Numbers 27

1 Then the daughters of Zelophehad, 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 came near. These are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah. 2 They stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, at the door of the Tent of Meeting, saying, 3 “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not amongst the company of those who gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah, but he died in his own sin. He had no sons. 4 Why should the name of our father be taken away from amongst his family, because he had no son? Give to us a possession amongst the brothers of our father.” 5 Moses brought their cause before the LORD. 6 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 7 “The daughters of Zelophehad speak right. You shall surely give them a possession of an inheritance amongst their father’s brothers. You shall cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them. 8 You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘If a man dies, and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter. 9 If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 If his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his kinsman who is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it. This shall be a statute and ordinance for the children of Israel, as the LORD commanded Moses.’” 12 The LORD said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel. 13 When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was gathered; 14 because in the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin, to honor me as holy at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.) 15 Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, 16 “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, 17 who may go out before them, and who may come in before them, and who may lead them out, and who may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD not be as sheep which have no shepherd.” 18 The LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. 19 Set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and commission him in their sight. 20 You shall give authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may obey. 21 He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgement of the Urim before the LORD. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” 22 Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation. 23 He laid his hands on him, and commissioned him, as the LORD spoke by Moses.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–11

The five daughters of Zelophehad considered themselves as left destitute, having neither father nor brother to inherit any land. Their believing expectation that the word of the Lord would be performed in due season, and their desire of an interest in the promised inheritance; and the modest, candid manner in which they asked, without secret murmurs or discontents, are a good example. They ask for a possession in the land of Canaan. Herein they discovered, 1. Strong faith in the power and promise of God, concerning the giving of the land of Canaan to Israel. 2. And earnest desire of a place and name in the land of promise, which was a type of heaven. 3. Respect and honour for their father, whose name was dear to them now he was gone. He never had done any thing that might bar his children’s claim. It is a comfort to parents when they come to die, if though they have smarted for their own sin, yet they are not conscious of any of those iniquities which God will visit on their children. God himself gives judgment. He takes notice of the affairs, not only of nations, but of private families, and orders them according to his will. The petition is granted. Those who seek an inheritance in the land of promise, shall have what they seek for, and other things shall be added to them.

Verses 12–14

Moses must die, but he shall have the satisfaction of seeing the land of promise. This sight of Canaan signified his believing prospect of the better country, that is, the heavenly. Moses must die, but death does not cut him off; it only brings him to rest with the holy patriarchs. It is but to die as they died, having lived as they lived; and as their end was peace, why should we fear any evil in the passage of that dark valley? (Nu 27:15-23)

Verses 15–23

Envious spirits do not love their successors; but Moses was not one of these. We should concern ourselves, both in our prayers and in our endeavours, for the rising generation, that religion may be maintained and advanced, when we are in our graves. God appoints a successor, even Joshua; who had signalized himself by his courage in fighting Amalek, his humility in ministering to Moses, and his faith and sincerity in witnessing against the report of the evil spies. This man God appoints to succeed Moses; a man in whom is the Spirit, the Spirit of grace. He is a good man, fearing God and hating covetousness, and acting from principle. He has the spirit of government; he is fit to do the work and discharge the trusts of his place. He has a spirit of conduct and courage; he had also the Spirit of prophecy. That man is not fully qualified for any service in the church of Christ, who is destitute of the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit, whatever human abilities he may possess. And in Joshua’s succession we are reminded “that the law was given by Moses,” who by reason of our transgression could not bring us to heaven; but “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” for the salvation of every believer.

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