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1 And the chiefe fathers of the families of the children of Gilead, the sonne of Machir, the sonne of Manasseh, of the families of the sonnes of Ioseph, came neere, and spake before Moses, and before the Princes the chiefe fathers of the children of Israel.

2 And they said, The Lord commanded my lord to giue the lande for an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel: and my lord was commanded by the Lord, to giue the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother, vnto his daughters.

3 And if they bee married to any of the sonnes of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then shall their inheritance be taken from the inheritance of our fathers, and shall bee put to the inheritance of the tribe, whereinto they are receiued: so shal it be taken from the lot of our inheritance.

4 And when the Iubile of the children of Israel shall be, then shall their inheritance be put vnto the inheritance of the tribe, whereunto they are receiued: So shal their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.

5 And Moses commanded the children of Israel, according to the worde of the Lord, saying, The tribe of the sonnes of Ioseph hath said well.

6 This is the thing which the Lord doeth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they thinke best: onely to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry.

7 So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remooue from tribe to tribe: for euery one of the children of Israel shall keepe himselfe to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.

8 And euery daughter that possesseth an inheritance, in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife vnto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enioy euery man the inheritance of his fathers.

9 Neither shall the inheritance remoue from one tribe to another tribe: but euery one of the tribes of the children of Israel, shall keepe himselfe to his owne inheritance.

10 Euen as the Lord commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad.

11 For Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah the daughters of Zelophehad, were married vnto their fathers brothers sonnes.

12 And they were married into the families of the sonnes of Manasseh, the sonne of Ioseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father.

13 These are the commandements and the iudgements which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses, vnto the children of Israel in the plaines of Moab, by Iordane, neere Iericho.

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Commentary for Numbers 36

The inheritance of the daughters of Zelophehad. (1-4) The daughters of Zelophehad are to marry in their own tribe. (5-12) Conclusion. (13)1-4 The heads of the tribe of Manasseh represent the evil which might follow, if the daughters of Zelophehad should marry into any other tribes. They sought to preserve the Divine appointment of inheritances, and that contests and quarrels should not rise among those who should come afterwards. It is the wisdom and duty of those who have estates in the world, to settle them, and to dispose of them, so that no strife and contention may arise.

5-12 Those who consult the oracles of God, concerning the making of their heavenly inheritance sure, shall not only be directed what to do, but their inquiries shall be graciously accepted. God would not have one tribe enriched at the expense of another. Each tribe was to keep to its own inheritance. The daughters of Zelophehad submitted to this appointment. How could they fail to marry well, when God himself directed them? Let the people of God learn how suitable and proper it is, like the daughters of Israel, to be united only to their own people. Ought not every true believer Israel, to be united only to their own people. Ought not every true believer in Jesus, to be very attentive in the near and tender relations of life, to be united only to such as are united to the Lord? All our intentions and inclinations ought to be subjected to the will of God, when that is made known to us, and especially in contracting marriage. Although the word of God allows affection and preference in this important relation, it does not sanction that foolish, ungovernable, and idolatrous passion, which cares not what may be the end; but in defiance of authority, determines upon self-gratification. All such conduct, however disguised, is against common sense, the interests of society, the happiness of the marriage relation, and, what is still more evil, against the religion of Christ.

13 These are the judgments the Lord commanded in the plains of Moab. Most of them related to the settlement in Canaan, into which the Israelites were now entering. Whatever new condition God, by his providence, brings us into, we must beg him to teach us the duties of it, and to enable us to do them, that we may do the work of the day in its day, the duty of a place in its place.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Numbers 36

  • John Shekhar
    Most societies are patriarchical. In Israel tribal reckoning is through the male line. If a man has no male heir the inheritance passes to the daughter. If she marries into another tribe the inheritance passes to the tribe into which she marries. If this process continues one tribe can lose property to other tribes and will eventually become weak and impoverished and due to other factors might lose its identity. Also though the language suggests that the girls married their first cousins on their father's side the following verse clarifies that the girls were married within the tribe. Even a distant cousin is called a 'brother'.
  • Shadrach Shambee
    This was an interesting book showing how God kept His people safe and regulated! And shows where society gets some of their moral practices from!
  • Osomo mojisola
    iv never see a she goat marrying a he dog cos there of nor same kind of animal,if it happens,who will the baby look like?,since it does not share the face of dog or goat,he or she can not enjoy the inheritance of either also the daughter of God,if u marry outside or fathers family[christians],u cant enjoy the inheritance of your father.
  • Betty Sheffield
    I guess for the sake of the inheritance. The fathers daughters had to marry his brothers son's which would be first cousins. If the other families that came to the city to were of the same nationality. Why would it not of been o.k to marry them. instead of family?
  • Dr. Martin
    women are recognized by God as God wants us to be in not want but among the blessings of Abraham, because we are Abraam 's seed.

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