NUMBERS CHAPTER 27.
A Special Precept of Inheritances.
Joshua Moses' Successor.
the grievance of the daughters of zelophehad adjusted. — V. 1. Then came the daughters of Zeiophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh, the son of Joseph; and these are the names of his daughters, the ones who were concerned in this question: Mahlah, Noah, and Hogiah, and Milcah, and Tirzah. V. 2. And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar, the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, they stepped before the official representatives of the people with a petition, saying, v. 3. Our father died in the wilderness, as did all the other men of the older generation, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah, he had not joined the ranks of the rebels at that time, chap. 16, 11; but died in his own sin, the common transgression of all those that died in the wilderness, and had no sons. V. 4. Why should the name of our father be done away, cut off, extirpated, and thus destroyed and forgotten, from among his family because he hath no son? Give unto us, therefore, a possession among the brethren of our father. Their petition was that in such circumstances as those in which they found themselves the female heirs could represent and take the place of male. Without being conscious of it, they really demanded an elevation of woman in her social dignity. In the case of the marriage of a daughter into a different tribe the name of her father would have died out among the people, whereas, if their petition Would be granted, a girl could marry a man who would enter upon her possession, the children of such a union preserving the name and continuing the inheritance of the grandfather on the maternal side. V. 5. And Moses brought their cause before the Lord, for it was a case which required divine adjustment. V. 6. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, v. 7. The daughters of Zeiophehad speak right, the justice of their plea was recognized by the Lord; thou shall surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father, that which he would have received, had he remained alive, to pass unto them. To this was afterwards added a precept concerning the marriage of such a woman within her own tribe, chap. 36, 8. V. 8. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter (or daughters). V. 9. And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren. V. 10. And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father's brethren. V. 11. And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it, the order thus being: son, daughter, brothers, uncles, nearest relative beyond this circle; and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the Lord commanded Moses. Instances of the application of this law are found chap. 32, 41; Deut. 3, 14; 1 Chron. 2, 21. 22; Ezra 2, 61; Neh. 7, 63. Note that these women were striking examples of faith, for they firmly believed that the land of Canaan would be inherited by Israel and made arrangements accordingly.
moses informed of his end. — V. 12. And the Lord said unto Moses, Get thee up into this Mount Abarim, the range which runs parallel to the Jordan and the Dead Sea, the highest point of which, in that section which bore the name Pisgah, was Mount Nebo, from which Moses later viewed the Land of Promise, Deut. 32,48-52, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel. This announcement was made at this time in order to remind Moses that his career was near its close and that he must prepare both himself and the people whom he had led thus far for his death, providing for their welfare and consecrating his successor. V. 13. And when thou hast seen it, thou also shall be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron, thy brother, was gathered, chap. 20, 24. 28. V. 14. For ye rebelled against My commandment in the Desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, when the congregation was dissatisfied and murmured against the Lord, chap. 20, 12. 13, to sanctify Me at the water before their eyes; that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin. There it was that Moses, provoked in his spirit, had spoken unadvisedly with his lips, Ps. 106, 33. V. 15. And Moses spake unto the Lord, saying, v. 16. Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, who gives life and breath to all beings, set a man over the congregation, for the definite order of Jehovah would prevent dissatisfaction with the choice of the person, v. 17. which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, both as they set forth from a camp and as they pitched in a new place, in all the marches and journeys which they still had before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd. Till the last the love of Moses prompted him to regard the children of Israel with tender concern, such as every pastor feels concerning the people entrusted to his spiritual care.
joshua appointed leader of the people. V. 18. And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua, the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, he had shown the intelligence, the executive ability, and the spirituality needed for the difficult office, and lay thine hand upon him; v. 19. and set him before Eleazar, the priest, and before all the congregation, in a form of ordination or consecration for his work; and give him a charge in their sight, formally transmit the office of leader to him. V. 20. And thou shall put some of thine honor upon him, as much as Joshua needed for the effective administration of his leadership, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient, giving him the same deference in word and deed which they had owed and usually showed to Moses. V. 21. And he shall stand before Eleazar, the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord; he was dependent upon the counsel of the high priest as given by means of the mysterious Urim, for he had no direct access to God, as Moses had, Ex. 28, 30. At his word, in accordance with the utterance which the high priest would make by means of the Urim and Thummim entrusted to him, shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. V. 22. And Moses did as the Lord commanded him; and he took Joshua and set him before Eleazar, the priest, and before all the congregation, Deut. 31, 7. 8; v. 23. and he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses. That was the formal installation and induction of Joshua into the duties of his high office. Although we have no command of God to that effect, we also install the officers of the church with due solemnity, in order to remind them of the great responsibility resting upon them.