Verses 1-9 – Zelophehad had five daughters but no sons. After he died, the daughters went to Moses to ask for land inheritance. Inheritance usually only went to the male line. Now the question of marriage outside their tribe arose. Moses commanded that the daughters could only marry within their own clan or tribe; keep the land in that tribe.
Verse 13 – The book of Numbers covers 39 years and closes with the Israelite’s on the east side of the Jordan with the promise land in sight. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-12, the apostle Paul warns us to not make the same mistakes the Israelite’s made which are; (1) unbelief, (2) longing for the past, (3) avoid complaining, (4) and don’t compromise with the ways of God.
Verses 2, 3 – The Levites were supported by the tithes of the people who also gave them homes, flocks, and pastureland.
Verse 6 – Of the 48 cities given to the Levites, 6 were to be refuge cities. The Levites would hold hearings to determine judgment. If they found someone caused a death accidentally then that person would stay in the city until the priest died, then he was free to go.
No tribe could go in and claim its own land. God was the one who said where the boundaries were. The boundaries were larger than what the Hebrews occupied.
Verses 13-15 – Moses fulfilled the task given to him, but the responsibility to carry out these instructions would fall to Joshua. The borders reflect the ideal territorial limits for the land of Israel, but was not fully realized until David and Solomon (2 Samuel 8:1-18; 10:1-9).
Verse 2 – Moses recorded their spiritual as well as geographic progress. This is a good idea to do even today. If you keep a journal, it may show your growth and areas you don’t want to repeat.
Verses 50-53 – Just as God told the Israelites to get rid of the wicked inhabitants of the promise land we are to do the same in our lives such as destructive habits and practices not becoming of a Christian (Colossians 3).
Verses 50-56 – God wanted every trace of idol worship wiped out. If anything pagan were allowed to stand, it would cause the Israelites to compromise. God warned them that if they didn’t completely destroy the people, that later on they would become thorn in their flesh. They needed to be completely obedient in this. Things that we hang onto after becoming a believer in Christ that we know are not beneficial can become an irritation to our lives also.
Moses immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion of why the 3 tribes wanted to stay on the east side of the Jordan.
Verses 16-19 – The land on the east side of the Jordan had been conquered. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh promised to keep working with the others until all the land was distributed.
Destruction of the Midianites
The Midianites were descendants of Abraham through his second wife Keturah. However, in spite of this the Midianites were bitter enemies to the Israelites.
Verses 14-16 – the Midianites were responsible for enticing Israel into Baal worship. God commanded Israel to destroy them. If you take the story of Balaam alone, it would make us think that he was an honest and God-fearing man. This was not the case.
Verses 25-30 – A portion of the spoils were to be given to the priest from the men who went to war. The second portion was to go to the congregation. They still had plenty among themselves. Everything we possess either directly or indirectly comes from God. We return a portion to him and give another portion to those in need.
Verses 48-50 – Not one of Israel’s men had been lost in battle. We should be quick to thank God every time we are delivered.
Verses 1, 2 – Moses reminded the people who a promise or a vow had been made, was to be taken seriously. No one was forced to make a vow, but once made they were obligated to keep it. Today people make vows too quickly with no intention of keeping them. This affects relationships when vows or promises are broken.
Verse 3-8 – Parents could overrule children’s vows to avoid foolish decisions. They had to teach the children that their decisions could have dire consequences. The husband had the authority to overrule his wife’s vow also.