A Successor for Moses

Numbers 27:12-23

As Moses will not be allowed to enter the Land of Israel, God tells him to climb to the top of Mount Abarim and see the land which He has given to the Children of Israel. The Israel Bible explains the repetition of beholding/seeing the land in both verses 12 and 13. This indicates that Moses saw its spiritual as well as physical beauty. Then, God tells him he will die as his brother Aaron did. Ever worried for his people, Moses asks God to choose a successor for him, so that they will continue to be guided in all they do.


God tells Moses to take Joshua, whom God calls “a man in whom is spirit”, and lay his hands upon the younger man. Moses is to pass on his proverbial mantle in the face of Eleazar the priest and all the congregation of Israel. Joshua, God tells Moses, will lead the people from now on. Eleazar will communicate God’s will to him via the mystical Urim and the people will follow him. Moses does as he is told, laying his hands on Joshua and passing on his leadership role.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

We are only two-thirds of the way through the Book of Numbers, and we still have all of Deuteronomy before we reach Moses’s death. So why do you think the Torah tells us now about appointing Joshua as Moses’s successor?

Comments ( 6 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

Post a Reply

Comments must adhere to our guidelines or they may be removed.

  • Teasama Atsua

    Joshua was a true successor, ordained by God.He was able to carry out God's assignment upon his life as did Moses.

  • I agree with some of Shelia and Herman's sentiments, I think the Torah is now telling us about Moshe's successor because leading the Bnei Yisrael was no easy task; but also because Numbers and Deuteronomy appear to have been written almost concurrently, where by in Deuteronomy, the book is mainly a caution from Moshe to Bnei Yisrael; his final instructions to them and preparing them for the land they were about to enter.

  • In this story you can clearly see Torah is not about chronology but about relationship between The Eternal ONE and His people (humans) Half of Bamidbar and all of Devarim in front of Moshe. But a leader has to look forward and thus preparing things, even things after his death. Moreover when he would pass away he would not have the opportunity to tell all that is happening. Also there is a way of preparing the successor and the role of advising him. Also the introduction of him to the people and the inauguration with the priesthood could be done easily. it also was an answer on the plea of Moshe with HaShem that they should not become like sheep that have no shepherd. It took away the (maybe) silent wish to get a piece of land for his own family. And made clear HaShem's consequent decision.

  • Sheila

    When Moses knew that he would not be the leader to shepherd the people in the promised land, he appealed to the Lord to appoint a leader who would take his place.Joshua son of Nun who had the spirit of wisdom, discernment and insight was commissioned in the sight of the whole community. They needed to see Moses impart and release some of his authority to Joshua by the laying on of hands in the sight of the priest. They were to be obedient and respect Joshua who would be their appointed shepherd as Moses successor. It was Moses desire for his people to realise that Joshua was a strong and courageous leader who had faith in the God who would go before them and be with them and not forsake them.

  • Diana Brown

    Because, I think, the Lord God is reminding the readers here that He is still in charge and His Purposes are moving forward. Sins will be dealt with, but no delays (except for Judgment when true repentant prayers are heard in Heaven).
    Time, which is for our benefit so we may know God and learn how to serve Him, is put into eternity and it marches on. Time has a beginning and an end. Eternity is everlasting.
    We look forward to the Messianic Era now as much as Bnei Israel looked forward to entering the Promised Land. What we have in common with them is we, also, do not know what is up ahead on our journey. We also live by faith and trust the Lord and press on.

    • Diana Brown

      Joshua was a warrior who knew the Lord God would fight the battles. Israel needed a general to muster up their faith so they would show up and see His Hand as work.
      I think we forget that His Kingdom is already established and working perfectly in Heaven. We pray to go there when we should be praying for Heaven and God’s Kingdom to manifest itself and cover the whole earth for the benefit of creation, and God’s highest form of creation…humanity.
      People often ask if they will see their favorite pets or their loved ones again. I believe they will. When the Lord God took Bnei Israel out of bondage into freedom, He promised, “not a hoof will be left behind”. In this Torah portion, He calls us to remember those who went alive in Sheol with Korach, He also mentioned that the entire line of Korach was not wiped out. He numbered the souls who died when plagues broke out or that He took out to show us He has walked with each soul throughout their time in the “tent” of flesh. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I know he knows where my loved ones are. I know He will purpose me to see them again.

Skip to toolbar