From Numbers 35-36
Some of the people worried the inheritance promised them would pass to another tribe. In this case a father had no male heirs. The LORD makes a special provision for instances like this to ensure they keep their inheritance. In the gospel we are reminded the LORD has reserved for us the kingdom. He has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
In the last few chapters of Numbers Moses has been issuing commands from the LORD in preparation for the people entering the promised land. He has setup the boundaries for the promised land (Num 34), allocated cities for the Levites and refuge (Num 35).
In today’s passage Moses deals with another problem. What happens when a father bears no male heirs?
36 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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 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.” (Num 36.1-4)
Normally the inheritance (land) would pass down to male heirs. In this case their father did not have any sons. Only girls.
The women are married or will marry. This means the inheritance (land) belonging to their family would pass into the families of the men they married.
The problem is the land would then be lost to its ancestral owners.
5 And Moses commanded the people of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying, “The tribe of the people of Joseph is right. 6 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.
7 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. 8 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. 9 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.’ ” (Num 36.5-9)
The LORD recognises their point. He limits the options for their marriage to their father’s clan and makes sure every other future instance where this happens is handled the same way.
The inheritance of the people of Israel shall not be transferred from one tribe to another.
The LORD makes sure their inheritance is kept secure.
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. (Num 36.10-12)
The women do as they are told. Their concerns relieved.
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. (Num 36.13)
Moses finishes his last section of commands in the book of Numbers. Now they are ready to enter the promised land and he is ready to be gathered up to his people.
“This is a fitting conclusion to Numbers. The Lord was commanding that the inheritance be preserved for ever. This has immense value for the believer. Since the inheritance in Canaan anticipated the coming of the kingdom of God in all its fullness, this law also gives assurance that God will not permit that inheritance to be taken away from his people. A place is reserved for every one of his people.” (Carson, D.A. et al. eds., 1994. New Bible commentary: 21st century edition 4th ed., Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.)
This message comes through in the teaching of Christ.
32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Lk 12.32)
The covenant guarantees promised inheritance and oath which God gave to Abraham. These were both confirmed for ever by Jesus Christ the Lord.
Are you ever concerned that you will lose your promised inheritance? Be assured the LORD has given you his Spirit as a guarantee that it is kept secure for you (Eph 1.13-14).
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.