History & Literary - Deuteronomy

The firth book is called Deuteronomy, a Greek term which signifies, “The second law,” or, rather, “The repetition of the law,” because it does not contain a law different from that which was given on Mount Sinai; but it repeats the same law, for the sake of the children of those who had received it there, and were since dead in the wilderness. The Hebrews call it Elle-haddebarim, that is, “These are the words.” Deuteronomy begins with a short account of what had passed in the wilderness, and then Moses repeats what he had before commanded in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, and admonishes the people to be faithful in keeping the commandments of God. After this, he relates what had happened from the beginning of the eleventh month, to the seventh day of the twelfth month of the same year, which was the fortieth after their leaving Egypt. The discourse which is at the beginning of this book was made to the people by Moses, on the first day of the eleventh month. According to Josephus, he died on the first day of the twelfth; and the Israelites, as the Scriptures say, mourned for him in the plains of Moab thirty days, and, consequently, during the whole of the twelfth month.
The Jews called the Pentateuch “The Law,” without doubt because the law of God which Moses received on Mount Sinai is the principal part of it; and it is as little to be doubted whether that real man was the writer of the Pentateuch. This is expressly declared both in Exodus and Deuteronomy. But as an account of the death of Moses is given in the last eight verses of this book, it is therefore thought that these verses were added either by Joshua or Ezra. The opinion of Josephus concerning them is very singular; be pretends that Moses, finding his death approaching, and being willing to prevent an error into which the veneration the people had for him might cause the Jews to fall, wrote this account himself, without which the Jews would probably have supposed that God had taken him away, like Enoch.