Numbers 27:18
And the LORD said to Moses, Take you Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him;
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(18) In whom is the spirit . . . —The definite article is not used in the original. The word translated “spirit” appears to denote spiritual endowment and qualifications.

And lay thine hand upon him.—It is to be observed that the spiritual qualifications of Joshua did not supersede the necessity of an outward consecration to his office. Nay, more; it seems that special qualifications for the office were bestowed in connection with the imposition of the hands of Moses, for it is written in Deuteronomy 34:9 that “Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him.”

Numbers 27:18. In whom is the spirit — Or spiritual endowments from the Holy Ghost; for it is by the influence of the Spirit of God that all good gifts are communicated to the sons of men. It particularly means here, the spirit of wisdom, courage, and the fear of God, with other gifts necessary for a well-qualified governor. Hence Joshua is said to have been full of the spirit of wisdom, Deuteronomy 34:9. Lay thy hand upon him — By which ceremony Moses did both design the person and confer the power, and by his prayers, which accompanied that rite, obtain from God all the spiritual gifts and graces necessary for his future employment.27:15-23 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.In whom is the spirit Compare Genesis 41:38. Joshua was endowed by God with the requisite spiritual qualifications for the office. Moses howerer, was to lay his hands upon him, both in order to confer formal and public appointment, and also (compare Deuteronomy 34:9) to confirm and strengthen the spiritual gifts already bestowed. The previous reception of the inner grace did not dispense with that of the outward sign; compare the case of Cornelius Acts 10:44-48; and Paul's baptism after his miraculous conversion Acts 9:18. Nu 27:18-23. Joshua Appointed to Succeed Him.

18. Take thee Joshua … a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him—A strong testimony is here borne to the personality of the divine Spirit—the imposition of hands was an ancient ceremony. (See Ge 48:14; Le 1:4; 1Ti 4:14).

The spirit; the spirit of government, of wisdom, and of the fear of the Lord, &c.

Lay thine hand upon him; by which ceremony Moses did both design the person and confer the power, and by his prayers, which accompanied that rite, obtain from God all the spiritual gifts and graces necessary for his future employment, as appears from Deu 34:9. See of this custom Genesis 48:14 Leviticus 1:4 Numbers 8:10 1 Timothy 4:14. And the Lord said unto Moses,.... In answer to his request:

take thou Joshua the son of Nun, who had been a servant of his near forty years, and of whose humility, diligence, faithfulness and integrity he had sufficient proof, as well as of his skill and courage in military affairs, particularly at the battle with Amalek, Exodus 17:9,

a man in whom is the Spirit: not only in whom is a spirit or soul, which is in every man; but the Spirit of God, and that not only as a spirit of grace and sanctification, which is in every good man; but as a spirit of prophecy, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; or rather it respects the more than ordinary gifts of the Spirit qualifying him for government, as courage and conduct, wisdom, prudence, and greatness of mind:

and lay thine hand upon him; thereby transferring the government to him, pointing him out to the people as his successor; to show to the children of Israel that he was in his place, as Aben Ezra notes; upon which followed a larger measure of the gifts of the Spirit of God; see Deuteronomy 34:9.

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

(f) And so appoint him governor.

18. a man in whom is (om. ‘the’) spirit] An influence proceeding from God already dwells in him. This was not the frenzied spirit of prophecy (Numbers 11:25 f.) but as in Deuteronomy 34:9 ‘the spirit of wisdom,’ prudence, capacity.

and lay thine hand upon him] This action has more than one significance in the O.T. For the meaning in Numbers 8:10 see note there. In Genesis 48:14 it accompanies a solemn blessing; here it symbolizes the handing on of Moses’ office to Joshua. In later Jewish times it was employed in admitting a person to the position of Rabbi. And in the Christian Church it remains to this day as the apostolic rite of ordination (cf. Acts 6:6; Acts 13:3; 1 Timothy 3:14; 2 Timothy 1:6), in which all three meanings—blessing, succession to office, and authority to teach—are combined.Verse 18. - Take thee Joshua. Joshua was now for the first time designated at the request of Moses as his successor; he had, however, been clearly marked out for that office by his position as one of the two favoured survivors of the elder generation, and as the "minister" and confidant of Moses. In regard of the first he had no equal but Caleb, in regard of the second he stood quite alone. A man in whom is the spirit. רוּחַ here, although without the definite article, can only mean the Holy Spirit, as in Numbers 11:25 sq. Lay thine hand upon him. According to Deuteronomy 34:9 this was to be done in order that Joshua might receive with the imposition of hands a spiritual gift (charisma) of wisdom for the discharge of his high office. It would appear also from the next paragraph that it was done as an outward and public token of the committal of authority to Joshua as the successor of Moses. The Death of Moses Foretold. - After these instructions concerning the division of the land, the Lord announced to Moses his approaching end. From the mountains of Abarim he was to see the land which the Israelites would receive, and then like Aaron to be gathered to his people, because like him he also had sinned at the water of strife at Kadesh. This announcement was made, "that he might go forward to his death with the fullest consciousness, and might set his house in order, that is to say, might finish as much as he could while still alive, and provide as much as possible what would make up after his death for the absence of his own person, upon which the whole house of Israel was now so dependent" (Baumgarten). The fulfilment of this announcement is described in Deuteronomy 32:48-52. The particular spot upon the mountains of Abarim from which Moses saw the land of Canaan, is also minutely described there. It was Mount Nebo, upon which he also died. The mountains of Abarim (cf. Numbers 33:47) are the mountain range forming the Moabitish table-land, which slope off into the steppes of Moab. It is upon this range, the northern portion of which opposite to Jericho bore the name of Pisgah, that we are to look for Mount Nebo, which is sometimes described as one of the mountains of Abarim (Deuteronomy 32:49), and at other times as the top of Pisgah (Deuteronomy 3:27; Deuteronomy 34:1; see at Numbers 21:20). Nebo is not to be identified with Jebel Attarus, but to be sought for much farther to the north, since, according to Eusebius (s. v. Ἀβαρείμ), it was opposite to Jericho, between Livias, which was in the valley of the Jordan nearly opposite to Jericho, and Heshbon; consequently very near to the point which is marked as the "Heights of Nebo" on Van de Velde's map. The prospect from the heights of Nebo must have been a very extensive one. According to Burckhardt (Syr. ii. pp. 106-7), "even the city of Heshbon (Hhuzban) itself stood upon so commanding an eminence, that the view extended at least thirty English miles in all directions, and towards the south probably as far as sixty miles." On the expression, "gathered unto thy people," see at Genesis 25:8, and on Aaron's death see Numbers 20:28. מריתם כּאשׁר: "as ye transgressed My commandment." By the double use of כּאשׁר (quomodo, "as"), the death of Aaron, and also that of Moses, are placed in a definite relation to the sin of these two heads of Israel. As they both sinned at Kadesh against the commandment of the Lord, so they were both of them to die without entering the land of Canaan. On the sin, see at Numbers 20:12-13, and on the desert of Zin, at Numbers 13:21.
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