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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.

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,

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.

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.

5 And Moses brought their cause before the LORD.

6 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

7 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.

8 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.

9 And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren.

10 And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father's brethren.

11 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.

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.

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

14 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.

15 And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,

16 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,

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.

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;

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

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

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.

22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:

23 And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

Commentary for Numbers 27

The daughters of Zelophehad apply for an inheritance, The law of inheritances. (1-11) Moses warned of his death. (12-14) Joshua appointed to succeed Moses. (15-23)1-11 The five daughters of Zelophehad considered themselves as left destitute, having neither father nor brother to inherit any land. Their believing expectation that the word of the Lord would be performed in due season, and their desire of an interest in the promised inheritance; and the modest, candid manner in which they asked, without secret murmurs or discontents, are a good example. They ask for a possession in the land of Canaan. Herein they discovered, 1. Strong faith in the power and promise of God, concerning the giving of the land of Canaan to Israel. 2. And earnest desire of a place and name in the land of promise, which was a type of heaven. 3. Respect and honour for their father, whose name was dear to them now he was gone. He never had done any thing that might bar his children's claim. It is a comfort to parents when they come to die, if though they have smarted for their own sin, yet they are not conscious of any of those iniquities which God will visit on their children. God himself gives judgment. He takes notice of the affairs, not only of nations, but of private families, and orders them according to his will. The petition is granted. Those who seek an inheritance in the land of promise, shall have what they seek for, and other things shall be added to them.

12-14 Moses must die, but he shall have the satisfaction of seeing the land of promise. This sight of Canaan signified his believing prospect of the better country, that is, the heavenly. Moses must die, but death does not cut him off; it only brings him to rest with the holy patriarchs. It is but to die as they died, having lived as they lived; and as their end was peace, why should we fear any evil in the passage of that dark valley?

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.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Numbers 27

  • A disciple
    Hi Irene; What the daughters of Zelophehad were saying to Moses, was that their father was not a part of the wicked rebellion of Dathan, Abiram, and Korah; (which was as it were, a high-water-mark of the intense envy, hostility and unbelief generally in the whole Nation of Israel); and that "he died in his own sins," I take to mean, generally, as we all have sinned. Does that help?
  • Irene123
    Num. 26:3 - states that Manasseh died in his own sin; I went to 'Got Questions', but they didn't even mention a sin. I wonder what it was. I'm 'almost' sure it can be figured out if we really study on Korah and then following Manasseh's story, but to save ME the trouble - I th'ot maybe someone else might know ..... ?
  • April
    When I pray to God and have things troubleing me or maybe things that just don't make sense,I talk to him but I also say I mean no disprespect Father, please look into my heart and my mind and know that I mean no disrespect,I really am just wanting to know or perhasp curious,I try to consider that Gods feelings can be upset or hurt as well, and I love our Father and he loves us all,God Bless,Amen.
  • Peter A. Okebukola
    God's ways are not our ways. He had ordained that Moses will take the Israelites out of Egypt up to a point on the way to the Promised Land and Joshua will take over command around Mount Abarim. God implemented this plan in Numbers 27. This tells us that we must leave everything to God and let Him have His way in our life, just as Moses did.
  • Iboro
    Moses resignedly gives over the government of the children of Israel to his right-hand man, Joshua, as the Lord commanded. This expression of prize meekness is reminiscent of Christ who died, resurrected and ascended into Heaven to summon our Comforter, the Holy Spirit.This, among others, is an attitude which every born-again minister ought to have.
  • Michael Ebhodaghe
    God is full of mercy and just. He feels what will feels. That is why he listen to the demands of the daugters of Zelophehad. We should learn to do the same as his children. Also God expect us to speak as his children and present our desire to him in the most modest way.
  • Eileen
    We are certainly living in the time of grace and mercy such a faithful man, the meekest man on earth but yet because of one disobedient he mist the promise land. thank you Jesus for extending mercy because we would all be lost.
  • Carolyn Davis
    Women needed to speak up and they did

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Bible Trivia

Who was instructed by God to lead the people after Moses' death?
  • Jacob
  • Aaron
  • Reuben
  • Joshua