nation; here, the appointment of a king is not an absolute requirement, but subject to the demand of the people (17:14). It is the limitations placed on the king (17:16-20) that make the laws on the administration of Israel so radical. The deuteronomic picture of the king contrasts, in fact, not only with kingship as it was exercised in the ANE, but also with the reality of it in ancient Israel. The kings of Israel and Judah assumed rights that are not provided for here.”
Thursday, August 29 | Read Deuteronomy 18
From the Apologetics Study Bible note on vv. 10-12;
“One of the earliest exhortations to the people of God about the dangers of occult involvement, this passage lists nine kinds of religious practices to avoid: (1) making a child sacrifice to false gods; (2) predicting the future or seeking hidden treasures through the aid of divining rods, pendulums, and other occult means; (3) guiding one’s affairs by the stars; (4) using Ouija boards, crystals, etc.; (5) practicing sorcery; (6) placing oneself into a trance or attempting to alter one’s state of consciousness; (7) attending séances; (8) mixing potions; and (9) becoming a spiritualist medium, or one who attempts to communicate with the dead. Persons involved in occultism do not entrust their lives, present or future, to God but rather seek to rule their affairs through forbidden means.”
Friday, August 30 | Read Deuteronomy 19
From the NRSV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible note on v. 14;
“boundary marker. Stones often marked boundaries and they were not to be moved under threat of heavy penalties. The movement of a boundary marker was worthy of a curse (27:17). The wisdom saying in chapter 6 of the Egyptian work of Amenemope, who determined the boundaries of the land, forbade carrying of landmarks of arable land or encroachment. Some boundary stones (called kudurrus) in the ancient Near East bore inscriptions that appealed to divine sanction and divine protection for the owner’s rights. The first such stones are found after the time of Hammurapi (c. 1600 BC). They appear in the eleventh and tenth centuries BC in Babylon. Some features of these stones reflect Israel’s covenantal forms/content.”
Saturday, August 31 | Read Deuteronomy 20
From the ESV Student Study Bible notes on vv. 1-20;
“These laws on warfare (especially vv. 16-18) may seem to be at odds with the teachings of the NT. But three things should be kept in mind: (1) they applied specifically to securing the Promised Land; (2) the Israelite armies were to offer terms of peace before attacking a city (see v. 10); (3) assuming the rightfulness of Israel’s cause, these laws actually helped to limit the loss of life in warfare.
“Only the cities within the Promised Land are to be devoted to complete destruction. The mandate for complete destruction does not apply to cities outside Canaan (see vv. 10-15). God is the victor, and the spoils of war belong to him (see 2:34-35; 7:2). This kind of destruction is a sign of final judgment.”
Sunday, September 1 | Read Deuteronomy 21
From the commentary on v. 6 in The Book of Deuteronomy, by Peter C. Craigie, from The New International Commentary on the Old Testament series:
“The elders of the city that accepted responsibility for the dead man washed their hands over the broken-necked heifer. The symbolism of the various actions now becomes clear: the crime deserved to be punished, as the broken neck of the heifer indicated, but the hand-washing of the elders showed that, although they accepted responsibility for what had happened, they were nevertheless free from the guilt attached to the crime. The symbolic action is reinforced by the spoken words of the subsequent verses.”