A Law of Inheritance

Then the [five] daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, from the [a]tribes of Manasseh [who was] the son of Joseph, approached [with a request]. These are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and all the congregation at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle), saying, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among those who assembled together against the Lord in the company of Korah, but he died for his own sin [as did all those who rebelled at Kadesh], and he had no sons.(A) Why should the name of our father be removed from his family because he had no son? Give to us a possession (land) among our father’s brothers.” So Moses brought their case before the Lord.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “The request of the daughters of Zelophehad is justified. You shall certainly give them a possession as an inheritance among their father’s brothers, and you shall transfer their father’s inheritance to them. Further, you shall say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and has no son, you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter. If a man has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If a man has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 If his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his nearest relative in his own family, and he shall take possession of it. It shall be a statute and ordinance to the Israelites, just as the Lord has commanded Moses.’”

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go up to this mountain (Nebo) [in the] Abarim [range] and look at the land I have given to the sons of Israel. 13 When you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people [in death], just as Aaron your brother was gathered; 14 because in the Wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to treat me as holy [by following My instruction] before their eyes at the water.” (These are the waters of Meribah in Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin.)(B)

Joshua to Succeed Moses

15 Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, 16 [b]Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation 17 who will go out and come in before them, and will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the Lord will not be as sheep without a shepherd.” 18 The Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before the whole congregation, and give him a commission in their sight. 20 You shall put some of your authority and honor on him, so that all the congregation of the Israelites will obey him. 21 He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment (decision) of the [c]Urim. At Joshua’s command the people shall go out and at his command they shall come in, he and all the congregation of Israel with him.” 22 Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation, 23 and Moses laid his hands on Joshua and commissioned him, just as the Lord had commanded through Moses.


  1. Numbers 27:1 Lit families.
  2. Numbers 27:16 In his humility and godliness, Moses never complained to God about the severity of his punishment. His only concern was to protect the people whom he had reluctantly led, who had so often exasperated and disappointed him.
  3. Numbers 27:21 One of two articles (used like lots) in the priest’s breastpiece worn when inquiring of the Lord for the people (Ex 28:30).

Cross references

  1. Numbers 27:3 : Num 14:26-35
  2. Numbers 27:14 : Num 20:10-12