NUMBERS CHAPTER 36.
Of the Inheritance of Daughters.
the objection raised. — V. 1. And the chief fathers of the families of the children of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near and spake before Moses and before the princes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, voicing an objection which had come to them with regard to a recent decision; v. 2. and they said, The Lord commanded my lord (Moses) to give the land for an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel; and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of Zeiophehad, our brother, that is, of the member of their tribe, unto his daughters. V. 3. And if they be married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then shall their inheritance, according to the provision, as it now stood, be taken from the inheritance of our fathers and shall be put to the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received; so shall it be taken from the lot of our inheritance. The consequence, as they saw it, would be that the territory of the several tribes would not remain intact and that a general confusion would result. V. 4. And when the jubilee of the children of Israel shall be, then shall their inheritance, that of Zeiophehad's daughters, be put unto the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received, by the fact of their marriage; so shall their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers. Until the Year of Jubilee there was always a possibility of a childless marriage or of the sale of the property to members of the tribe of Manasseh; but after the Year of Jubilee the last chance would be gone, and relief would no longer be possible.
the regulation. — V. 5. And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the Lord, which he had meanwhile received, saying, The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well. V. 6. This is the thing which the Lord doth command concerning the daughters of Zeiophehad, saying, Let them marry, become wives, to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry, that was the restriction to which they were bound. Moreover, this was to be a general rule. V. 7. So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe, not be transferred by marriages of this kind; for every one of the children of Israel shall keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers, to avoid confusion. V. 8. And every daughter that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, in the form of land or real estate, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy every man the inheritance of his fathers. V. 9. Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance. V. 10. Even as the Lord commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zeiophehad; v. 11. for Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zeiophehad, were married unto their father's brothers' sons, to their cousins, unless the Hebrew term is used in the wider sense. V. 12. And they were married into the families, and thus also by marriage became members of the families, of the sons of Manasseh, the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father. V. 13. These are the commandments and the judgments, the ordinances or statutes, which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the Plains of Moab by Jordan, near Jericho. Thus Moses put his signature to the law-giving of the Plains of Moab, "though without in any way implying that the explanation, further development, and hortatory enforcement of the Law and its statutes and judgments, which follow in Deuteronomy, are not of Mosaic origin." (Keil.)