Nu 27:1-11. The Daughters of Zelophehad Ask for an Inheritance.
3. Our father died in the wilderness, and he was 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 their fathers 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 -- that is, by the common law of mortality to which men, through sin, are subject.
4. Give unto us a possession among the brethren of our father -- Those young women perceived that the males only in families had been registered in the census. Because there were none in their household, their family was omitted. So they 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 infrequent 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 on Nu 36:5).
Nu 27:12-17. Moses Being Told of His Approaching Death, Asks for a Successor.
12. The Lord said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land -- 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 Moabitic range of mountains, to which the general name of Abarim was given (Nu 33:47). The privation of this great honor was owing to the unhappy conduct he had manifested in the striking of the rock at Meribah [Nu 20:12]; 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 [Nu 27:15-17].
16. God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation -- 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.
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).
20, 21. Thou shalt 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 till the Messiah appeared, whose glory eclipsed all. But Joshua was honored and qualified in an eminent degree, through the special service of the high priest, who asked counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord.