|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:5-12 Those who consult the oracles of God, concerning the making of their heavenly inheritance sure, shall not only be directed what to do, but their inquiries shall be graciously accepted. God would not have one tribe enriched at the expense of another. Each tribe was to keep to its own inheritance. The daughters of Zelophehad submitted to this appointment. How could they fail to marry well, when God himself directed them? Let the people of God learn how suitable and proper it is, like the daughters of Israel, to be united only to their own people. Ought not every true believer Israel, to be united only to their own people. Ought not every true believer in Jesus, to be very attentive in the near and tender relations of life, to be united only to such as are united to the Lord? All our intentions and inclinations ought to be subjected to the will of God, when that is made known to us, and especially in contracting marriage. Although the word of God allows affection and preference in this important relation, it does not sanction that foolish, ungovernable, and idolatrous passion, which cares not what may be the end; but in defiance of authority, determines upon self-gratification. All such conduct, however disguised, is against common sense, the interests of society, the happiness of the marriage relation, and, what is still more evil, against the religion of Christ.
Verse 5. - The tribe of the sons of Joseph. "The tribe (matteh) of the Beni-Joseph." There were two, or rather in effect three, tribes of the Beni-Joseph; Moses referred, of course, to the one which had come before him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moses commanded the children of Israel,.... Even all the tribes of Israel, whom the following law concerned, as well as the tribe of Manasseh:
according to the word of the Lord; whom no doubt he consulted on this occasion, as he did when the daughters of Zelophehad applied unto him about the inheritance of their father:
saying, the tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well; in showing such a concern for the welfare of their tribe; the consideration of which would be of service to them all, and therefore was worthy of notice. Aben Ezra observes, that the heads of the fathers spoke for the sake of every tribe, what was for the good of them all, and therefore was well spoken.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5-12. Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the Lord—The plea appeared just and reasonable; and, accordingly an enactment was made by which the daughters of Zelophehad, while left to the free choice of their husbands, were restricted to marry not only within their own tribe, but within the family of their father's tribe—that is, one of their cousins. This restriction, however, was imposed only on those who were heiresses. The law was not applicable to daughters in different circumstances (1Ch 23:22)—for they might marry into another tribe; but if they did so, they were liable to forfeit their patrimonial inheritance, which, on the death of their father or brothers, went to the nearest of the family kinsmen. Here was an instance of progressive legislation (see also Ex 18:27) in Israel, the enactments made being suggested by circumstances. But it is deserving of special notice that those additions to, or modifications of, the law were confined to civil affairs; while the slightest change was inadmissible in the laws relating to worship or the maintenance of religion.
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