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Numbers 27

Josh Gets the Nod

12 The LORD said to Moses, "Go up this mountain of the Abarim range, and see the land that I have given to the Israelites. 13 When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, 14 because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarreled with me. You did not show my holiness before their eyes at the waters." (These are the waters of Meribah-kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.) 15 Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, 16 "Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint someone over the congregation 17 who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD may not be like sheep without a shepherd." 18 So the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand upon him; 19 have him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and commission him in their sight. 20 You shall give him some of your authority, so that all the congregation of the Israelites may obey. 21 But he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the decision of the Urim before the LORD; at his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the Israelites with him, the whole congregation." 22 So Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation; 23 he laid his hands on him and commissioned him--as the LORD had directed through Moses.

Your Moment of "Zin"

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Numbers 20:1-13 is a second and different account of Exodus 17:1-7 regarding the "tap" water of Meribah-kadesh, but a very important difference indeed. The prevailing thought is that God was angry with Aaron and Moses either for doubting that God would bring water out from the rock or the way in which they carried it out (in the Numbers he said "we" meaning Aaron and Moses, rather than God, would bring them water from the rock) or both. It seems like there should be more to it than that, yet this passage bears the consequences that Aaron and Moses would not get to cross over into the promised land with their people. Moses asks for a successor, God chooses Joshua, and has Moses give him "some" of his authority. The Urim (usually used in conjunction with the Thummim) was a sacred lot used in divination. This is very odd since Judaism is strongly against divination (most of the time). Here God already directed Moses on the matter, so perhaps it was just for show or added confirmation, but still unusual. In Exodus 28:30 the Urim and Thummim are put next to Aaron's heart, so perhaps this is more of a symbolic transfer of power or priesthood. One thing is clear, Joshua is a good choice, but it seems likely that he will not be as powerful or have as direct access to God as Moses.

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