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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 36

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-4

NUMBERS - CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

Verses 1-4:

"Chief fathers," or "heads of the fathers," as in Ex 6:25. These were the official representatives of the children of Gilead, Beni-Gilead, of the tribe of Manasseh.

"Lord," adoni, a title of respect toward Moses. Aaron had used this title, Ex 32:22; Nu 12:11, as had Joshua, Nu 11:28.

The question of the officers of Gilead dealt with the provision for the daughters of Zelophehad, see Nu 27:1-11. They feared that should any of these daughters marry men of other tribes, their inheritance would be lost to the tribe of Manasseh. This was a legitimate question, for according to the established inheritance laws, this would indeed be the case. They asked Moses for clarification of this matter, to establish a legal precedent for future cases.

Concerning the "Jubilee," see comments on Le 25:10-17.

The "Jubilee" would effectively confirm the transfer of the inheritance of the heiress of her husband’s family and tribe, and thus make it permanent. It was this eventuality that the Gileadites challenged.

Verses 5-9

Verses 5-9:

Moses clarified the inheritance law, by the "word of Jehovah." The daughters of Zelophehad were free to marry whom they chose, but only within the tribe-family of their father. This became a precedent in Israel, which applied to all matters dealing with inheritance by heiresses. This provision assured that there would be no transfer of tribal possession from one tribe to another.

Verses 10-13

Verses 10-13:

The names of Zelophehad’s daughters are mentioned three times in this Book, Nu 26:33; 27:1; 36:11, and once in Jos 17:3. This implies that the matter was one of great importance, and made a deep impression upon the entire nation.

The daughters of Zelophehad acted within the letter and the spirit of the Law, by marrying their cousins, who were also the next of kin and the legal redeemers of their property, see Le 25:25-27.

"Commandments," mitsvah, "precept," written rules and regulations.

"Judgments," mishpat, legal decisions, either written or oral.

These two terms likely refer to the legal matters settled while Israel was camped in the Plains of Moab awaiting the command to move into the Land of Canaan.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Numbers 36". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/numbers-36.html. 1985.
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