In Egyptian literature, then, the classification “instruction” seems to indicate only the function of the text so introduced, not its form or medium.
It is largely due to its form-critical complexity that Deuteronomy 32 has generated an enormous amount of scholarship dedicated to elucidating its genre and contents.
Major studies not cited in the preceding and following notes include .
Many scholars dismiss the narrative's attribution of the song to Joshua as a scribal afterthought (see Watts, is further corroborated by a brief passage found in Isa 30:8–9: “And now, go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.
For they are a rebellious people, lying sons, sons who will not hear the instruction of the Lord.” In a manner of speaking, this passage brings us a step closer to the hypothetical missing link that lies somewhere in the literary ancestry of both Deuteronomy 31 and , sharing characteristics with each composition.
Nowadays, contrary to the educated literate elite of the early and medieval days of the Christian church, and thanks to modern technology, the common reader can have easy access to paper and electronic translations of the Bible in many languages.
Traditional forms of commentary have then shrunk for practical reasons in their scope and prominence but are detectable through the range of translations available for comparison.The question of Bible translation has generated political and ideological dispute since Jerome’s first attempt to consolidate the various Latin and Greek texts available in the fourth century into one vulgate and continues to generate considerable interest and argument today.The tradition of commentary grew primarily as an aid to interpretation and exegesis, but later functioned also as a justification for translation strategy, or a presentation of alternative readings.For others, Deuteronomy 32 represents a wisdom text that identifies itself as a teaching (Deut 32:2), chastises Israel for its intellectual shortcomings (Deut 32:6, 28), and repeatedly exhorts Israel to remember and understand (Deut 32:7, 29).Thus Deuteronomy 32 seems to have two literary identities: one as an act of indictment drawing on legal language; the other as an act of instruction belonging to the sphere of wisdom..and let the earth hear the words of my mouth”; Deut a, “will surely act corruptly,” corresponds to Deut 32:5, “they have dealt corruptly”; Deut b, “provoking him to anger through the work of their hands,” corresponds to Deut , “with abominable practices they provoked him to anger.”; Labushagne, “The Song of Moses,” 86–92 (who reviews the debate as a whole).The attempt to reconstruct the literary development of Deuteronomy 31 is further complicated by a number of complex textual variants among the versions.If one can trust the testimony of modern biblical scholarship, the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32 is leading a double life.According to some, Deuteronomy 32 represents a lawsuit in which God summons witnesses to the stand (Deut 32:1), issues a formal indictment (Deut –18), takes an oath (Deut ), and, finally, pronounces punishment (Deut –29).Deuteronomy 31 seems somewhat confused regarding who recites the song.According to Deut 32:1 Moses recites the song alone whereas according to Deut Moses and Joshua recite the song together.