Reading throught the Bible: day 71

Deuteronomy 31 – 34

How was Moses health

Moses announces in Deuteronomy 31:2 that his health is waning, but in Deuteronomy 34:7 whoever described his death said he was in great health. I’m going to be completely honest here, I can’t come up with an explanation. The standard response in situations like this is, that just because we don’t have an explanation, doesn’t mean there isn’t one, but this isn’t a very fulfilling answer. It does seem unlikely that whoever wrote the end would make such a silly mistake, that doesn’t make it impossible though. I’d be interested in any explanations that people could come up with.

So who wrote it all?

Deuteronomy 31:9 tells us that Moses wrote “this law” and delivered it unto the priests of Levi, but the end of Deuteronomy describes Moses death, which he couldn’t have written, so who wrote the pentateuch?

Deuteronomy 1:1 tells us that Moses did Deuteronomy as a speech, so someone else (probably Joshua) probably wrote that, and recorded the speech. “[T]his law” may be referring to Leviticus, but I could wrong.

Another explanation is that Moses didn’t write any of it, but used a scribe, hence him being referred to in the first person. With this explanation, Moses could still be the author who, like Jeremiah (Baruch was his scribe), was the source of information, but not the person holding the pen.

The twelve tribes

The list of tribes includes Joseph and excludes his sons. It also includes Levi, keeping the number at twelve. It doesn’t refer to the twelve tribes of Israel though. Perhaps the inclusion of Joseph was to keep the number at twelve, without excluding Levi, who also deserved mention in this passage.

What are your thoughts?

Please give the reading through the Bible page a look if you haven’t already, there are some background posts and the index to this reading plan. Share it with others who you think can benefit from Reading the Bible.


One thought on “Reading throught the Bible: day 71”

  1. Deuteronomy clearly has suffered some serious editing in various places. The Deuteronomist hypothesis is quite interesting in this regard.

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