Numbers 36 Then the heads of the clans of Gilead—descendants of Makir, son of Manasseh, son of Joseph—came to Moses and the family leaders of Israel with a petition. They said, “Sir, the LORD instructed you to divide the land by sacred lot among the people of Israel. You were told by the LORD to give the grant of land owned by our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. But if they marry men from another tribe, their grants of land will go with them to the tribe into which they marry. In this way, the total area of our tribal land will be reduced. Then when the Year of Jubilee comes, their portion of land will be added to that of the new tribe, causing it to be lost forever to our ancestral tribe.” So Moses gave the Israelites this command from the LORD: “The claim of the men of the tribe of Joseph is legitimate. This is what the LORD commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: Let them marry anyone they like, as long as it is within their own ancestral tribe. None of the territorial land may pass from tribe to tribe, for all the land given to each tribe must remain within the tribe to which it was first allotted. The daughters throughout the tribes of Israel who are in line to inherit property must marry within their tribe, so that all the Israelites will keep their ancestral property. No grant of land may pass from one tribe to another; each tribe of Israel must keep its allotted portion of land.” The daughters of Zelophehad did as the LORD commanded Moses. Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah all married cousins on their father’s side. They married into the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. Thus, their inheritance of land remained within their ancestral tribe.
The question asked by the sons of Joseph seem legitimate but was the answer appropriate because it restricted daughters of Israel to marry only within their clan? Is there fairness and equity in God’s ways and what might it speak to us today in our lives? (more…)