A quick assessment of Moses in Deuteronomy:
Throughout the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses is the single mouthpiece for God, admonishing, correcting, and forecasting Israel’s future. If we look at the book over all, we start with Moses, giving the Children of Israel confirmation of their birthright, blessings, government and the Law. He also gives them the heno/monotheistic creed of the Jewish peoples. In this, Moses assumes the role of the coming King’s resource, the Judge’s Law Book, God’s mouthpiece, and the beginning of the Commandment of God. Unlike the rest of the Torah, which we have to wait a considerable amount of time before coming to Moses’ place in history, this book begins immediately with Moses and his standing to speak over the Children of Israel. As a matter of fact, unlike the rest of the Torah, only Deuteronomy is given the purpose of relating Moses’ words.
Moses serves as well as the diviner of Justice (8.11-17) wherein Moses, like the Prophets, rebukes Israel’s hardened heart, a heart due to wealth and forgetting God. Further, he interprets God’s will for the children of Israel and acts and intercessor between God and Israel (9.11-29). During his discourse on the Law, he is in effect, calling Israel back to God, to remember the Law which God had given them to set them apart from the other nations. Further, he promotes the destruction of the pagan shrines (12), as prophets were apt to do. In chapter 13, we should be able to draw from the Text, which is about the anti-prophets, the ideal of Moses.
In 13.1-5, we find the possibility that signs and wonders may be in fact be proven true. Other prophets may arise wherein they give a good oracle or cause a rod to turn into a snake, but even if all of their powers are true, and all their oracles come true, if they still attempt to lead the Children of Israel after another God, they are to be killed. In 13.18, Moses places himself (or the author places Moses in the place) of YHWH’s prophet. Only the words spoke of by Moses where to be followed, regardless if the signs and wonders of Moses could no longer be performed. Here I note that both passages relate that the words of YHWH are what is the standard of measurement for any future prophet, and those words came from Moses. This plays, of course, a part in understanding of Deuteronomy 18 where we see Moses speaking of a future Prophet (Jeremiah?) which will come and speak the words of Moses. This prophet is to be ‘like Moses’ and I assume, call the people back to God and perhaps given them a new Law (cf Jeremiah 31).
At the close of the book, we find the authors relating a simple, history fact: that at no time since had a prophet ‘like Moses’ arisen in all of Israel. While this may be a post-script of post-exilic times, the scope of this statement stood, and still stands in the minds of many, as an ongoing condemnation of all other false prophets, and places all other writings as subject to the writings of Moses. Moses was not merely the generational leader needed to bring Israel through the Wilderness, but a leader which, across generations, was used to tie the Jews back to YHWH. No matter how poetic the Isaiah’s are, or how right their oracles are; no matter the justice of Amos; no matter the prophecies of Daniel – Moses towers above them all, making it difficult to continue the tradition of prophets even into modern times. No doubt, then, that the time of silence is so deafening. The words of the Deuteronomic Moses forces all others who seek to speak in the name of God to measure up, something none could do. (Christians, of course, disagree).