What Does the Title of Deuteronomy Mean?

James Coakley
header for What Does the Title of Deuteronomy Mean?

The English title for the fifth book of Moses comes from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) name Deuteronomion, meaning “second law.” The LXX derived this from the phrase “copy of this law” from Dt 17:18, erroneously understanding the book as a repetition of the book of Exodus. The Jewish title for the book is elleh haddebarim, the first Hebrew words of the book, meaning “these are the words.” This is a more accurate reflection of Deuteronomy since the bulk of it consists of the speeches Moses gave to the nation Israel just before they entered the promised land. Also, this title reflects the sermonic element of this material, rather than focusing on the legislative quality of the book.

For Further Reading:

The Moody Bible Commentary

by Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham

Imagine having a team of 30 Moody Bible Institute professors helping you study the Bible. Now you can with this in-depth, user-friendly,...

book cover for The Moody Bible Commentary