Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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.
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,
27:2 By the door of the tabernacle - Nigh unto which it seems was the place where Moses and the chief rulers assembled for the administration of publick affairs, which also was very convenient, because they had frequent occasion of recourse to God for his direction.
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.
27:3 In his own sin - For his own personal sins. It was a truth, and that believed by the Jews that death was a punishment for mens own sins.
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.
27:4 Be done away - As it will be, if it be not preserved by an inheritance given to us in his name and for his sake. Hence some gather, that the first son of each of these heiresses was called by their father's name, by virtue of that law, Deu 25:6, whereby the brother's first son was to bear the name of his elder brother, whose widow he married. Give us a possession - In the land of Canaan upon the division of it, which though not yet conquered, they concluded would certainly be so, and thereby gave glory to God.
And Moses brought their cause before the LORD.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.
And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter.
And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren.
And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father's brethren.
27:10 No brethren - Nor sisters, as appears from Nu 27:8.
And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the LORD commanded Moses.
27:11 A statute of judgment - A statute or rule, by which the magistrates shall give judgment in such cases.
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.
27:12 Abarim - The whole tract of mountains was called Abarim, whereof one of the highest was called Nebo, and the top of that Pisgah.
And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered.
27:13 Thou shalt be gathered unto thy people - Moses must die: but death does not cut him off; it only gathers him to his people, brings him to rest with the holy patriarchs that were gone before him. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were his people, the people of his choice, and to them death gathered him.
For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes: that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.
And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,
27:15 And Moses spake unto the Lord - Concerning his successor. We should concern ourselves both in our prayers and in our endeavours for the rising generation, that God's kingdom may be advanced among men, when we are in our graves.
Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
27:16 The Lord of the spirits of all flesh - God of all men: the searcher of spirits, that knowest who is fit for this great employment; the father and giver and governor of spirits, who canst raise and suit the spirits of men to the highest and hardest works.
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.
27:17 Go out before them - That is, who may wisely conduct them in all their affairs, both when they go forth to war, or upon other occasions, and when they return home and live in peace. A metaphor from shepherds, who in those places used not to go behind their sheep, as ours now do, but before them, and to lead them forth to their pasture, and in due time to lead them home again.
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;
27:18 The spirit - The spirit of government, of wisdom, and of the fear of the Lord. Lay thy hand - 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.
And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.
27:19 Before all the congregation - That they may be witnesses of the whole action, and may acknowledge him for their supreme ruler. Give him charge - Thou shalt give him counsels and instructions for the right management of that great trust.
And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
27:20 Put some of thine honour - Thou shalt not now use him as a servant, but as a brother and thy partner in the government, that the people being used to obey him while Moses lived, might do it afterward the more chearfully.
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.
27:21 Who shall ask counsel for him - When he requires him to do so, and in important and difficult matters. Of Urim - Urim is put for both Urim and Thummim. Before the Lord - Ordinarily in the tabernacle near the second veil setting his face to the ark. At his word - The word of the Lord, delivered to him by the high priest.
And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:
27:22 And Moses did as the Lord commanded him - It had been little to resign his honour to a son of his own. But with his own hands, first to ordain Eleazar high - priest, and now Joshua chief ruler, while his own children had no preferment at all, but were left in the rank of common Levites: this was more to his glory than the highest advancement of his family could have been. This shews him to have had a principle which raised him above all other lawgivers, who always took care to establish their families in some share of the greatness themselves possessed.
And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.