Daily Devotional Saturday 31st October

by William Moody

Numbers 36

Marriage of Female Heirs

36:1 The heads of the fathers’ houses of the clan of the people of Gilead the son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of the people of Joseph, came near and spoke before Moses and before the chiefs, the heads of the fathers’ houses of the people of Israel. They said, “The LORD commanded my lord to give the land for inheritance by lot to the people of Israel, and my lord was commanded by the LORD to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother to his daughters. But if they are married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the people of Israel, then their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our fathers and added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry. So it will be taken away from the lot of our inheritance. And when the jubilee of the people of Israel comes, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry, and their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.”

And Moses commanded the people of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying, “The tribe of the people of Joseph is right. This is what the LORD commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: ‘Let them marry whom they think best, only they shall marry within the clan of the tribe of their father. The inheritance of the people of Israel shall not be transferred from one tribe to another, for every one of the people of Israel shall hold on to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. And every daughter who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the people of Israel shall be wife to one of the clan of the tribe of her father, so that every one of the people of Israel may possess the inheritance of his fathers. So no inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another, for each of the tribes of the people of Israel shall hold on to its own inheritance.’”

10 The daughters of Zelophehad did as the LORD commanded Moses, 11 for Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married to sons of their father’s brothers. 12 They were married into the clans of the people of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of their father’s clan.

13 These are the commandments and the rules that the LORD commanded through Moses to the people of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

(ESV)

The book of Numbers ends on a curious note by returning to the issue of the inheritance of the daughters of Zelophehad which previously had been dealt with in chapter 27. The concern is that with these daughters inheriting their father’s land, if they then married men from another tribe, the land would be lost to Manasseh their own tribe (v1-4).

The Lord’s command was that these women and those like them who would inherit land should only marry men of their own tribe (v5-9). Land was not to pass from tribe to tribe, their inheritance was not to be lost.

The daughters of Zelophehad agreed to this and married their cousins (v10-12). In these ladies we see both humility and obedience to the Lord.

On one level this chapter deals with avoiding possible conflict between tribes over their inheritance. But on a deeper level tis chapter is all about what the book of Numbers is about, God’s people gaining and then never losing their inheritance. The road for Israel due to their sin was rough, but now it had been completed and they were in the Promised Land, they must cherish and hold on tightly to what they have gained.

The road to Jesus and our inheritance can also be a rough road, but when we find Jesus we must hold on to Him tightly. But the wonderful thing is how the Lord holds on to us tightly as well (see John 10 v28-29).

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
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