Forty years had passed since Israel left Egyptian bondage in 1445 BC. The nation spent so many years wandering in the wilderness because of their disobedience and failure to believe in God’s provision. After the older generation of Israel had died off, the next generation was awaiting their entrance into the land that had been promised to them (Numbers 26:63-65). Israel was currently encamped in the plains of Moab, which was located across the Jordan River from Jericho (Numbers 26:3). Since they were on the verge of inhabiting Canaan, God reminded Israel regarding certain laws and offerings so that they would practice them when they arrived in the land (Numbers 27-30). The first law discussed was the inheritance law (27:1-11). The five daughters of Zelophehad came before Moses and Eleazar saying, “Our father died in the wilderness…. He was not among Korah’s followers, who rebelled against the Lord; he died because of his own sin. But he had no sons. Why should the name of our father disappear from his clan just because he had no sons? Give us property along with the rest of our relatives” (27:1-4, NLT). In this culture the distribution of land was given to the male heads of the family, this situation would have left the daughters without land in Canaan which would have caused their family to eventually become extinct. Moses consulted the Lord and He told him that the daughters should be given the inheritance (27:5-8). If a man died without sons or daughters, his inheritance was to be passed on to his brothers (27:9). The inheritance of the man who died without sons, daughters, or living brothers should be given to the relative closest to him (27:10-11).
After handling this situation, the Lord commanded Moses to go up into Mount Abarim so that he could see the land which would be given to Israel (27:12); however, Moses would never inhabit the land since he had disobeyed God at Kadesh (27:14; also Numbers 20:1-13). Moses would die before Israel inhabited Canaan (27:13). Because Moses could not lead Israel into the Promised Land, God set Joshua over the people (27:15-23). The Lord told Moses to “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation” (27:18-21).
Joshua would become the successor of Moses so now God wanted to remind the younger generation about the offerings they were to observe when the settled in Canaan. The daily offerings (Numbers 28:1-8) were established in Exodus 29:38-42. Two male lambs in their first year without blemish were to be offered by fire – one in the morning and one in the evening. Although the Sabbath had already been established (Exodus 20:8-11), the Sabbath offerings (Numbers 28:9-10) had not. This offering was to consist of a burnt offering as well as two lambs a year old along with a drink and grain offering. Monthly offerings (Numbers 28:11-15) were also newly established here. On the first day of each month, a burnt offering was to be given along with two young bulls, one ram, and seven unblemished lambs in their first year. A grain and drink offering was to accompany each animal. The Lord also reminded Israel concerning offerings at Passover (Numbers 28:16-25; also Leviticus 23:5-8), offerings at the Feast of Weeks (Numbers 28:26-31; also Leviticus 23:18), offerings at the Feast of Trumpets (Numbers 29:1-6; also Leviticus 23:23-25), offerings on the Day of Atonement (Numbers 29:7-11; also Leviticus 23:27-32), and offerings at the Feast of Tabernacles (Numbers 29:12-40; also Leviticus 23:33-43). Moses also took some time to remind Israel about laws concerning vows (Numbers 30:1-16). Even though Moses had already established laws regarding vows in Leviticus 27:1-33, he restated the principle that a man who makes a vow to the Lord was required to keep it (Numbers 30:2). Numbers 30:3-16 also added that a man was responsible for any vows made by a woman within his household. God wanted Israel to be aware of all these laws and offerings before they entered the land, so these words would have been an important reminder to the next generation to obey all that God had required.
Dear God, help me to teach the next generation about Your laws.