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Deuteronomy (Devarim) Introduction

Deuteronomy - Devarim

Deuteronomy is the English name for the Fifth Book of Moses. The opening phrase in Hebrew literally means “these are the words“.  This title has been shortened to Devarim, translated as “words“. The oldest name of the book is, ‘the Repetition of the Torah’; it is based on a phrase in 17:18. Greek-speaking Jews while translating the Septuagint called it Deuteronmion meaning ‘second law’. Jerome translated this Greek word in his Latin translation as Deuteronomiium. It was carried over into the English versions as Deuteronomy. (Hertz, JH. Pentateuch & Haftorahs Sconcino Press London 1994 P567)

Dt. ChaptersParsharoitCopyright
Devarim – Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22
Halftorah: Isaiah 1:1-27
Brit: Acts 7:51-8:4
Vaetchanan – Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11
Halftorah: Isaiah 40:1-26
Brit: Mt. 7:23-31-39
Ekev – Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25
Halftorah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Brit: Heb. 11:8-13
Re’eh – Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17
Halftorah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Brit: Jn. 7:37-52
Shoftim – Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9
Halftorah: Isaiah 51:12-52:12
Brit: Mt. 3:1-17
Ki Tetze – Deuteronomy 21:10- 25:19
Halftorah: Isaiah 54:1-10
Brit: 1 Cor. 5:1-5
Ki Tavo – Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:9(8)
Halftorah: Isaiah 60:1-22
Brit: Lu. 24:44-53
Nitsavim – Deuteronomy 29:10 (9) – 30:20
Halftorah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
Brit: Jn. 15:1-11
Vayelech – Deuteronomy 31:1 – 30
Halftorah: Mic 7:18-20
Brit: Ro. 10:1-17
Haazinu – Deuteronomy 32:1 – 52
Halftorah: 2 Samuel 22:1-55
Brit: Ro. 10:17-11:12,12:19, 15:9-10
Vezot Haberakhah– Deuteronomy 33:1- 34:12
Halftorah: Joshua 1:1-18
Brit: Rev. 21:9-22:5
KJV – Public Domain
1917 JPS – Public Domain

Understanding Deuteronomy (Devarim):

Here are a few items to keep in mind about this particular book.

  1. Deuteronomy (Devarim) is a repeating of the laws mostly located in the book of Numbers. However, there are about 90 new laws not found anywhere in the Torah.
  2. In the previous writings of Moshe, he is recording current events and the words of YHWH. However, Deuteronomy (Devarim) is Moshe’s last words to the next generation before they enter the Promise Land. Devarim is Moshe’s last 38 days alive! The Rabbis say Moshe taught all thirty-eight before leaving the earth.
  3. The last two chapters, per Rabbi Sacks, are not included the covenant (treaty) between YHWH and Israel.
  4. The key words of Deuteronomy: (1) Shema – listen. It appears no less than 92 times.  Hearing is the fundamental verb of Deuteronomy. (2) Joy – SMH. appears about 25 times. (3) Love –  Appears 23 times. YHWH’s love for his people; his peoples love toward Him. love, loyalty, liberty. Dt. 6.5; 7.7-9; 10.14-19.

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Deuteronomy (Devarim) Stats:

Deuteronomy (Devarim), as previously mentioned, is the fifth book of the Torah of Moshe. According to Chabad tradition, it is the seventh book of Torah. See “Backward/Upside Down Nuns” under “Hebrew Anomalies” on the Numbers (Bemidbar) Info page.

KJV English Stats 1

Chapter Count: 34
Letter Count: ?
Word Count: 28,461
Verse Count: 959

Additional English Stats:
Shortest Chapter: 34 (12 Verses)
Longest Chapter: 28 (68 Verses)
Commands: 519
Promises: 47
Predictions: 497
Distant Messages from God: 33
Prophecies: 267

Hebrew Stats 2

Parsha Count: 11
Letter Count: 54,892
Word Count: 14,295
Verse Count: 3 955
Double Count 4: 7
Shortest Parsha: See Chart Below
Longest Parsha: See Chart Below

Unique Hebrew Stats:
Scribal Practices: 8 (See Deuteronomy Scribal Practices)
Number of Mitzvot 5: 202

דְּבָרִים — Parashot Devarim
Devarim Torah Stats
#HebrewEnglish# of Letters# of Words# of P’sukim
# of Lines in
Torah Scroll
44דְּבָרִיםDevarim5,9721,548 105196
47רְאֵה‎Re’eh7,4421,932 126258
49כִּי־תֵצֵאKi Titze5,8561,582110213
50כִּי-תָבוֹאKi Tavo6,8111,747122261
54וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה‎Vezoth Haberakhah1,96951241

The source of these stats: Akhlah: The Jewish Children Learning Network

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Deuteronomy (Devarim) Outline:

According to Rabbi Johnathan Sacks, Deuteronomy (Devarim) is an ancient treaty (covenant) text between G-d and Israel. He states this is the only ancient covenant text that’s made between a god and mankind. All other ancient treaties (steles) are between neighboring kings. See the Stele of the Vultures and Stele of Naram-Sin.

This outline followed here is based on Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ on pages 11, 12 of Deuteronomy: Renewal of the Sinai Covenant. Covenant & Conversation. A Weekly reading of the Jewish Bible.

1. Preamble
Announces place, time, and person initiating the covenant that follows: Moses on Behalf of God
2. Historical Prologue
Moses tells the history that has brought Israel to where they are currently. Most stories come from the book of Numbers.
3a. Stipulations
(a) 5:1-11:32
(a) General Provisions: Ten Commandments, Shema, etc. Retells the events surrounding the making of the covenant at Mount Sinai.
3b. Stipulations
(b) 12:1-26:19
(b) Specific Provision: The details of the law, with speical referance to how they are to be carried our by the people as a whole in the Land of Israel.
4. Deposition & Regular Reading
27:1-26; 31:1-30
The law is to be inscribed on stone (stele) at Mount Ebal. The Torah written by Moses will be placed in the Ark, to be read publicaly by the king at a national assembly held every seven years.
5. Sanctions: the blessing and the curses
Chapter 28 state the blessings & curses. Chapter 29,30 the actual covenant renewal, together with a statement that even if the people break the covenant and the curses come to pass, return, teshuva, is still possible.
6. Witnesses
30:19 – 32:1
“Heaven and Earth” ( Dt. 4:26; 30:19; 31:28: 32:1) serve as witnesses, as does “This song” (31:19)

Rabbi Sacks’ states”…a part from Moses song and the blessing of the tribes, … , the entire book of Deuteronomy is a covenant on a monumental scale.”

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Deuteronomy (Devarim) Scribal Practices:

Scribal practices are unique to the Hebrew language and cannot be translated. They consist of:

  1. enlarged letters – Enl
  2. diminished letters – Dim
  3. dotted letters – Dot
  4. suspended letters – sometimes called raised or erected letters. However, there are no appearance of these in the Torah of Moshe.  They appear only four times in Tanak.
  5. and other unique markings – None here!

Although some have practical applications in truth, we don’t know the meaning of most of these nuances. However, certain groups have developed teachings and have applied meaning to these markings.

Hebrew contains 22 letters plus 5 additional final forms. I have been able to confirm from a trained scribe each of these letters are both enlarged and diminished throughout the TaNaK.

Much of the following information was inspired by articles from the Jewish Encyclopedia. I have created a chart below for a quick review on these markings in this book.

LetterNameEnlDim HebrewTransLocation Parsha
א Aleph000000
בּ Bet000000
ב Vet000000
ג Gimel000000
ר Dalet10 אֶחָֽד oneDt. 6.4Vaetchanan
ה Hey10 הַלְיהוָֹה LordDt. 32.18Haazinu
ו Vav000000
ז Zayin000000
ח Chet000000
ט Tet000000
י Yod01תֶּשִׁי unmindfulDt. 32.4Haazinu
כ Kaf000000
כּ Khaf000000
ל Lamed10 וַיַּשְׁלִכֵם cast themDt. 29.27Nitzavim
מ Mem01 מַמְרִים rebelliousDt. 9.24Eikev
נ Nun000000
ס Samech000000
ע Ayin10 שְׁמַע hearDt. 6.4Vaetchanan
פ Pey000000
פּ Fey000000
צ Tsade10הַצּוּרrockDt. 32.4Haazinu
ק Qof000000
ר Resh000000
שׂ Shin000000
שׂ Sin000000
ת Tav10 תָּמִים perfectDt. 18.13Shoftim
ם Mem Sofit000000
ן Nun Sofit000000
ך Kaf Sofit000000
ף Pey Sofit000000
ץ Tsade Sofit000000

Scribal Stats

  • Enl – enlarged letters – 6 appearances in Deuteronomy
  • Dim – diminished letters – 2 appearances in Deuteronomy
  • 11 Torah Portions – Only 5 Torah portions contain scribal markings

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Deuteronomy (Devarim) Resources:

The Schocken Bible: Volume 1, The Five Books of Moses | Schocken Books | Everett Fox
The Steinsaltz Humash | Koren Publishers | Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz
The Pentateuch & Haftorahs | The Soncino Press | Dr. J.H. Hertz
The Living Torah | Maznaim Publishing | Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

Covenant & Conversation: Deuteronomy: Renewal of the Sinai Covenant | OU Press | Rabbi Johnathan Sacks
The JPS Torah Commentary Deuteronomy | JPS | Jeffrey Tigay

Hebrew Language Resources
The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon

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Next Steps:

Since you have finished reading all the background information about Deuteronomy. Let’s dive into reading the text. Click your preferred chapter link below.


  1. KJV English Stats at taken from the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. Finnis Jennings Dake. © 1961. Lawrenceville
  2. Hebrew Stats are pulled from various sources: Kefirah of the Week, Wikipedia, and other sources. Provided here are the total numbers. The specific numbers may be found on each parsha post. See the Parsha List for links to each post.
  3. Verses in the Hebrew text are called “pesukim”. Translated it means “sentences”.
  4. Hebrew Double Stats: “In the Hebrew, words are sometimes found duplicated. It is often the end of one sentence bumped up against the beginning of the next. E.g. “… was Noah. Noah began to…”.

    In any other language or philosophy, such doubling would go unnoticed. But Chabad philosophy seeks meaning in every detail, so they include this in their statistics,” says David Negley (member of a closed Messianic group on Facebook) Each double word instance has several teachings related to them. Listed here are the verses with the Double Counts in Deuteronomy. (2:27 7:22 14:22 16:20 28:43 28:43 32:39)

  5. 613 commandments – Wikipedia