The Book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Pentateuch, derives its name from the Greek term "Deuteronomion," which means "second law" or "repetition of the law." This reflects the book's content, which is essentially a reiteration and expansion of the Mosaic Law originally given in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. The Hebrew title of the book, "Elleh Haddebarim," translates to "These are the words," taken from the opening phrase of the book.
Tradition holds that Moses is the author of Deuteronomy. The book is believed to have been written around 1400-1200 B.C. during the final days of Moses’ life, just before the Israelites were to enter the Promised Land under Joshua's leadership. The primary audience was the new generation of Israelites, who had not experienced the first giving of the Law at Sinai.
Deuteronomy serves as a reminder to the Israelites about God’s Law, His covenant promises, and the consequences of obedience and disobedience. Moses exhorts the people to remain faithful to God, warning them against idolatry and encouraging them to live in a way that pleases God.
From an eschatological standpoint, the blessings and curses Moses sets forth in Deuteronomy 28-30 prophetically highlight the future of the Israelite nation, forecasting their disobedience, subsequent exile, but also their eventual restoration. This offers a macroscopic view of Israel's history and their role in God's redemptive plan.
Deuteronomy 18:15-19 holds a significant Messianic prophecy where Moses predicts the coming of a prophet like himself from among the Israelites. This prophet is understood in the New Testament as being fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Acts 3:22-23).
The hope in Deuteronomy comes from the enduring love and faithfulness of God towards His people. Despite their disobedience, God's commitment to them remains unchanged. He promises that if they turn back to Him, even after they have been scattered among the nations, He will restore them (Deuteronomy 30:1-5). This promise extends a powerful message of God's grace, forgiveness, and His desire for reconciliation with His people, pointing forward to the ultimate reconciliation to be found in Jesus Christ.