This article analyses the rhetorical devices of praise and blame employed in Moses’ speeches
in the book of Deuteronomy. Praise and blame are mainly used in the framework of the central
Law Code, Deuteronomy 1–11, 26–34. Some of the most prominent occurrences of Moses’
rhetoric of praise and blame form literary inclusions, in parallel (Dt 4:7; 33; 29) and contrasting
(Dt 4:6; 29:24; 32:6) ways. Both praise and blame are used to inspire faithfulness to God and
obedience to the Torah. In this way, Moses forms Israel’s ethical values as the foundation of
the people’s legal order.
Dr D. Markl SJ is a research
associate of the Department
of Old Testament Studies,
Faculty of Theology,
University of Pretoria.