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Then came the daughters of Zelophehad … and they stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and before the leaders and all the congregation, by the doorway of the tabernacle of meeting, saying: “Our father died in the wilderness … and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.” (Numbers 27:1-4)

The Bible tells us these women were descended from the patriarch Joseph through his eldest son, Mannaseh. They argue that, though their father had no sons, he was nevertheless deserving of a portion, especially since he did not join with the many rebels who had resisted the LORD. The ensuing passages bear out that the daughters of Zelophehad were correct in their argument and were entitled to a portion of  land in Canaan. In fact, the LORD agreed with them and stated that this updated policy constituted a “decree of justice.”

This seemingly insignificant detail in the narrative raises a question: was this something that God had overlooked? Can we really believe that an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator simply missed this one and had to amend His decree? I find that hard to believe. It is more likely that He purposely left this detail unaddressed, waiting for men to  acknowledge it and deal with it justly. Frankly, there are several such “afterthoughts” such as this that arise — for example, “It is not good for man be alone; I will make him a help-mate.” Do we really believe He didn’t think this through and had to amend His plan to avert disaster? Not hardly.

Throughout the Scripture there are situations that are intended to raise questions in our mind, questions to which there are definite answers if only we will seek Him. Then there are situations like this one that, perhaps, God wanted to see what our reaction would be? Would we have a heart after Him to do what is right? Would Moses even bother to bring this issue to God for a decision? Think about when God told Moses to step aside that He might destroy the children of Israel: if Moses had done so, He may have, indeed, annihilated them. However, the more important aspect of that particular exchange was, instead of moving aside, Moses stood in the gap on behalf of his people — an action that speaks to what the Messiah would do on behalf of all mankind.

And so the point is, when we see issues arise such as with the daughters of Zelophehad, we must not think the Word is filled with miscalculation and oversight. To the contrary, it is more likely that the Creator is prompting us to stop and meditate on what He is teaching us through these issues. In reality, He is wanting to see what is in our heart — doubt and uncertainty, or an inclination to exhibit attributes that are pleasing in His sight.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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