“The Pentateuch itself was not written to teach Israel the law. The Pentateuch was addressed to a people living under the law (Deut 30:1-2; Ezra 7:6-10) and failing at every opportunity (Neh 9:33). The Pentateuch looks beyond the law of God to his grace. The purpose of the Pentateuch is to teach its readers about faith and hope in the new covenant (Deut 30:6). …The Pentateuch was written to Israel at a later time, certainly only after Israel’s failures that it records. It was given to tell Israel that the Sinai [“Old”] covenant had failed. As the prophet Hosea saw, the Pentateuch is primarily not about a wedding, but a divorce.
…In the Pentateuch we are confronted with a call to a new covenant, not to the old. In that respect, the Pentateuch is quite close in meaning to the NT book of Galatians. …Paul, in Galatians, raises the question of the continuing validity of the Sinai covenant. According to Galatians, the Sinai covenant failed. In the same way, the Pentateuch confronts its readers with the failure of the Sinai law and the hope of a new covenant” (26-7).
No wonder John Piper said about this book, “There is nothing like it. It will rock your world. You will never read the ‘Pentateuch’ the same again.”
Sailhamer concludes this section by asking the question, “If the purpose of the Pentateuch is to show that the Sinai covenant and its laws failed, why are there so many laws still in the Pentateuch?”
Good question. I’ll let you know what he says. Maybe. Maybe you should just read it.