Study on Deuteronomy

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Deuteronomy 6:1-15 produces a number of conflicting emotions and thoughts in the mind of the critical reader, because the image of God it paints is at once loving, considerate, vengeful, and jealous. Furthermore, because this passage is so demonstrably focused on education and teaching, the reader is forced to consider whether the God presented in Deuteronomy is actually a God someone would want a child to know. This is a God that promises to bless his children and their children, but at the same time threatens his children with ruin and destruction should they stray from his commands. By analyzing the historical, literary, and linguistic context of this passage, one can get a better understanding of its particular depiction of God and his relationship to humanity. In turn, one may answer the question regarding if this is a God children should know with a resounding no, because the God depicted in this passage is a dangerous, deadly God whose messages of love and fear were not meant for contemporary audiences. Instead, while the positive actions God encourages remain relevant to contemporary audiences, the deadly threats that are included with this encouragement have been obviated through the coming of Jesus Christ. To begin, it will be helpful to outline the historical context of Deuteronomy, because understanding the history of the Israelites up until this point will shine a light on some of the more dramatic and frightening passages. Deuteronomy is the last of the first
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