Numbers 27:16
Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Let the Lord . . . —We have a remarkable instance here of the true greatness of Moses, as a type of Him whose words were, “Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28). Instead of indulging in excessive grief, or in unavailing remorse, the mind of Moses was intently fixed upon the welfare of those for whose sake he had been willing that his own name should be blotted out of the Book (Exodus 32:32); and instead of appointing one of his own family, or the man of his own choice, as his successor, he commits the matter to God, and prays that He will appoint one who would be a true shepherd to the flock.

Numbers 27:16. The God of the spirits of all flesh — God of all men; the Searcher of spirits, that knowest who is fit for this great employment; the Father, and Giver, and Governor of spirits, who canst raise and suit the spirits of men to the highest and hardest works.27:15-23 Envious spirits do not love their successors; but Moses was not one of these. We should concern ourselves, both in our prayers and in our endeavours, for the rising generation, that religion may be maintained and advanced, when we are in our graves. God appoints a successor, even Joshua; who had signalized himself by his courage in fighting Amalek, his humility in ministering to Moses, and his faith and sincerity in witnessing against the report of the evil spies. This man God appoints to succeed Moses; a man in whom is the Spirit, the Spirit of grace. He is a good man, fearing God and hating covetousness, and acting from principle. He has the spirit of government; he is fit to do the work and discharge the trusts of his place. He has a spirit of conduct and courage; he had also the Spirit of prophecy. That man is not fully qualified for any service in the church of Christ, who is destitute of the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit, whatever human abilities he may possess. And in Joshua's succession we are reminded that the law was given by Moses, who by reason of our transgression could not bring us to heaven; but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, for the salvation of every believer.The God of the spirits of all flesh - An acknowledgment that man, who is but flesh (compare Genesis 6:3), is of himself helpless; and "lives and moves and has his being" in God Acts 17:28. The words are suitably employed here to introduce an entreaty that God would not leave the congregation without a guide and leader, and in Numbers 16:22 as a preface to an intercession that the whole people should not suffer for the sin of a, few. 16. God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation—The request was most suitably made to God in this character, as the Author of all the intellectual gifts and moral graces with which men are endowed, and who can raise up qualified persons for the most arduous duties and the most difficult situations. All flesh, i.e. of all men; the Searcher of spirits, that knowest who is fit for this great employment; the Father, and Giver, and Governor of spirits, who canst raise and suit the spirits of men to the highest and hardest works, as thou didst those Numbers 11:16,17. See Numbers 16:22. Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh,.... The Maker of the souls of men, called the spirits of all flesh, or of corporeal beings, to distinguish them from the angels, who, though spirits, are incorporeal; and who knows the different qualities of the souls of men, their powers, and capacities, and fitness for service, what gifts and talents they have for business; and who can bestow such upon them, which will quality them for it:

set a man over the congregation: meaning in his room and stead.

Let the LORD, the God of the {d} spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,

(d) Who as he has created, so he governs the hearts of all men.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. the God of the spirits of all flesh] See on Numbers 16:22.On this occasion God issued a general law of inheritance, which was to apply to all cases as "a statute of judgment" (or right), i.e., a statute determining right. If any one died without leaving a son, his landed property was to pass to his daughter (or daughters); in default of daughters, to his brothers; in the absence of brothers, to his paternal uncles; and if there were none of them, to his next of kin. - On the intention of this law, see my Archaeol. 142 (ii. pp. 212, 213); and on the law of inheritance generally, see J. Selden, de success. ad leges Hebr. in bona defunctorum, Fkft. a. O. 1695.
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