We begin this chapter with an occurrence in the history of Israel which was very important and also very unique to the people of Israel. Go back to chapter 26:33 and you will find a man named Zelophedad son of Hepher. His claim to fame was the he had five daughters and their names were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. We pick up their story again in the first verses of this chapter.
Their father died and left behind no sons so if one were to interpret the laws which Moses was told to follow in regards to the distribution of the land, these five sisters would be without land because there were no brothers who were able to inherit it. They appeal to God and ask that they would be able to inherit some of the land of their uncles and count it as their land since it was their father's land. God agrees and so the law is changed to accommodate those families that did not have sons in order to make sure that all families and their names would be able to be carried forward. That is pretty remarkable for Old Testament stuff.
From there we move to the appointing of Joshua as Moses' successor. Notice in vs.18-21 where Moses is told to lay his hands upon him in the company of all the people so that all the people would be able to see that Moses was approving and imparting his power and the presence of God which used to be in him, upon Joshua. It was a very powerful ascendancy ceremony which left no doubt as to who the new guy would be once Moses left office. We find in vs.23 that Moses commissions him in front of the whole congregation by laying hands on him.