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The case of Zelophehad's daughters determined, ver. 1 - 11.
Notice given to Moses of his death, ver. 12 - 14.
His successor provided. ver. 15 - 23.
2: By the door of the tabernacle - Nigh unto which it seems was the
place where Moses and the chief rulers assembled for the administration
of publick affairs, which also was very convenient, because they had
frequent occasion of recourse to God for his direction.
3: In his own sin - For his own personal sins. It was a truth, and
that believed by the Jews that death was a punishment for mens own sins.
4: Be done away - As it will be, if it be not preserved by an
inheritance given to us in his name and for his sake. Hence some gather,
that the first son of each of these heiresses was called by their father's
name, by virtue of that law, (De 25:6), whereby the brother's first son
was to bear the name of his elder brother, whose widow he married. Give
us a possession - In the land of Canaan upon the division of it, which
though not yet conquered, they concluded would certainly be so, and thereby
gave glory to God.
10: No brethren - Nor sisters, as appears from (Nu 27:8).
11: A statute of judgment - A statute or rule, by which the
magistrates shall give judgment in such cases.
12: Abarim - The whole tract of mountains was called Abarim,
whereof one of the highest was called Nebo, and the top of that
13: Thou shalt be gathered unto thy people - Moses must die: but
death does not cut him off; it only gathers him to his people,
brings him to rest with the holy patriarchs that were gone before him.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were his people, the people of his choice,
and to them death gathered him.
15: And Moses spake unto the Lord - Concerning his successor. We
should concern ourselves both in our prayers and in our endeavours for the
rising generation, that God's kingdom may be advanced among men, when we
are in our graves.
16: The Lord of the spirits of all flesh - God of all men: the
searcher of spirits, that knowest who is fit for this great employment;
the father and giver and governor of spirits, who canst raise and suit
the spirits of men to the highest and hardest works.
17: Go out before them - That is, who may wisely conduct them in all
their affairs, both when they go forth to war, or upon other occasions, and
when they return home and live in peace. A metaphor from shepherds, who in
those places used not to go behind their sheep, as ours now do, but before
them, and to lead them forth to their pasture, and in due time to lead them
18: The spirit - The spirit of government, of wisdom, and of the fear
of the Lord. Lay thy hand - By which ceremony Moses did both design
the person and confer the power, and by his prayers, which accompanied that
rite, obtain from God all the spiritual gifts and graces necessary for his
19: Before all the congregation - That they may be witnesses of the
whole action, and may acknowledge him for their supreme ruler. Give
him charge - Thou shalt give him counsels and instructions for the right
management of that great trust.
20: Put some of thine honour - Thou shalt not now use him as a
servant, but as a brother and thy partner in the government, that the
people being used to obey him while Moses lived, might do it afterward
the more chearfully.
21: Who shall ask counsel for him - When he requires him to do so,
and in important and difficult matters. Of Urim - Urim is put for
both Urim and Thummim. Before the Lord - Ordinarily in the
tabernacle near the second veil setting his face to the ark.
At his word - The word of the Lord, delivered to him by the high priest.
22: And Moses did as the Lord commanded him - It had been little to
resign his honour to a son of his own. But with his own hands, first to
ordain Eleazar high - priest, and now Joshua chief ruler, while his
own children had no preferment at all, but were left in the rank of common
Levites: this was more to his glory than the highest advancement of his
family could have been. This shews him to have had a principle which raised
him above all other lawgivers, who always took care to establish their
families in some share of the greatness themselves possessed.