God’s Renewing Word of Peace and Justice
Numbers 27:1-11: The daughters of Zelophehad speak up for their right to inherit their father’s property. Their case calls for a re-examination of the inheritance law concerning property.
The Daughters of Zelophehad
27 Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah were the daughters of Zelophehad son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, son of Joseph. 2 They went and stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and the whole community at the entrance of the Tent of the Lord’s presence and said, 3 “Our father died in the wilderness without leaving any sons. He was not among the followers of Korah, who rebelled against the Lord; he died because of his own sin. 4 Just because he had no sons, why should our father’s name disappear from Israel? Give us property among our father’s relatives.”
5 Moses presented their case to the Lord, 6 and the Lord said to him, 7 “What the daughters of Zelophehad request is right; give them property among their father’s relatives. Let his inheritance pass on to them. 8 Tell the people of Israel that whenever a man dies without leaving a son, his daughter is to inherit his property. 9 If he has no daughter, his brothers are to inherit it. 10 If he has no brothers, his father’s brothers are to inherit it. 11 If he has no brothers or uncles, then his nearest relative is to inherit it and hold it as his own property. The people of Israel are to observe this as a legal requirement, just as I, the Lord, have commanded you.”
Today’s Key Verse: Numbers 27:7
[The LORD said:] “What the daughters of Zelophehad request is right; give them property among their father’s relatives. Let his inheritance pass on to them.”
In Israel, property was usually passed on from father to son. How did the specific case of Zelophehad’s daughters effect change in the law? What does today’s reading teach you about the LORD’s justice?
Lord God, you care for all people. You are merciful and just in all your ways. Keep me mindful of those in need and help me to work for justice and peace and to be an instrument of your love and grace. Amen.
Numbers 36:1-13: The law concerning property rights is defined regarding tribal territory.