The books Exodus through Numbers center largely on the journey from Egypt through the wilderness to the edge of the Promised Land. Deuteronomy is presented in the form of speeches in the mouth of Moses. He reviews their history, encourages them to uphold the teachings they have received.
Moses died. He was mourned for thirty days. His burial place is not known. His mourners could not make it a shrine or a place of pilgrimage. They had to move on.
Although his burial place has been forgotten, his leadership is not. The book of Deuteronomy ends with a eulogy, but these words of praise are not contemporaneous with his burial. Rather, they are written much after that time. These words reflect an assessment of Moses' place in the history of God's relationship with humans: No prophet after him was known to the Lord face to face. He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders he performed, all his mighty deeds, and terrifying displays of power.
They need a leader, and Joshua is chosen. We have two versions of his commissioning. In Numbers 27:18, God tells Moses to choose Joshua. In Deuteronomy 32:23, the Lord speaks directly to Joshua. Two versions, but not necessary contradictory ones.
How did the people themselves discern that Joshua was to be the appropriate successor to Moses? How is God's will ever discerned?
Lectio Divina: Psalm 90:13, 17