A careful analysis of the account of the investiture of Joshua in Num. 27:12-23 reveals that there are some interpolations. The reviser made this account correspond to the account in Deuteronomy, and emphasized the need for divine guidance. He also placed Eleazar the priest in a position of leadership alongside Joshua and gave him the higher status of the two. This pericope and its revision reflect controversy surrounding the question of the appropriate form of government that took place in the Persian period.
In its present form, the census description in Numbers 26 can be identified as the product of a protracted literary process. Three principal stages of composition may be discerned as: a) close reliance on the list in Genesis 46 produced a census description and a list of the Israelite clans when they left Egypt ; b) the displacement of the original list from its original location to its extant position, wherein it serves as a “database” for the allocation of Canaan in accordance with the size of the tribes; c) the text reflected in the MT, in which the original form of the list was changed to better fit the new context, thereby establishing a greater similitude between Numbers 26 and other parts in its literary context.