- The case of Zelophehad's daughters determined, verse 1-11.
- Notice given to Moses of his death, verse 12-14.
- His successor provided. verse 15-23.
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.
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.
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, Deuteronomy 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.
No brethren - Nor sisters, as appears from Numbers 27:8.
A statute of judgment - A statute or rule, by which the magistrates shall give judgment in such cases.
Abarim - The whole tract of mountains was called Abarim, whereof one of the highest was called Nebo, and the top of that Pisgah.
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.
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.
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.
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 home again.
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 future employment.
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.
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.
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.
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.