New Defender's Study Bible Notes
27:1 the son of Gilead. Gilead was a great grandson of Joseph and the progenitor of the Gileadites (Numbers 26:29). These granddaughters were given by Moses the mountainous area known by his name (Numbers 32:39). However, this region was already known as Mount Gilead in the days of Jacob (Genesis 31:21). It is possible that Gilead’s father gave him this name because he had heard of this desirable country while still in Egypt, encouraging young Gilead and his descendants to request it when they reached the promised land.
27:7 daughters of Zelophehad. The names of these five daughters are given in Numbers 26:33. Their father was one of the many who had not been permitted to enter the promised land because of his unbelief but, unlike others in the same condemnation, had left no sons to carry on his name. It was probably Gilead’s name these women wanted to be remembered by, however, rather than that of their disgraced father.
27:12 mount Abarim. Deuteronomy 34:1 says that Moses went up to Mount Nebo, to its topmost peak, to look over into the promised land. This is not a contradiction; Abarim was the mountainous region of which Nebo was a major mountain.
27:14 ye rebelled. See Numbers 20:7-13. God’s judgment against Moses here, in spite of the almost incredible spiritual and military leadership for forty years, indicates the seriousness of rebelling against God’s Word. In one sense, however, it was appropriate for Moses, now 120 years old, to turn the responsibilities of leadership over to a younger man who was well prepared for the rigors of the Canaanite conquest looming ahead of them.
27:17 no shepherd. This is the first use in Scripture of this symbolic representation of a flock with no leader. Moses knew that, without a strong, Spirit-led leader, the Israelite multitude would soon be like a flock of lost sheep. The Lord Jesus, of course, is the true Shepherd (see especially John 10:1-30), and it is significant that the leader God would provide in Moses’ place would have the same name (Joshua) as that of Jesus.
27:23 laid his hands. Here is the first mention in the Bible of one man laying hands on another, symbolic of conveying his own spirit of leadership to him.