Book of Deuteronomy
|For it is so written in|
Deuteronomy isn't really a story, but sort of a list of silly laws (along with Leviticus) that some Hebrews wrote back in the day. It ties with the Book of Revelation and Genesis as the craziest shizznit in the whole Bible. It is also the oldest book in the Torah, having been first compiled in abbreviated form under King Josiah, and one of the oldest parts of the Bible (though the Song of Deborah in Judges is older).
The Hebrew name is דְּבָרִים devarim - literally things - in Hebrew, the books of the Torah are all named after their first words (technically this is an incipit rather than a title). The English title comes from the Greek deuteronomion (via Latin deuteronomium), meaning "second law," deriving from a Septuagint mistranslation of chapter 17 verse 18.
Deuteronomy has some pretty interesting laws. Among these are:
- The death penalty as a punishment for apostasy from Yahwism.
- A limit of six years on holding people as slaves (but only if other person is a Hebrew)
- A call for genocide against the Amalekites (amongst many others).
- The restriction against wearing fabric that is interwoven with wool and linen.
- Telling women not to kick men in the balls.
- Not letting castrated men enter Israel.
In summary, Deuteronomy contains a lot of the crazy stuff that makes modern, sensible humans want to slap a baby out of frustration. But near the end of the book God says, I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live which affirms that the Israelites do have free will and they are not predestined for destruction, if they so choose. This is completely repudiated by Calvinism.
Spoiler alert: Moses dies at the end.
Moses (whom ultra-traditionalist Jews and Christians alike insist is the sole author of all five books in the Pentateuch) manages to describe his own death in chapter 34, and asserts, somewhat bizarrely, that his tomb has been lost: "So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day."
 Pulled out of Josiah's nether regions?
Deuteronomy may be the earliest example of an "ancient" holy book that was "conveniently discovered" by a later proselytizer.
In 2 Kings chapter 22, and again in 2 Chronicles chapter 34, we are given an account of a "book of the law" that was discovered in the Temple, which had gone completely unnoticed by all the previous generations. Many modern scholars believe that this refers to the book of Deuteronomy. Conveniently, the commandments laid out in this newly discovered book -- supposedly authored by Moses himself -- corresponded almost exactly to the sweeping reforms Josiah wanted to impose on the Kingdom of Judah.
 See also
- Actions which demand the death penalty in the Old Testament
- List of actions prohibited by the bible
- RationalWiki:Annotated Bible/Deuteronomy