Numbers chapter 27

The Daughters of Zelophehad. Laws benefitting women. Joshua is chosen as leader.

 


 

THE DAUGHTERS OF ZELOPHEHAD

 

VERSE 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, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

the daughters. They approach Moses and the elders.

Zelophehad. This Hebrew word means “dark shadow.”

These are the names. There are five sisters.

 

VERSE 2. They stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, at the door of the Tent of Meeting, saying,

 

VERSE 3. “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among 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.

died in his own sin. The Talmud and the Zohar surmise Zelophehad was the man executed for gathering sticks on the Sabbath.

 

VERSE 4. Why should the name of our father be taken away from among his family, because he had no son? Give to us a possession among the brothers of our father.

Give to us a possession. This is a bold request.

 

LAWS CONCERNING WOMEN

 

VERSE 5. Moses brought their cause before the LORD.

Moses did not dismiss their cause.

In our day, a growing number of Christian men are dismissive of the claims of women.

Here is one example: the reception of the #MeToo movement. Christian men should have led the way in defending women against abusers.

But instead Christian men do an evil thing. They shame the victims. They invent excuses and rationalizations. They defend the abusers. They politicize the situation.

 

VERSE 6. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

VERSE 7. “The daughters of Zelophehad speak right. You shall surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brothers. You shall cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them.

The daughters of Zelophehad speak right. The LORD God favors the righteous cause of the women.

 

VERSE 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.

cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter. This may be the first instance of female ownership of land in the ancient world.

For the daughters of Zelophehad, this is fulfilled in Joshua chapter 17.

 

VERSE 9. If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers.

 

VERSE 10. If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers.

 

VERSE 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.’ ”

 

JOSHUA CHOSEN AS LEADER

 

VERSE 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.

see the land. Moses will be prevented from entering the Promised Land.

But before Moses dies, he will be permitted to view it.

 

VERSE 13. When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was gathered;

you also shall be gathered to your people. This means “you will die.”

 

VERSE 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.)

you rebelled against my word. That was when Moses “struck” the rock instead of “speaking” to it.

Numbers 20:11. Moses lifted up his hand, and struck the rock with his rod twice, and water came out abundantly. The congregation and their livestock drank.

 

VERSE 15. Moses spoke to the LORD, saying,

 

VERSE 16. “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation,

Let the LORD … appoint a man. Moses asks the LORD God to name a successor.

of the spirits. The Hebrew word is הָרוּחֹ֖ת (“hā·rū·ḥōṯ”). It is often pronounced “rū·aḥ.” It means breath, wind, spirit.

In the Old Testament, the Spirit is not mentioned often. However, the Spirit was indeed present and interacted with us humans. Read more »

 

VERSE 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 may not be as sheep which have no shepherd.”

sheep which have no shepherd. The people of the LORD God are prone to going astray. In those times, they need a godly shepherd to bring them back. Read more »

 

VERSE 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.

a man in whom is the Spirit. The Hebrew word for “Spirit” is ר֣וּחַ (“rū·aḥ”). It means breath, wind, spirit.

In the Old Testament, the Spirit is not mentioned often. However, the Spirit was indeed present and interacted with us humans. Read more »

 

VERSE 19. Set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and commission him in their sight.

commission him in their sight. When the time arrives for Moses to “step down” as leader, he is to pass the torch to Joshua son of Nun.

It will be done in a public way. The whole community will witness it. That way there will be no disputing the outcome.

 

VERSE 20. You shall give authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may obey.

You shall give authority to him. For decades, Moses had trained Joshua in the ways of faith and spirituality and leadership.

Then Moses steps aside and passes the mantle of leadership to Joshua.

In our own ministry of discipleship, we do something similar.

We train believers in the ways of faith and spirituality and leadership. In the fullness of time, we step aside and pass the mantle of leadership to them.

 

VERSE 21. He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment 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.”

 

VERSE 22. Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation.

 

VERSE 23. He laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORD spoke by Moses.

 


next chapter »

« previous chapter


NUMBERS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 0506, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 3536

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize, Worshipping Baal

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.