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Numbers 27:12-14

Context
Leadership Change

27:12 1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim range, 2  and see 3  the land I have given 4  to the Israelites. 27:13 When you have seen it, you will be gathered 5  to your ancestors, 6  as Aaron your brother was gathered to his ancestors. 7  27:14 For 8  in the wilderness of Zin when the community rebelled against me, you 9  rebelled against my command 10  to show me as holy 11  before their eyes over the water – the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.”

1 sn See further J. Lindblom, “Lot Casting in the Old Testament,” VT 12 (1962): 164-78; E. Lipinski, “Urim and Thummim,” VT 20 (1970): 495-96; and S. E. Loewenstamm, “The Death of Moses,” Tarbiz 27 (1957/58): 142-57.

2 tc The Greek version adds “which is Mount Nebo.” This is a typical scribal change to harmonize two passages.

sn The area is in the mountains of Moab; Deut 34:1 more precisely identifies it as Mount Nebo.

3 tn The imperative could be subordinated to the first to provide a purpose clause, although a second instruction fits well enough.

4 tn This perfect tense would best be classified as a perfect of resolve: “which I have decided to give.” God had not yet given the land to them, but it was certain he would.

5 tn The first verb is a perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive, and the second verb is also. In such parallel clauses, the first may be subordinated, here as a temporal clause.

6 tn Heb “people.”

7 tn Heb “was gathered.” The phrase “to his ancestors” is elided in the Hebrew text, but is an implied repetition from the beginning of the verse, and has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

8 tn The preposition on the relative pronoun has the force of “because of the fact that.”

9 tn The verb is the second masculine plural form.

10 tn Heb “mouth.”

11 sn Using the basic meaning of the word קָדַשׁ (qadash, “to be separate, distinct, set apart”), we can understand better what Moses failed to do. He was supposed to have acted in a way that would have shown God to be distinct, different, holy. Instead, he gave the impression that God was capricious and hostile – very human. The leader has to be aware of what image he is conveying to the people.



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