Parashat Shoftim, A Prophet like Moshe a Messiah Figure


In this week’s reading from Parashat Shoftim (Devarim / Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9) Moshe writes on the establishment of offices of administration, judges, and officers and the necessity for justice saying כ   צֶדֶק צֶדֶק תִּרְדֹּף לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ: “16:20 ‘Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (NASB)  Based on the Hebrew text, to judge with justice is to judge righteously (מִשְׁפַּט-צֶדֶק) here the word for justice is synonymous with righteousness (צֶדֶק) in the English language (see 16:18-17:20). In the Parashah, Moshe continues writing to describe the portion to be given to the children of Levi (18:1-8), what the nations do is forbidden and detestable (כְּתוֹעֲבֹת ,תועבה) (18:9-14), the establishment of the cities of refuge (19:1-22), to not move your neighbor’s landmark and to not bear false testimony (19:14-21), what to do when going out to battle (20:1-20), and the expiation (how to make atonement) for a crime (21:1-9).  In the midst of these instructions, Moshe declares that God will rise up another prophet, one whom the Lord God will place His Word in His mouth, one who stands as an intermediary on behalf of the people because of their fear of the fiery voice of the Almighty was more than they could endure (18:15-16).  Based on this text, the promise of a prophet like Moshe, there developed some measure of Messianic overtones based on these verses within the first century that is revealed to us in the Ketuvei Shelachim (Apostolic Writings) (Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:15-22). Read More here.