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March 27

Deuteronomy 1, John 5:31-47

Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:

Ancient suzerainty treaties began with a preamble in which the speaker, the one who was declaring his lordship and demanding the vassal’s allegiance, identified himself. The Deuteronomic preamble identifies the speaker as Moses, but Moses as the earthly, mediatorial representative of the Lord, the heavenly Suzerain and ultimate Sovereign of this covenant.

With this introductory formula the extra-biblical treaties began. The site of the covenant renewal ceremony to which Deuteronomy witnesses was the Jordan area in the land of Moab. The time was the last month of the fortieth year after the Exodus, when the men of war of that generation had all perished, the conquest of Trans-Jordan was accomplished, and the time of Moses’ death was at hand. It was especially this last circumstance that occasioned the renewal of the covenant. God secured the continuity of the mediatorial dynasty by requiring of Israel a pledge of obedience to his new appointee, Joshua, and a new vow of consecration to himself. The ceremony is described as a declaration or exposition of this law, since the stipulations occupied so central and extensive a place in suzerainty covenants.

Charles F. Pfeiffer, Everett F. Harrison, eds., The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press) 1962, pp. 156-157

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