Zelophehad’s Daughters. 1The daughters of Zelophehad, son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, came forward. (Zelophehad belonged to the clans of Manasseh, son of Joseph.) The names of his daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah.a 2Standing before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the princes, and the whole community at the entrance of the tent of meeting, they said: 3“Our father died in the wilderness. Although he did not join the faction of those who conspired against the LORD,* Korah’s faction, he died for his own sin without leaving any sons. 4But why should our father’s name be cut off from his clan merely because he had no son? Give us land among our father’s kindred.”
Laws Concerning Heiresses.* 5So Moses laid their case before the LORD, 6and the LORD said to him: 7The plea of Zelophehad’s daughters is just; you shall give them hereditary land among their father’s kindred and transfer their father’s heritage to them. 8Tell the Israelites: If a man dies without leaving a son, you shall transfer his heritage to his daughter; 9if he has no daughter, you shall give his heritage to his brothers; 10if he has no brothers, you shall give his heritage to his father’s brothers; 11if his father had no brothers, you shall give his heritage to his nearest relative in his clan, who shall then take possession of it.
This will be the statutory procedure for the Israelites, as the LORD commanded Moses.b
Joshua to Succeed Moses. 12The LORD said to Moses: Go up into this mountain of the Abarim range* and view the land that I have given to the Israelites.c 13When you have viewed it, you will be gathered to your people, as was Aaron your brother.d 14For in the rebellion of the community in the wilderness of Zin you both rebelled against my order to acknowledge my holiness before them by means of the water.e (These were the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)
15Then Moses said to the LORD, 16“May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all humanity,* set over the community someone 17who will be their leader in battle and who will lead them out and bring them in, that the LORD’s community may not be like sheep without a shepherd.” 18And the LORD replied to Moses: Take Joshua, son of Nun,f a man of spirit,* and lay your hand upon him. 19Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole community, and commission him in their sight. 20Invest him with some of your own power, that the whole Israelite community may obey him. 21He shall present himself to Eleazar the priest, who will seek for him the decision of the Urim* in the LORD’s presence; and as it directs, Joshua, all the Israelites with him, and the whole community will go out for battle; and as it directs, they will come in.
22Moses did as the LORD had commanded him. Taking Joshua and having him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole community, 23he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORD had directed through Moses.
* [27:3] He did not join…against the LORD: had he done so, he and his heirs could have been deprived of a portion in the promised land.
* [27:5–11] The purpose of this law, as also that of the related laws in 36:2–10 (marriage within the same tribe), Dt 25:5–10 (levirate marriage), and Lv 25:10 (return of property in the jubilee year), was to keep the landed property within the proper domain of each tribe.
* [27:12] The Abarim range: the mountains on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. The peak of this chain is Mount Nebo where Moses views the promised land before he dies (Dt 32:49).
* [27:16] The God of the spirits of all humanity: the sense is that God knows the character and abilities of all people and therefore knows best whom to appoint (cf. Jgs 6:34; 11:29; 1 Sm 16:13); see the same phrase in Nm 16:22, where “spirit” evidently means the life principle.
* [27:18] A man of spirit: lit., “a man in whom there is spirit,” that is, probably one who is endowed with a courageous spirit (Jos 2:11); compare Gn 41:38; Dt 34:9.
* [27:21] The Urim: certain sacred objects which Israelite priests employed to discern the divine will, probably by obtaining a positive or negative answer to a given question. The full expression was “the Urim and Thummim”; cf. Ex 28:30; Lv 8:8; Dt 33:8; Ezr 2:63; Neh 7:65. Joshua ordinarily did not receive direct revelations from God as Moses had received them.
c. [27:12] Dt 3:27; 32:49; 34:1.