Numbers 36:1 ASV
And the heads of the fathers' [houses] of the family 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 heads of the fathers' [houses] of the children of Israel:
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Numbers 36:1 HNV
The heads of the fathers' [houses] of the family of the children of Gil`ad, the son of Makhir, the son of Menashsheh, of the families of the sons of Yosef, came near, and spoke before Moshe, and before the princes, the heads of the fathers' [houses] of the children of Yisra'el:
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Numbers 36:1 RSV
The heads of the fathers' houses of the families of the sons of Gilead the son of Machir, son of Manas'seh, of the fathers' houses of the sons of Joseph, came near and spoke before Moses and before the leaders, the heads of the fathers' houses of the people of Israel;
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Numbers 36:1 WEB
The heads of the fathers' [houses] of the family of the children of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near, and spoke before Moses, and before the princes, the heads of the fathers' [houses] of the children of Israel:
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Numbers 36:1 WYC
Soothly and the princes of the families of Gilead, the son of Machir, son of Manasseh, of the generation of the sons of Joseph, nighed, and spake to Moses before the princes of Israel, (And the leaders of the families of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came, and spoke to Moses before the leaders of Israel,)
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The inheritance of the daughters of Zelophehad. (1-4) The daughters of Zelophehad are to marry in their own tribe. (5-12) Conclusion. (13)
Verses 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.
Verses 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.
Verse 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.
Numbers 36:1-13 . THE INCONVENIENCE OF THE INHERITANCE.
1. the chief fathers of the families of the children of Gilead--Being the tribal governors in Manasseh, they consulted Moses on a case that affected the public honor and interests of their tribe. It related once more to the daughters of Zelophehad. Formerly they had applied, at their own instance, to be recognized, for want of male heirs in their family, as entitled to inherit their father's property [ Numbers 27:1-11 ]; now the application was made on behalf of the tribe to which they belonged--that steps might be taken to prevent the alienation of their patrimony by their alliance with husbands of another tribe. The unrestricted marriages of daughters in such circumstances threatened seriously to affect the tenure of land in Israel, as their inheritance would go to their children, who, by the father's side, would belong to another tribe, and thus lead, through a complication of interests and the confusion of families, to an evil for which even the Jubilee could not afford a remedy.
5-12. Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the Lord--The plea appeared just and reasonable; and, accordingly an enactment was made by which the daughters of Zelophehad, while left to the free choice of their husbands, were restricted to marry not only within their own tribe, but within the family of their father's tribe--that is, one of their cousins. This restriction, however, was imposed only on those who were heiresses. The law was not applicable to daughters in different circumstances ( 1 Chronicles 23:22 )--for they might marry into another tribe; but if they did so, they were liable to forfeit their patrimonial inheritance, which, on the death of their father or brothers, went to the nearest of the family kinsmen. Here was an instance of progressive legislation (see also Exodus 18:27 ) in Israel, the enactments made being suggested by circumstances. But it is deserving of special notice that those additions to, or modifications of, the law were confined to civil affairs; while the slightest change was inadmissible in the laws relating to worship or the maintenance of religion.
13. These are the commandments and the judgments, which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab--The Israelitish encampment was on an extensive plateau north of the Arnon, which, though wrested from the Moabites by Sihon and Og, still retained the name of its original possessors. The particular site, as indicated by the words "Jordan near Jericho," is now called El-Koura--a large plain lying not far from Nebo, between the Arnon and a small tributary stream, the Wael [BURCKHARDT]. It was a desert plain on the eastern bank, and marked only by groves of the wild, thorny acacia tree.