The Egypt generation had died and, now, a census was taken of those who would go over into the Promised Land. The daughters of Zelophehad approached Moses with concern that the family’s inheritance would be lost because there was no son to receive it; a rule was made that, when no male heir was available, the possessions would go to the nearest female. Real world, real historical details, not to mention just fairness. Joseph was appointed to succeed Moses but, before the people moved on, Moses was allowed to see the land from Mt. Abarim, and the Lord gave additional instructions regarding offerings and the making of vows. Quickly, the people found themselves at war against Midian, the people who had enticed Israel into idolatry at Peor (ch. 25). This sets the stage for what will take place in Canaan as the people will find themselves surrounded by idolatry, which they must avoid (Deuteronomy 12 & 13). An interesting episode took place with the tribes of Reuben and Gad who did not farm but had great numbers of livestock. The land east of the Jordan was well watered and green, perfect for their livestock and, so, they requested that they receive land east of the Jordan, outside of the formal boundaries of the Promised Land. Their request was granted but only if they would join their brothers in taking the land; only then would they return to the east and settle there. The following chapters recount the story of Israel coming out of Egypt, relate instructions for taking the land, and set tribal boundaries. This is real history. This is real redemption history, God working out his promises to Israel and, in doing so, preparing the way for Messiah who would come from Israel. Fascinating and, also, greatly encouraging to be assured, once again, that God has a plan and he is working it out.
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