Numbers 36

1 And the auncyet heedes of the childern of Gilead the sonne of Machir ye sonne of Manasse of the kynred of ye childern of Ioseph came forth and spake before Moses and the prynces which were aunciet heedes amoge the childern of Israel
2 and sayed: The Lorde commaunded my lorde to geue ye lande to enherette by lotte to the childern of Israel. And then my lord commaunded in ye name of the Lorde to geue the enheritaunce of Zelaphead oure brother vnto his doughters.
3 Now when any of the sonnes of the trybes of Israel take them to wyues then shall their enheritaunce be taken from the enheritaunce of oure fathers and shall be put vnto the enheritaunce of the trybe in which they are and shalbe taken from the lott of oure enheritaunce.
4 And when the fre yere cometh vnto the childern of Israel then shall their enheritaunce be put vnto the enheritaunce of the trybe where they are in and so shall their enheritaunce be taken awaye from the enheritaunce of the trybe of oure fathers.
5 And Moses commaunded the childern of Israel at the mouth of the Lorde sayenge: the trybe of ye childern of Ioseph haue sayed well.
6 This therfore doeth the Lorde commaude the doughters of Zelaphead sayenge: let them be wyues to whom they the silfe thynke best but in the kynred of the trybe of their father shall they marye
7 that the enheritaunce of the childern of Israel roole not from trybe to trybe. But that the childern of Israel maye abyde euery man in the enheritaunce of the trybe of his fathers
8 And euery doughter that possesseth any enheritaunce amonge the trybes of the childern of Israel shalbe wife vnto one of the kynred of the trybe of hir father that the childern of Israel maye enioy euery man the enheritaunce of his father
9 and that the enheritaunce goo not from one trybe to another: but that the trybes of the childern of Israel maye abyde euery man in his awne enheritaunce.
10 And as the Lorde commaunded Moses euen so dyd the doughters of Zelaphead:
11 Mahela, Thirza Hagla Milca and Noa ad were maried vnto their fathers brothers sonnes
12 of the kynred of the childern of Manasse the sonne of Ioseph: ad so they had their enheritaunce in the trybe of the kynred of their father.
13 These are the commaundmentes and lawes which the Lorde commaunded thorow Moses vnto the childern of Israel in the feldes of Moab apon Iordayne nye vnto Iericho.

Numbers 36 Commentary

Chapter 36

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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 36

This chapter gives an account of an application made by the heads of the tribe of Manasseh, concerning the inheritances of the daughters of Zelophehad, which, should they marry into other tribes, would be removed thither, and so be a loss to theirs, Nu 36:1-4, which case was judged worthy of regard; and to remedy this inconvenience, they were ordered to marry into the family of their father's tribe, and this was to be a law to all heiresses for the future in other tribes, Nu 36:5-9 and accordingly the daughters of Zelophehad married their father's brothers' sons, Nu 36:10-13.

Numbers 36 Commentaries