Interesting, isn’t it? What really happened is that after the Assyrian conquest of the ten nothern tribes, but before the Babylonaian Captivity of the southern kingdom, Judah, the reamining Hebrews (the “Jews”) decided it would be a good idea to start collecting and writing down the stories and the words of the Prophets, before they were lost.
Writing down a book of stories, I would argue, helped immensely in keeping the Jewish people together during the Babylonian captivity. For they had a book of stories that told how they were special as a people.
So, in the centuries leading up to the birth of Jesus, the leaders of the Jewish community had to sit down and make a lot of decisions as to what scripture to include and what not to include. It is intereating that writings as different as Genesis, The Book of Job, and Ecclesiastes were all included. Especially as the latter almost reads as if written by an atheist.
A curious thing then happened. After “the Book” was considered complete, the “Era of Prophecy” was deemed to be closed.
Why? Very simply, the reason was this: Once enough Scripture was in place, it was easier to persuade people you understood the Word of God by “finding” or “discovering” your ideas in the existing Scripture than trying to write new Scripture.
For, as Jesus said, “a Prophet is not without honor”… but typically doesn’t get it in his lifetime. To persaude people that God has talked to you is difficult… it’s easier for a group of followers to persuade people of that, after the prophet is safely dead and buried.
It’s much easier to “discover” what you want to say in an existing Holy Book — becasue all you have to do is argue for your interpretation, like any good scholar.
To tell people that God Almighty spoke to you in the wilderness is a much tougher sell.
But notably, the profession of Prophet did not end altogether. The New Testament singles Jesus out as “one who taught with authority,” rather than quoting Scripture — although he could apparently quote Scripture when it was helpful to him.
And then there were all the latter-day prophets… prophets who brought a new revelation rather than merely using the words of old and dead prophets. And these prophets wrote a whole new “Bible,” or extension to the old Bible.
There was the Prophet Mohammed.
There was Joseph Smith.
There are the latter day Mormon prophets, preaching polygamy.
L. Ron Hubbard.
The challenge, in all these cases, is for the prophet to convince people that God spoke to them and no one else. I won’t comment on that at this time.
There were many, many more who tried, I believe… but these are the ones who succeeded. They found enough of “the faithful” if you agree with them, or “the gullible” if you don’t.