Why was LAND valued over love? (Numbers 36:8)


Clarify Share Report Asked January 02 2019 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I would say that the situation noted in the question was a necessary consequence of adapting a Law in which males were given preference with respect to inheritance of land to a situation where there was no male heir.

If the daughters of Zelophehad had been granted full inheritance rights (as if they had been sons), and then had married someone outside their own tribe, the result would have been an unjustified diminishing of their own tribe's allotment of land, since the rights to their portion of their tribe's inheritance would have been transferred to the tribes of their respective husbands. With time and repetition, this would have resulted in a hopeless blurring not just of tribal boundaries, but also of ancestral lineages, which were of great importance in that culture. (Even the genealogy of Mary, as given in Luke 3:23-38, makes no mention of Mary herself, despite the fact that she was the mother of the Son of God.) (Also, as important as love relationships are, land in a sense is more fundamental, since it is permanent, while even the most devoted love relationships end at some point.) 

Zelophehad's daughters were not being denied the right to marry, but only being required to marry someone from their own tribe, so that the tribe's land allotment would not be diminished. By my understanding, if they had had a brother, there would not have been a controversy, since he would have inherited the whole of Zelophehad's land, and his sisters could have married anyone they chose (even outside of their tribe).

While this system may have been patriarchal by our standards, it affected all the women of Israel equally. Any woman (with or without a brother) who married outside her tribe forfeited her right to land from her own tribe's allotment.

January 03 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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