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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Numbers 27

 

 

Verses 1-23

LAWS OF INHERITANCE

(vs.1-11)

This section is an appendix to chapter 26, for it bears directly on the question of the inheritance of the tribes. Five daughters of one man who had died in the wilderness came to Moses to tell him that their father had no sons to inherit his property. Of course the property had not been allotted to any Israelite at that time, but what would be done in the case of a man who expected to receive property and had no sons? Were his daughters to be left with no inheritance?

The Lord gave an answer positively in favor of the daughters . Moses was to see that they received a possession in the land: the possession intended for their father should pass to his daughters (v.7).

Further, the Lord instructed that the normal practice in Israel would require an inheritance to be given to a daughter if there were no son to inherit it (v.9). If a man had no daughter, then his inheritance would pass to his brothers, or failing this, it would pass to the nearest living relative or relatives (vs.8-11).

In chapter 36:6-9, however, the Lord guarded against the danger of property being transferred from one tribe to another by decreeing that the daughters must marry within their own tribe.

In all of this it is taught that there is to be no difference as regards the inheritance of men and women. Though there are differences in responsibility and order in family life, in the assembly and in public life, yet all believers share alike in the great blessing of God in providing an inheritance "incorruptible and undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4). In the epistle to the Ephesians, before the question of relationships is considered -- husbands, wives, parents, children, servants and masters (ch.5:22-6:9) -- the first chapter (vs.1-6) shows every believer is given the same spiritual blessings.

JOSHUA APPOINTED TO TAKE MOSES PLACE

(vs.12-23)

Though Moses continued in leading Israel through nine chapters in Numbers following the occasion mentioned here, and though all the book of Deuteronomy was an address given by Moses to Israel, yet here we find God in advance giving instruction to Moses to appoint Joshua to take his place, telling him also to go up to the Mount Abarim, see the land of Israel from there, and there be taken away in death. This vision of the land and Moses' death are recorded in Deuteronomy 34:1-12.

The Lord reminded Moses that the reason he could not go over Jordan was that he had rebelled against the word of the Lord at Meribah, striking the rock in anger instead of speaking to it (v.14). Moses must therefore submit to the governmental results of his own failure. Such a lesson should speak deeply to the people of God today, that we may learn to bow to God's governmental dealings.

Moses, not discouraged because he was to be no longer the leader of Israel, but concerned still as to the welfare of the nation, appealed to "the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh" to set a man over the congregation (vs.15-16). Because he realized that God knew well the spirits of all mankind, he desired that God would choose one whose spirit was willing and able to meet the challenge of this great work. Thus in Moses we see one whose spirit was similar to that of Peter and Paul later on, both of whom were much concerned, not for their own honor, but for the welfare of the saints from whom they were called away by death (2 Peter 1:13; Acts 20:27-32).

Moses knew that Israel needed a dependable leader, not one only who would tell them what to do, but one to go before them as an example to follow, whether going out or coming in, that Israel would not be like sheep without a shepherd (v.17).

God had already prepared His man, Joshua, who had learned by close companionship with Moses for many years. His name is the name as Jesus in the Greek language, meaning "Jehovah Savior," for under his leadership Israel experienced the salvation of the Lord from all their enemies in the land of promise.

Moses then was told to lay his hand on Joshua, set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation of Israel, and inaugurate him publicly (vs.18-20). In doing so, Moses indicated that his authority was to be shared with Joshua, that all Israel should be obedient to Joshua just as fully as to Moses.

Moses willingly did as the Lord commanded, though it was not at that time that Moses was taken away in death (vs.22-23), so that it was still Moses through whom the Lord spoke through chapters 28 to 36, and it was Moses whose address to Israel occupied the whole book of Deuteronomy, except for chapter 34, which records his death and burial by the Lord.

The leader of the people, Moses, is clearly typical of the Lord Jesus, and just as Moses through death gave place to Joshua, so Christ told His disciples, "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you, but if I depart, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7). Joshua had been constantly the companion of Moses, just as the Spirit of God had been always with the Lord Jesus. We may rightly regard Joshua as a type of Christ also, but not Christ objectively, rather as "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). Christ is in us by the power of the Spirit of God, and it is in this way that He leads us into our heavenly inheritance, which is symbolized by Joshua's leading Israel into Canaan.

Joshua was to stand before Eleazar the priest, a type of Christ as High Priest in resurrection. Eleazar was to inquire for Joshua as to God's leading. This insists on the fact that though the saints of God have the Spirit dwelling in them, they still require the guidance of the heavenly Priest, by means of the Word of God. The Spirit within us must not be separated from Christ above us: both work in perfect unity.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Numbers 27:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/numbers-27.html. 1897-1910.

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