Numbers 36

Women and Land Inheritance

1Then the heads of the family groups
The expression is “the heads of the fathers by the family of the Gileadites.”
of the Gileadites, the descendant of Machir, the descendant of Manasseh, who were from the Josephite families, approached and spoke before Moses
The Greek and the Syriac add “and before Eleazar the priest.”
and the leaders who were the heads of the Israelite families.
Heb “heads of the fathers.”
2They said, “The Lord commanded my lord to give
The infinitive construct “to give” serves here as the complement or object of the verb, answering what the Lord had commanded Moses.
the land as an inheritance by lot to the Israelites; and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of our brother Zelophehad to his daughters.
3Now if they should be married to one of the men
“Men” is understood; it says “to one from the sons of the tribes of the Israelites for a wife,” or if he has her for a wife.
from another Israelite tribe, their inheritance would be taken from the inheritance of our fathers and added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry.
Heb “which they will be to them,” meaning, to those who have them, i.e., the marriages.
As a result, it will be taken from the lot of our inheritance.
4And when the Jubilee of the Israelites is to take place,
The verb הָיָה (hayah) is most often translated “to be,” but it can also mean “to happen, to take place, to come to pass,” etc.
their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry. So their inheritance will be taken away from the inheritance of our ancestral tribe.”
Heb “the tribe of our fathers.”

Moses’ Decision

5 Then Moses gave a ruling
Heb “commanded.”
to the Israelites by the word
Heb “mouth.”
of the Lord: “What the tribe of the Josephites is saying is right.
6This is what
Heb “the word that.”
the Lord has commanded for Zelophehad’s daughters: ‘Let them marry
The idiom again is “let them be for wives for….”
whomever they think best,
Heb “to the one who is good in their eyes.”
only they must marry within the family of their father’s tribe.
7In this way the inheritance of the Israelites will not be transferred
Heb “turned aside.”
from tribe to tribe. But every one of the Israelites must retain the ancestral heritage.
8And every daughter who possesses an inheritance from any of the tribes of the Israelites must become the wife of a man from any family in her father’s tribe, so that every Israelite
The subject is “Israelites” and the verb is plural to agree with it, but the idea is collective as the word for “man” indicates: “so that the Israelites may possess – [each] man the inheritance of his fathers.”
may retain the inheritance of his fathers.
9No inheritance may pass from tribe to tribe. But every one of the tribes of the Israelites must retain its inheritance.”

10 As the Lord had commanded Moses, so the daughters of Zelophehad did. 11For the daughters of Zelophehad – Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah – were married to the sons of their uncles.
They married in the family as they were instructed. But the meaning of דּוֹד (dod) is not necessarily restricted to “uncle.”
12They were married into the families of the Manassehites, the descendants of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of their father’s family.

13 These are the commandments and the decisions that the Lord commanded the Israelites through the authority
Heb “by the hand.”
of Moses, on the plains of Moab by the Jordan River
The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
opposite Jericho.
For the location of Jericho see Map5-B2; Map6-E1; Map7-E1; Map8-E3; Map10-A2; Map11-A1.

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