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27. Joshua to Succeed Moses

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. 2And 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, 3Our 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. 4Why 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. 5And Moses brought their cause before the Lord.

6And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 7The 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. 8And 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. 9And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren. 10And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father’s brethren. 11And 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.

12And 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. 13And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered. 14For 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.

15And Moses spake unto the Lord, saying, 16Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, 17Which 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.

18And 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; 19And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. 20And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21And 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. 22And Moses did as the Lord commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: 23And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.

18. And the Lord said unto Moses. We here see that Joshua was given in answer to the prayers of Moses, which is not stated elsewhere. But, in order that he may obtain his dignity with the consent of all, he is honored with a signal encomium: for, when God declares that the Spirit is in him, He does not merely intimate that he has a soul, but that he excels in the necessary gifts, such as intelligence. judgment, magnanimity, and skill in war: and the word “spirit” is used, in a different sense from that which it has just above, for that eminent and rare grace, which manifested itself in Joshua. For this metonymy 234234     “De mettre l’Esprit pour les dons qui en previennent;” to put the Spirit for the gifts which proceed from it. — Fr. is a tolerably common figure in Scripture.

The solemn rite of his consecration by the imposition of hands follows, respecting which I have treated so fully elsewhere, 235235     See ante on Leviticus 8:10, vol. 3, p. 422. that it is now superfluous to say much upon it. It was in use before the giving of the Law, for thus the holy patriarchs blessed their sons. We have seen that the priests were inaugurated in their office, and that victims were offered to God, with this ceremony. The apostles followed this custom in the appointment of pastors. Moses, therefore, in order to testify publicly that Joshua was no longer his own master, but dedicated to God, and no longer to be regarded as a private individual, since he was called by God to the supreme command, laid his hands upon his head.

There was also another reason, viz., that, according to the requirements of the office intrusted to him, God would more and more enrich him (with His gifts;(Added from Fr.)) for there is nothing to prevent God from conferring richer endowments upon His servants according to the nature of their vocation, although they may have previously been eminent for spiritual gifts. Thus to Timothy, when he was appointed a pastor, new grace was given by the imposition of the hands of Paul, although he had before attained to no ordinary eminence. (2 Timothy 1:6.) To the same effect is what follows, that Moses should put some of his glory 236236     A.V., “honor.” upon him, as if resigning his own dignity; for by the word glory, not only external splendor, but rather spiritual honor is signified, whereby God commands reverence towards His servants; not that he was stripped of his own virtues by transferring them to Joshua, but because, without diminution of his own gifts, he made the person who was about to be his successor his associate in their possession.

It was fitting that this should be done before all the people, that all might willingly receive him as presented to them by God.

The charge given to him partly tended to confirm the authority of Joshua, and partly to bind him more solemnly to discharge his duties; for, inasmuch as Moses commanded him what he was to do in the name of God, he exempted himself from all suspicion of temerity; and, on the other hand, by the introduction of this duly authorized engagement, Joshua must have been more and more encouraged to faith and diligence.


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