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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Numbers 27

 

 

Verse 1

Then came 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: and these are the names of his daughters; Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah.

Then came the daughters of Zelophehad. They were of the seventh generation.


Verse 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, saying,

They stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation. The various members of the court which was assembled by Moses when it was desired to invest any measure with legal force are carefully enumerated in this passage. "All the congregation" means, of course, their representatives-namely, elders and officers (cf. Deuteronomy 29:10; Deuteronomy 31:28; Joshua 23:2).


Verse 3

Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons.

Our father died ... not ... in the company of Korah. This declaration might be necessary, because his death might have occurred about the time of that rebellion; and especially because, as the children of these conspirators were involved along with themselves in the awful punishment, their plea appeared the more proper and forcible, that their father did not die for any cause that doomed his family to lose their lives or their inheritance.

Died in his own sin - i:e., by the common law of mortality, to which men, through sin, are subject, or, as Dathe interprets it, that sin which was common to all the Israelites, who in the space of forty years died in the wilderness on account of their unbelief.

And had no sons , [ uwbaaniym (Hebrew #1121) lo' (Hebrew #3808) haayuw (Hebrew #1961) low (H3807a)] - 'and no sons are to him.' Though he might have had sons, there were none now in the family to claim their share in the respective division of the promised land. Rosenmuller ('Scholia,' hoc leco) gives a very different turn to this verse, rendering it thus: 'Our father died in the wilderness, leaving no sons; nor was he among those who rebelled against the Lord with Korah, who died on account of his own sin.'


Verse 4

Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father.

Give unto us ... a possession among the brethren of our father. Those young women-perceiving that the males only in families had been registered in the census, and that, in consequence of there being none in their household, their family was omitted-made known their grievance to Moses and the authorities conjoined with him in administering justice. The case was important; and as the peculiarity of daughters being the sole members of a family would be no unfrequent or uncommon occurrence, the law of inheritance, under divine authority, was extended, not only to meet all similar cases, but other cases also-such as when there were no children left by the proprietor, and no brothers to succeed him. A distribution of the promised land was about to be made; and it is interesting to know the legal provision made in these comparatively rare cases for preserving a patrimony from being alienated to another tribe (see the notes at Numbers 36:6-7).


Verse 5

And Moses brought their cause before the LORD.

Moses brought their cause before the Lord. Had the case involved the application of an existing law in a claim to a patrimonial inheritance, or had the Israelite leaders been about to carry into effect a humanly-devised scheme for colonizing a new country, the court to which the case was submitted for consideration would have been fully competent, in their collective wisdom, to decide to what was right or expedient to be done. But the Israelites were not to acquire the land of Canaan by right of conquest. It was assigned to them by the free gift of God. The tenure of property in it was held by every individual among them in accordance with the will of God; and therefore it was resolved wisely, in the case of Zeophehad's daughters, to refer the matter simpliciter to the decision of God. Their claim was admitted; and its recognition led to the enactment of a general law, that in all cases of a similar kind the rights of daughters should be acknowledged. Here is a case, among several that are found in the Mosaic code, of supplemental legislation in minor matters; and circumstances ere long occurred which necessitated the promulgation of an additional statute, (see the notes at Numbers 36:1-13.)


Verses 6-11

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 12

And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel.

Get thee up into this mount Abarim. Although the Israelites were now on the confines of the promised land, Moses was not privileged to cross the Jordan, but died on one of the Moabite mountain peaks, to which the general name of Abarim was given (Numbers 33:47). The privation of this great honour was owing to the unhappy conduct he had manifested in the striking of the rock at Meribah; and while the pious leader submitted with meek acquiescence to the divine decree, he evinced the spirit of genuine patriotism in his fervent prayers for the appointment of a worthy and competent successor.


Verses 13-15

And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 16

Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, God of the spirits of all flesh. The request was most suitably made to God in this character, as the Author of all the intellectual gifts and moral graces with which men are endowed, and who can raise up qualified persons for the most arduous duties and the most difficult situations.


Verse 17

Which may go out before them, and which may go in 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 18

And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;

Take thee Joshua ... a man in whom is the spirit. A strong testimony is here borne to the personality of the Divine Spirit. The imposition of hands was an ancient ceremony (see the notes at (Genesis 48:14; Leviticus 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:14).


Verse 19

And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 20

And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.

Put some of thine honour upon him. In the whole history of Israel there arose no prophet or ruler in all respects like unto Moses until the Messiah appeared, whose glory eclipsed all. But Joshua was honoured and qualified in an eminent degree through the special service of the high priest, who asked counsel for him after the judgement of Urim before the Lord.

That all the congregation of ... Israel may be obedient - literally, may hear.


Verse 21

And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word 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.

He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him. The leader under the theocracy was different from other commanders. In the whole of his public conduct he was to act merely as the minister of God, and therefore to wait for his instructions.

After the judgment of Urim before the Lord. The only person permitted to make application for divine direction, in special circumstances of public interest and importance, was the high priest, attired in his pontifical robes. He was to station himself before the veil which concealed the mercy-seat-the symbolical residence of Yahweh (see the notes at Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8).

At his word - i:e., at the word of the Lord as communicated by Eleazar - "shall they go out and at his word they shall come in, both he," Joshua himself, "and all the children of Israel with him."

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Numbers 27:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/numbers-27.html. 1871-8.

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