The Bible Slam: Numbers Chapter 27

Ask and you shall receive! In the previous chapter's discussion points, we asked about what would happen to the inheritances of the daughters of Zelophehad, who had no sons.  The five daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.  In Numbers 27, they approach Moses about their inheritance.  Moses and Yahweh decide that if a man dies without sons, his inheritance will pass to the daughters.  If he has no children, then his inheritance goes  "unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family."

Yahweh tells Moses that he's about to die and will not go to the promised land because of the smiting the rock for water incident (Moses was supposed to speak to the rock, not hit it) and is told to prepare Joshua for leadership.  Joshua will get instructions from Eleazar, the priest who assumed the deceased Aaron's duties, who will use the Urim for divination.

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Discussion Points.

The probate law dictated in Numbers seems to be lacking in fairness. For instance, what about wives?  Sisters?  Brothers?  And if a man dies and he has sons, do his daughters get nothing?

Chelev raises a good point:  For some reason, Yahweh is really ticked off at Moses for not doing the water miracle correctly.  Yet, there were other instances of disobedience and/or questioning.

According to Numbers 27, Israel's leadership will basically work like this as soon as Moses is dead:  Joshua is in charge.  If Joshua doesn't know what to do, he goes to the priest.  The priest basically flips a coin (the Urim) for a yes or no answer.  Bible.org explains the Urim and Thummim:

The priest could use the urim and thummin to determine God's will in a particular situation. We are not exactly sure what the urim and thummin were, but the priest carried in his breastplate perhaps two sticks or stones, one white and the other black, that would give a yes or no answer to a specific question. Should Israel be preparing for battle, they would somehow shake or toss the sticks. If they turned up black the Israelites would not go to battle, and if they turned up white they would proceed into battle with the knowledge that they were in the will of God.

Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, claimed to have used the Urim and Thummim to translate the Book of Mormon.

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