I’ll tell you something. There have been a lot of chapters in Numbers that I have been very excited about.
But I am pretty sure Numbers 27 is my favorite so far. Why? God decides to give a couple of long standing traditions a kick in the pants.
Zelophehad was a stand-up guy. He didn’t make a lot of noise when he was alive, but that is ok. He kept himself out of trouble. When people rebelled, he stayed out of it. He knew better.
In spite of this, he had no sons. No heirs. No one to claim his inheritance. No one to carry on his family name.
But he did have five daughters.
Five daughters who thought that a man like their father should be remembered.
Five daughters who had no trouble marching up to the Tent of Meeting, in front of Moses, Eleazar, Israel’s leaders, and the entire assembly and requesting, nay, demanding that they receive their father’s inheritance.
Women of this culture don’t do this.
And do you know what God says? Zelophehad’s daughters are right. They should receive his inheritance. In fact, from now on, any time a man doesn’t have a son, his daughter gets the property.
Can we just stop and consider the implications of that? Feel free to do so in the comments. I feel like I just got a gender equality/elevation and empowerment of women bombed dropped.
And I likes it!
Speaking of Heirs
Moses is on his home stretch. He ain’t entering the promised land. After he climbs up the mountains to look at the promised land, he’s going the way of Aaron.
But he cares about his people. He has been their leader for a good chunk of his life and all of theirs.
If they don’t have another leader who can lead them well they will become like sheep without a shepherd.
So God tells him, in front of everybody, to commission Joshua to lead the people when Moses is gone. Now there will be no question who is in charge.
That’s just good leadership
Does anyone else find it interesting that Numbers 27 challenges two almost universally held traditions of the ancient (and modern, in some places) world?
Men are the property owners.
Authority is hereditary.
Five women make a bold stand and as a result, a law is written that paves the way for women to own their own property.
Leadership of the Israelites is not given to Moses’ son but instead is given to a man “in whom is the spirit.”
God is not as excited about the status quo as we might think.