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Numbers Chapter 27
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Deuteronomy

Tzelafchad's Daughters
27:1 A petition was presented by the daughters of Tzelafchad, son of Chefer, son of Gilead, son of Makhir, son of Manasseh, of the family of Joseph's son Manasseh. The names of these daughters were Machlah, No'ah, Chaglah, Milkah and Tirtzah.
27:2 They now stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the princes, and the entire community at the Communion Tent entrance with the following petition:
27:3 'Our father died in the desert. He was not among the members of Korach's party who protested against God, but he died because of his own sin without leaving any sons.
27:4 Why should our father's name be disadvantaged in his family merely because he did not have a son? Give us a portion of land along with our father's brothers.'
27:5 Moses brought their case before God.

Inheritance for Daughters
27:6 God spoke to Moses, saying:
27:7 The daughters of Tzelafchad have a just claim. Give them a hereditary portion of land alongside their father's brothers. Let their father's hereditary property thus pass over to them.
27:8 Speak to the Israelites and tell them that if a man dies and has no son, his hereditary property shall pass over to his daughter.
27:9 If he has no daughter, then his hereditary property shall be given to his brothers.
27:10 If he has no brothers, you shall give his property to his father's brothers.
27:11 If his father had no brothers, then you shall give his property to the closest relative in his family, who shall then be his heir.

This was the decreed law for the Israelites, as God had commanded Moses.


Moses Told to Prepare for Death
27:12 God said to Moses, 'Climb up to the Avarim Mountain where you will be able to see the land that I am giving to the Israelites.
27:13 After you see it, you will be gathered up to your people, just as your brother Aaron was.
27:14 When the community disputed God in the Tzin Desert, you disobeyed My commandment [when you were] to sanctify Me before their eyes with the water.'

[God was speaking] of the Waters of Dispute (Mey Meribhah) at Kadesh in the Tzin Desert.


Joshua Chosen to Replace Moses
27:15 Moses spoke to God, saying,
27:16 'Let the Omnipotent God of all living souls appoint a man over the community.
27:17 Let him come and go before them, and let him bring them forth and lead them. Let God's community not be like sheep that have no shepherd.'
27:18 God said to Moses, 'Take Joshua son of Nun, a man of spirit, and lay your hands on him.
27:19 Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before the entire community, and let them see you commission him.
27:20 Invest him with some of your splendor so that the entire Israelite community will obey him.
27:21 Let him stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall seek the decision of the Urim before God on his behalf. By this word [Joshua], along with all the Israelites and the entire community shall come and go.'
27:22 Moses did as God had ordered him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and before the entire community.
27:23 He then laid his hands on him and commissioned him. [It was all done] as God had commanded Moses.



Commentary:

daughters of Tzelafchad
  See Numbers 26:33. Josephus states that this took place after the battle against Midian (Antiquities 4:7:5).

the princes, and...
  Some say that they had previously brought their case to all the lower courts, who now came with them to Moses (Tanchuma 9; cf. Tosefta, Sanhedrin 7:1). Some say that the question was actually asked by the elders (Josephus, Antiquities 4:7:5).

own sin
  Some say that he was the one cutting wood on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:33). Others say that he was among those who tried to invade the Holy Land's hill country (Numbers 14:45) (Sifri on 15.33; Shabbath 96b, 97a; Rashi).

Avarim Mountain
  This is the mountain range to the east of the Dead Sea, particularly at its northern end. They are in front of Mount Nebo (Numbers 33:47; Deuteronomy 32:49). Some say that they were called Avarim because they were opposite the crossing point to Jericho (Tur; cf. Josephus, Antiquities 4:8:48). See Deuteronomy 32:49. This would indicate that Mount Nebo was on the site of the present Mount Sh'anab, some 8 miles north of its traditional site. However, the stream Abu Arabeh flows into the Jordan almost exactly west of the traditional site of Mount Nebo. Some say that it was called Avarim because from its peak one could see the burial places of Aaron and Miriam (Zohar 3:183b; Bachya on 20:28, Deuteronomy 32:49).

Aaron was
  Numbers 20:28.

Tzin Desert
  See Numbers 13:21, 20:1.

Waters of Dispute
  See Numbers 20:13.

Omnipotent...
  See Numbers 16.22.

lay your hands...
  See Deuteronomy 34:9. Some say that this 'laying of hands' actually denoted ordination (Sanhedrin 13b). According to others, Moses actually laid his hands on Joshua, but in later generations, it was not required for ordination (Yad, Sanhedrin 4:1,2).

splendor
  That is, authority (Ibn Ezra; Sforno). Others say that Moses gave Joshua a radiance similar to his own (Exodus 34:29; Targum Yonathan). The Talmud states that Moses' face gleamed like the sun, while Joshua's shone like the moon (Bava Bathra 75a).

Urim
  See Exodus 28:30.

this
  (Ibn Ezra). Or, 'Eleazar's' (Rashi).





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