Moses Charges the Levites

Deuteronomy 31:24-30

The Torah then returns to Moses’s instructions to the Levites regarding the Torah he has recorded. He commands them to lay it by the Ark of the Covenant, where it should serve as witness. He reminds them that they have been rebellious during his lifetime, and he has no reason not to anticipate their continued rebellion against God after his death. He therefore instructs the Levites to gather the elders and officers of the tribes, so that he can speak to them, calling heaven and earth as witnesses, and he recites God’s song. The words of the song itself appear in next week’s portion.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think it was important to place the Torah scroll by the Ark of the Covenant?

Comments ( 14 )

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  • Damian Sco

    I did misread it. I agree with it standing as a witness against all the sins that were being committed by the people. They were already written even before the sins were committed but in case anyone had some doubt as to which behavior was sinful, clearly the Torah stood as the final arbitrator of sin. This was an unassailable witness since God Himself showed the people what was holy and what was sin. So I agree with

    v.26 ,,,that it may be there as a witness against you;

  • Damian Sco

    I would think it would serve as witness to the stature of the Levites as opposed to any other kind of witness. The Ark was clearly seen as an object from the God realm given how it was always around to win wars and when it wasn't, defeat abound. So if the Levites were handling something of that realm as well, then it would be seen as proper to tithe to this group without question as opposed to hearing" Hey, you guys don't farm, don't hunt, don't milk cows…pretty much don't do much of anything. Why should we give you 10% of OUR stuff. I mean what good are you?"
    However, I do admit I may have missed the thrust of this question.

  • Nadejda

    The Ark of the Covenant was in the Holy of Holies where the presence of Adonai was. There the High priest presented the atoning sacrifice once a year. I know that there was other things like stick of Moses,of Aaron,the manna ,two tables of the testimonie…Everything is to remember that God is our portion,our history and our future

  • Diana

    The ark of covenant is the mercy seat. By placing the Torah next to the ark shows that the law demands. In view of the people, to remind them of their disobedience even when Torah was given. God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob was ever so merciful. Thought the law kills but His mercy endures forever.

  • The Torah-scroll placing at the Aron HaKodesh means the oral written prescriptions for life also got a place next to the Aron. It was the working area of the Levites they could easily have a look into it and no-one should be admitted to make any annotation or change in it. Symbolic it showed that the Words of Moshe are as holy as the Words of G-d in the Aron.

  • Thank you all for sharing. What I pick is: to reveal its holiness, so a pure copy could always be preserved, and because Yahweh's judgments are always done in mercy.

  • Jesse

    The Torah scroll would act as another witness for the Israelites. The tablets of the covenant would be in the ark. This is a picture of God’s Torah being written in our hearts. We also have the jar of manna, reminding us of God’s eternal provision. Aaron’s staff that blossomed almonds prophetically showed us that the Tree of Life would come from a Branch. And the Torah scroll would plainly state God’s judgments, however its setting right beside the mercy seat reminds us that his judgments and commands are always done in mercy.

  • Sheila

    Also thought of its position with the Arc which represented the Holyof Holies and place of Atonement where the High Priest placed the blood representing the sins of the people.The Torah stood as the witness but the blood cleansed of sin through the mercy of God which brought forgiveness restoration and freedom

  • Herman

    1. To show its Holiness (only the priests could enter)
    2. nothing could be changed by unfaithful people
    3. perhaps were the priests the only persons that were able to read/write (?)
    4. It’s the heart of the worship

    • These are all interesting suggestions. I don’t know whether reading and writing were limited skills in Biblical times, though it should be noted that throughout history, the Jewish people had a higher percentage of literate members than the general public. However, placing the Torah scroll in the Ark certainly underscores its holiness and ensures that there is an unassailable copy on hand at all times to prevent alteration!

  • Linda

    v.26 ,,,that it may be there as a witness against you;

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