Meaning of the Word Deuteronomy?

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 11
Question: Deuteronomy, or Deuteronomy, which is correct? and what is the meaning of the word?
J. S. (Mount Auburn, Mass., U.S.A.)
Answer: If intelligent usage be allowed to decide, the former is correct; and etymology also favors the word so formed from the Greek. It means a second edition or repetition of the law, being the title of the fifth book of Moses given by the Septuagint translators. The Jews as usual designate each book by the opening Hebrew words. It may be added that there is no real ground to doubt, save in the unbridled fancy of rationalists, that it was (save the last chapter or at least its last part) written, as it professes to be, by Moses. As to its scope and contents, Deuteronomy presents a practical direction in the spirit of prophecy for life in the land, given from the east of Jordan, and looking onward to the final restoration of Israel after captivity, “the secret things” of grace after total failure under law. The books of the law, as in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers were rather an abstract system of types, only in part reduced to practice, with the facts even selected as types also. Hence in Deuteronomy the typical institution has no practical character as compared with those elsewhere. And, as has been remarked, it, is the book, and the only one, which our Lord quoted in reply to Satan’s temptation. So also it is the book which the apostle applied. to the righteousness of faith in the gospel as contrasted with that of the law. All this, and a great deal more of spiritual interest, contribute to pour scorn on the scorners who vie with one another in striving to make it out a forgery or religious romance composed not earlier than in the days of Josiah. Inspiration accounts for its salient properties, as it does for each of the books that preceded, all written by Moses, but in a wisdom of the Spirit beyond his who was the instrument of the Holy Spirit.