Ref. NUMBERS 27.1-11
We welcome you our dear members of the church to this last Sunday of the ladies’ month at Lavington United church. On behalf of all ladies, we remind you of God’s special love to you. In psalms 91, God’s care and protection is likened to how a mother hen cares for her chicks from all types of enemies. God’s love for us is actually more than that of a mother hen.
As we continue with our series of learning from Biblical women, today we will learn from the daughters of Zelophehad as indicated from Numbers 27.1-11. Zelophehad, whose name means protection from terror or darkness belonged to the clan of Manasseh son of Joseph. He died in the desert during the migration from Egypt to Canaan leaving five daughters namely Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. In Numbers 26.4, we see a census being taken of all men above twenty years. This census was to determine how many men were in every family and clan so that the numbers was to be used in determing how much share of the land the specific family was to be allocated in the promised land where they were about to enter. As usual women were not counted and hence there was no land that was to be allocated to them according to the Jews traditions.
The daughters of Zelophehad knew that they would not get any share of land for they had no brothers or father. The daughters of Zelophehad knew that if they did not get any piece of land, they would be squatters and would suffer so much. It was not easy but they decided to challenge the existing rule that indicated that women could not inherit their fathers land or property. We see them approaching the tent of meeting and stood before Moses, Eliezer the priest, family leaders and the whole assembly and put forward their requests, “Our father died in the desert and was not among Korah’s followers, why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Please give us property among our father’s relative so that we do not suffer.” Women were not allowed to go before the Israelite leaders but these daughters gathered courage not only to face the men leaders but also to ask for an amendment of a rule that was oppressive to women.
Being a strange request, Moses promised to ask for God’s counsel on the issue and sure enough, God sided with the daughters as He said, “what Zelophehad daughters are saying is right, you must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and turn their father’s inheritance over to his daughters” God commanded Moses to tell the Israelites that if a man dies without a son, his inheritance must be given to his daughters. So Zelophehad’s daughters made the rule to be amended not only for them but also for future generation.
There are a few things that we can learn from the Daughters of Zelophehad: -
1. That women should imitate these daughters in pushing for their rights. Women rights are human rights but its only women who will steer the discussions on getting what is rightfully theirs
2. Women must challenge oppressive rules and cultural beliefs. Daughters of zelophehad challenged the rule of inheritance and made it to be amended
3. Men should work with women in dealing with oppressive rules and cultural practices. Moses led other leaders in supporting the cause of the daughters of Zelophehad
4. God is always on the side of the oppressed. God sided with the daughters of Zelophehad who would have suffered so much. He helped them get their rightful share of the land because women are also His children
5. Women and men are created in the image and likeness of God and hence the two should support one another and make each other’s lives better and God will bless each of them.