Chapter twenty-seven contains two parts: a new regulation and a new leader. As noted in the previous chapter, one of the men of Manasseh had five daughters but no sons. As the instructions for the parceling of the land were conveyed, they became concerned and approached Moses about it (Numbers 27:1-11). Their fear was that, because their father had no sons and daughters did not normally receive an inheritance, their family parcel would be lost. They petitioned Moses to be able to receive the land themselves with a special injunction. When Moses conferred with God, God said that the daughters were correct and that they should receive the land. Additionally, God laid out the “chain of inheritance” in the cases when a man had no sons, daughters, brothers, or uncles to claim his family parcel.
In the second part of the chapter, God had Moses climb up a mountain to see into Canaan, reminding him that he would never enter it because of his sin in taking God’s glory by striking the rock instead of speaking to it in chapter twenty (Numbers 27:12-23). While he was on the mountain, Moses prayed that God would not leave Israel without a godly leader, so God told him to stand Joshua before the high priest to be commissioned as God’s handpicked leader of Israel, the one to lead them into Canaan. This was to be a public ceremony so that the nation would begin to accept his command immediately. Moses obeyed everything God said.