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Scripture reading – Numbers 36

* Today’s Scripture reading concludes our study of the Book of Numbers and commences the Book of Deuteronomy (the final book of the first five books of the Scriptures identified as the Pentateuch). A second devotion will follow and introduce Deuteronomy.

Numbers 36

The Book of Numbers ended on an interesting note, as another concern regarding inheritance was raised. In an earlier devotion, we considered a daughter’s inheritance, should her father die without a son as his heir (Numbers 27:7-11). An actual case was referenced as a Hebrew man named Zelophehad had died without a son. His five daughters then petitioned that they were their father’s rightful heirs and should receive his portion in the Promised Land (27:4-5). Then the LORD directed Moses for Zelophehad’s daughters to be given their father’s share (27:6-11).

A Question of Tribal Lands Remaining in the Tribe (36:1-12)

Because the lands were assigned to tribes by families, there was a concern for what became of tribal lands should a man’s heirs be his daughters (Numbers 36:1-4) and then marry outside their tribe. It was therefore contended that the lands would be lost to a tribe if the daughters married outside their tribe. The quandary was settled by requiring daughters, heirs to their father’s estate, to marry within their tribe (36:5-9), thereby ensuring the land remained within the tribe.

The “daughters of Zelophehad” accepted the LORD’s command and married men within their tribe (36:10-12). Thus, the tribal lands were secured for future generations.

Closing thoughts:

The Book of Numbers concluded by reminding God’s people that the words of the LORD were commandments, not suggestions. Moses wrote, “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 by Jordan near Jericho” (36:13).

Before He brought the Twelve Tribes into their inheritance, the LORD ensured they knew and understood what He required of them as a nation and people.

Questions to consider:

1) Who had the LORD commanded should receive Zelophehad’s inheritance? (36:2)

2) What concerns did the “children of Gilead” bring to Moses? (36:3-4)

3) What was God’s command concerning whom the daughters of Zelophehad were to marry? (36:6)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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