This particular book of the Bible is more a record of some teachings of Moses than part of the overall story. It’s almost like the Epistles that are waiting for us down the road. It doesn’t get to tell a story (other than recounting what we’ve already read in a more succinct fashion) until the last few chapters.
Overall, this is a message to stay the course. There are warnings and blessings and curses, but they all come back to that staying the course. There are a few additional guidances in the second part of the second speech too. Some of them got a little rugged compared to things we’ve learned in recent generations, such as a broader identification of rape than this contains. Still, the message is to stick with God. Remember what He has done for them, remember what He has promised. There will be consequences if you do otherwise.
It ends by succeeding leadership from Moses to Joshua. A new generation takes over and there are new things to come.
The above mentioned guidances do have some issues, which I addressed when I went over them. As with the rest of the Old Testament, they provide context for the main story of Christianity. This project has made Easter that much more interesting this year. I hadn’t really thought about how much had changed, how radical Jesus had been. I’ll refrain from going on a tangent about it until we’re actually in the Gospels, because I haven’t read them and don’t want preconceived notions or bad teachings to be in my writing if I can help it. I will say, though, that just realizing all the stuff that had to be done to atone for sins before is remarkable.
Other than the guidances, this book ignores the women as a sect. They are part of the larger groups of Israelites as they are reminded together to abide by the laws and to keep the faith. The language is written in such a way that they could be easily read out of those groups by those interested in doing so, but they are never specifically segregated. They are never set apart to not be in those places and the understanding of Hebrew plurals leads me to believe that they were there, listening to the blessings and the curses, renewing the covenant of their fathers on those mountains.