What is the "Book of the Law"?


Nehemiah 8:1

ESV - 1 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel.

Clarify Share Report Asked January 18 2020 Data bill naegeli

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
My understanding of the consensus of opinion among modern Bible scholars is that the specific term "the Book of the Law" did not consist of the entirety of the first five books of the Bible (especially those portions containing a narrative of events, as opposed to commandments or prescribed worship practices, where God was either speaking directly or through Moses), but referred to the summary or recapitulation of the Law contained in chapters 5-28 of the book of Deuteronomy.

January 20 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
In Nehemiah 8:1 is mentioned the ‘Book of the Law of Moses.’ What was this book? 

A clue is to find the first mention of the specific phrase, ‘the Book of the Law.’ It is found in Deuteronomy 28:61, 29:21, 30:10, and 31:26, only here in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. 

Another clue is found in II Chronicles 34:14 when Hilkiah found the book. Some say it is the whole Torah or Pentateuch which is called the Law, but that is quite lengthy for a book or scroll. The Pentateuch was probably five books as that is what Pentateuch means.

Another clue is when was read to King Josiah, he rent his garments when he heard it, II Chronicles 34:19. It had to be a portion that would elicit this response. Not all the Pentateuch or all of Deuteronomy would necessarily do that.

The next clue is finding where the section begins, which is at Deuteronomy 27:1 when Moses gives the elders of Israel instructions to keep the commandments given them. They were to write them on the stones that day, Deuteronomy 27:8. Then what followed was the blessing and cursing passage. The section ends at the end of chapter 30. Note the final words of Deuteronomy 30:15-20. Then in Deuteronomy 31:24, 25, Moses instructs the Levites to place this book by the ark of the covenant, which means something preceding this. So, chapters 27-30 may be the book.

These chapters reveal the great “wrath of the LORD that is poured out on us.” II Chronicles 34:21. Huldah the prophetess mentioned “all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king…” II Chronicles 34:24. Also Deuteronomy 29:1 speaks of it as a covenant which dovetails with Josiah’s reading “the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the LORD.” II Chronicles 34:30.

When Joshua succeeded Moses as leader, God reminded him to keep these words, Joshua 1:8. In Joshua 8:31-34, Joshua built the altar, wrote the words of the Book of the Law and read it aloud. Just before Joshua died, he gathered the people to encourage them once more to do all that was written in it, Joshua 23:6. In Joshua 24:26, Joshua noted down in it the renewal of the covenant. The closing charge of Joshua 24:14, 15, is very much like the closing charge of Moses, Deuteronomy 30:15-20. There may have been a renewal of the covenant every 40 years.

This Book of the Law was read and re-read and explained by Ezra in Nehemiah 8:1, 3, 18, and 9:3 during the feast of tabernacles. 

In his prayer, Daniel refers to the same book as ‘The Law of Moses,’ Daniel 9:11-13, and mentions the curse due to disobedience.

Paul likely refers to the same book of the law in Galatians 3:10, which quotes Deuteronomy 27:26, a verse from within the passage. 

Deuteronomy 26-30 is likely the ‘Book of the Law.’

January 29 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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