So Moses repeats at GREAT length everything that happened during those 40 years (even adding a number of new adventures not mentioned before. This could point either to Moses becoming a bit soft in the head, or else a different scribe took over at this point, who felt compelled to add some more details about the journey). The general gist is dreadfully familiar by now: everywhere they went, things ended in slaughter & genocide (a favorite passtime of god). Only the descendants of Esau are left alone, as these are "kin" (this is not so deluded as it seems, as marriage was mainly kept within tribes, so there wasn't much chance for people's genes to mix). Moab is also left alone, as god gave this land to Lot's descendants (generated by his own daughters having sex with him, but never mind that) - after slaughtering the original inhabitants, obviously (more giants - king Og, the last of the giants, had an "iron bed" measuring 4,5x2m, so you get an idea).
One thing that struck me while reading: the Israelites encounter many people, living in lands with hundreds of "great cities". Where was all this? It just doesn't match facts about world population estimates from that period. This smells of aquatic craniate animals.
Moses repeats all commandments, notably the one about not making graven images of wood and stone, "which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell" (as if god ever did). He relates the apparition of god on Mt Horeb, how all the people saw & heard god (they just saw the thunderclouds; Moses was the only one hearing a voice. Memory can be deceptive). Moses repeats. And repeats (like the reminder that, if you provoke god in any way, you're dead meat). Other nations are to be destroyed & everybody killed. The word "love" actually makes an appearance a couple of times, but in this context (like everywhere in the quran) it just means obedience & fear, and showing proper gratitude to god for leading them out of Egypt and feeding them in the desert for 40 years (although they would have reached Canaan in several weeks if god hadn't kept them in the desert for all those years in the first place! So thanks for nothing). More repeats. Moses rebukes the people for being "stiffnecked" & relates how he went without food & water for 40 days on the mountain (yeah right). He reveals he didn't accidentally drop those first stone tables, but threw them on the ground to "brake them before your eyes" as he was so angry. For their sins & transgressions, he had to travel up the mountain again (40 more days without food & water). Ungrateful bastards. More repeats, always with the warning of "keep my commandments, or else...". For fuck's sake: we know. STOP FUCKING REPEATING YOURSELF. Senile git.
After relating the past 40 years, Moses looks at the future & lays down some more rules for good measure. A selection of the more outrageous/hilarious ones:
- if a prophet or "dreamer of dreams" arises, speaking of other gods, he is to be put to death (an approved prophet will speak only what god "commands him". How to spot the difference? Easy: if it is a prediction that "follows not, nor comes to pass", he is a fake). The same goes for family & friends: if someone suggests other gods, "Thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death [by stoning], and afterwards the hands of all the people". Even their cattle have to be killed! NO OTHER GODS KILL KILL
- during a siege, "enemy" trees may be cut down (to be employed in the battle) only if they are "trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat" (I take it they mean fruit/nuts)
- when you see a beautiful woman among the captives, you can take her, but you should give her a month for grieving (how touching. I'm sure she'll appreciate the gesture) before "thou shalt go in unto her"
- more sartorial advice: crossdressing is abomination (the rule against "garment of divers sorts" is also repeated here)
- adultery merits public stoning (so nice of religion to criminalize sex, thanks for that)
- motherfuckery is no go (although not punishable by stoning - it's merely embarrassing for your dad); suspiciously, fatherfuckery is not even mentioned!
- (23:1) "He that is wounded in the stones [testicles], or hath his privy member cut off [ouch], shall not enter into the congregation of the lord" (likewise if you are a "bastard")
- (23:13) "And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon, and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee". Dig that shit…
- if you don't like your wife any more, you just write a "bill of divorcement" & send her away. If she's lucky, another man might take her (you can't take her back, as she is now "defiled" -> abomination)
- if your brother dies, you have to fuck his wife to "build up your brother's house". If you refuse (like Onan did), you risk having your shoe loosed (public shaming) and people spitting in your face
- if 2 men have a fight and the wife of one, coming to the rescue, "taketh (the other man) by the secrets (goolies?)", you are to cut off her hand (the quran clearly got its insalubrious ideas from its big brother)
Moses concludes by ordering his people to write down all laws & commandments on stones after crossing the river Jordan & settling down. More repeats: if you obey - blessings blessings (some 10 lines). If you fail to: curses, smite, pestilence, burning, perish, dust, destroy, carcase, spoil, slaughter, shame, mad, disease, plagues (some 50 lines). Remember: the choice is entirely yours. The ultimate threat for misdemeanor is deportation back to Egypt. That'll teach 'em. Moses appoints Joshua as his successor and writes a song for the Israelites to remember the covenant by (32:1-32:43 seem to be the lyrics of this song, but I don't see it winning the Eurovision Song Contest any time soon; he might be a dutiful leader & prophet but he sucked at being a singer-songwriter). After blessing all the tribes, Moses climbs up mount Nebo, looks down at Canaan (tantalizingly just out of reach, like Mt Ararat for present-day Armenians) and dies. Joshua assumes command, and the book ends tearfully with the sentimental "never again there rose a prophet like Moses, whom the lord knew face to face". Until Jesus, that is? So let's move on and see what kind of lesser prophets the remaining 34 (!) books of the old testament have to offer.