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Numbers 27:20-21

Context
27:20 Then you must delegate 1  some of your authority 2  to him, so that the whole community of the Israelites will be obedient. 3  27:21 And he will stand before Eleazar the priest, who 4  will seek counsel 5  for him before the Lord by the decision of the Urim. 6  At his command 7  they will go out, and at his command they will come in, he and all the Israelites with him, the whole community.”

1 tn The verb is simply “give,” but in this context giving some of Moses’ honor to Joshua in the presence of the people is essentially passing the leadership to him, or delegating the authority to him with the result that people would follow him.

2 tc The Greek, Syriac, and Vulgate read “glory” for this form that occurs only here in the Pentateuch. Elsewhere it is rendered “majesty, splendor” (see Ps 96:6). It could even be “vitality” here. The authority being transferred here is both spiritual and civil.

3 tn Heb “hear.”

4 tn The passage simply has “and he will ask,” but Eleazar is clearly the subject now.

5 tn Heb “ask.”

6 sn The new leader would not have the privilege that Moses had in speaking to God face to face. Rather, he would have to inquire of the Lord through the priest, and the priest would seek a decision by means of the Urim. The Urim and the Thummim were the sacred lots that the priest had in his pouch, the “breastplate” as it has traditionally been called. Since the Law had now been fully established, there would be fewer cases that the leader would need further rulings. Now it would simply be seeking the Lord’s word for matters such as whether to advance or not. The size, shape or substance of these objects is uncertain. See further C. Van Dam, The Urim and Thummim.

7 tn Heb “mouth,” meaning what he will say.



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