3.53 Deuteronomy -- Moses' Last Will and Testament
Deuteronomy is Moses' "Last Will and Testament." It consists of warnings and instructions for the Israelites about entering into and living in Canaan. Most of the teaching enlarges on themes previously covered in Exodus and Numbers. It is both reflective and instructive, and there is considerable repetition of topics. The goal of this material is Identity Formation. Its focus is future-oriented, both the immediate future (what to do when Israel enters Canaan) and the remote future (when Israel is scattered among the nations).
It is also a summation of the past for the sake of the new generation. The Covenant is not a relic of their parents’ generation. Instead, there is something timeless about the Lord’s covenant:
"It was not with our fathers that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today" (Deut 5:3).
Throughout Deuteronomy, Moses insists on the new generation’s direct participation in all that has gone before, since the time of slavery (Deut 1:26-27, Deut 4:20, Deut 9:7, Deut 9:24, Deut 10:20-21, Deut 11:7, Deut 29:2-3, Deut 29:16-17). It appears that a new covenant was made at the end of Deuteronomy (Deut 29:1), or a renewal of the prior covenant for the sake of a new generation and, by implication, its descendants:
"I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today" (Deut 29:14-15).