Numbers 27


‘The daughters of Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, belonged to the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. The names of the daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. They came forward and stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders and the whole assembly at the entrance to the tent of meeting and said, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among Korah’s followers, who banded together against the LORD, but he died for his own sin and left no sons. Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.” So Moses brought their case before the LORD, and the LORD said to him, “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them. “Say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance to his daughter. If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. If his father had no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan, that he may possess it. This is to have the force of law for the Israelites, as the LORD commanded Moses.’” Numbers 27:1-11

Zelophehad’s Daughters

This chapter begins by telling us that Zelophehad’s died a natural death, which tells us that Zelophehad wasn’t involved in the rebellion of Korah, Numbers:16:1-50.

He only has daughters, but no sons, whom under normal substances would inherit from him, Deuteronomy 25:5-10, and so, here, they have a valid claim to the inheritance and were given it.

This law of inheritance benefited the women of Israel, because it gave them the legal rights that they didn’t have previously.

Cook, in his commentary, says the following.

‘A father, whether or not sons had been born to him, had the power either before or at his death, to cause part of his estate to pass to a daughter, in which case her husband married into her family, rather than she into his, and the children were regarded as of the family from which the estate had come. A Biblical example of this is Machir, one of the ancestors of Zelophehad; although he had a son Gilead, he left also an inheritance to his daughter, the wife of Hezron of the tribe of Judah, by reason of which their descendants, including Jair, were reckoned as belonging to the tribe of Manasseh, Numbers 32:41 / 1 Chronicles 2:21ff.’

Joshua To Succeed Moses

‘Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go up this mountain in the Abarim Range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honour me as holy before their eyes.” (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.) Moses said to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the LORD. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.” Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORD instructed through Moses.’ Numbers 27:12-23

It was from Mount Abarim that God showed Moses the land of milk and honey. Remember, Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the land because of his sin of striking the rock twice instead of speaking to it, Numbers 20:1-13, however, in His grace, God allowed him to see it, Deuteronomy 34.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘These words prepare us for an account of Moses’ death, but the last nine chapters of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy come between this announcement of it and the actual record of it in Deuteronomy 34:1-8.’

Notice the lord tells Moses, that Joshua must take his place so that Israel won’t be like sheep without a shepherd. God wants His people to be led and the same still applies today, Micah 5:2-4 / John 10:11 / Acts 20:28 / 1 Peter 5:2 / 1 Peter 5:4 / John 21:15-17.

The time has now come for Moses to pass on the leadership of Israel to Joshua, in order, that they can go and conquer and take possession of the land as God promised, Numbers 14:6-10. Joshua went before the assembly, he was charged and appointed as Israel’s new leader, the one who would be Moses’ successor.

Joshua was in a position to lead Israel, because he, like Caleb, were the only two people who gave a good report concerning the land when the twelve spies originally went to Canaan, Numbers 13:30. Moses spoke face to face with God, however, God’s communication with His main leader was now changing.

Moses, the servant, appointed by God who rendered important, faithful, voluntary, but temporary service, had finished his work, but the purpose of God must continue to go forward. Joshua was the man to whom God gave the responsibility of leading the people into the Promised Land.

Something that must be understood is that Joshua was not a replacement for Moses. Sometimes it is said that Joshua was Moses’ successor, but that is not true. The only sense in which it may be said to be true is that Joshua succeeded him in time. He came after Moses, but he did not succeed him in office, i.e. he did not take over the position, or role of Moses.

We see this in Joshua going before Eleazar the priest who would make judgments in reference to the Urim and Thummim. The Urim and Thummim were two small objects in the ephod that was worn by the priests and were used for determining judgments from God, Exodus 28:30 / Deuteronomy 33:8.

Go To Numbers 28


"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."