Numbers 27:21

Numbers 27:21

And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest
This was for the honour of God, whose priest Eleazar was, and whose oracle was consulted by him; for it is said F26, the high priest did not come into the presence of the king but when he pleased; and he did not stand before him, but the king stood before the high priest, as it is said, "and before Eleazar the priest shall he stand"; though it is commanded the high priest to honour the king, and to rise up and stand when he comes unto him; and the king does not stand before him, but when he consults for him by the judgment of Urim; and his posture seems to be different from other persons that consulted; for the same writer F1 observes, in answer to a question,

``how do they consult? the priest stands, and his face is before the ark, and he that consults is behind him, and his face to the back of the priest;''

whereas here Joshua stood before the priest, and so any king or supreme governor:

who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the
of the Urim and Thummim which were in the breastplate of judgment, and of consultation by them, (See Gill on Exodus 28:30) and from this place the Jews F2 infer that consultation was not made by them for a private person, but for a king, or for one the congregation stood in need of:

at his word shall they go out, and at his word shall they come in;
go out to war, and return from it, or do any service enjoined them; that is, either at the word of the Lord, or rather at the word of Eleazar the priest, declaring the will of God, which comes to much the same sense; or at the word of Joshua, directed by the high priest, according to the oracle of God; and he being under such direction, the people could never do amiss in obeying him, or be in any fear or danger of being led wrong by him; but he is mentioned in the next clause, as included in those that went out, and came in:

[both] he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the
which Maimonides F3 interprets thus, "he", this is the king; "and all the children of Israel", this is the anointed for war, or he whom the congregation hath need of; "and all the congregation", these are the great sanhedrim, or seventy elders.


F26 Maimon. Hilchot Melachim, c. 2. sect. 5.
F1 Maimon. Hilchot Cele Hamikdash, c. 10. sect. 11.
F2 Misn. Yoma, c. 7. sect. 5. Maimon. Cele Hamikdash, c. 10. sect. 12.
F3 lbid.