This book is called DEUTERONOMY, a Greek word, that is, a second or repeated law, because Moses explains the Law of God, which are written and recorded in the foregoing books and here briefly repeated. He impresses them faithfully and perseveringly upon the people with a most fervent and extraordinary zeal, and with a multitude of most strong and holy motives. This is in order that this book may rightly be termed in a special manner a concise statutory code, or a short abridgment of the law. This Moses did in the two last months of the 40th year, after the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt, in the fields of the Moabites, when he had now brought Israel unto the borders of the land of Canaan, and all those rebellious Israelites, according to the threats and oath of God, were perished in the wilderness in order that he, shortly before his death, might fully instruct the people who were grown up in the wilderness, (of whom a part were to abide on this side Jordan, and the greatest part to be brought into the land of promise by Joshua), concerning their obligatory duty, knowing that he would die shortly, and not pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan.
Firstly then, he sets before the eyes of the people the great and manifold mercies, which God had shown to them these 40 years, together with the judgments that befell the rebellious ones, to prepare them for diligent attention and obedience to the divine commandments, chapters 1; 2; 3. Secondly, he repeats and explains not only the moral law of the ten commandments, but also the ceremonial laws, concerning the external worship of God, as well the judicial or civil laws, and military ordinances, together with the office of the rulers and judges; inserting here and there certain new laws, and very earnest exhortations and protestations, with a very remarkable prophecy concerning the Head of all the prophets, our Lord JESUS CHRIST. All this he in many ways confirms with promises of God’s abundant blessing if they would cleave unto Him and obey Him, and with the threat of His heavy curse if they would depart from Him, and break His covenant, unto the 31st chapter. Lastly, he puts Joshua in his stead, delivers the book of the law to the priests and Levites, and gives them a charge to lay it up in the most holy place, and at set times to read it before all the people. He likewise writes and teaches the children of Israel a most glorious prophetical song, foretelling what would befall them unto the coming of JESUS CHRIST, and the calling of the Gentiles. He blesses the twelve tribes, and, having viewed the land of promise from mount Nebo, he dies there, and is buried by God, and bewailed by the people. And Joshua succeeds in his stead.