The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: you shall surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brothers; and you shall cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou shalt surely give them . . . —The pronoun them is in the masculine gender in the Hebrew. Either the reference must be to the sons of Zelophehad’s daughters, or the daughters must be regarded in the light of sons.Numbers 27:7. Cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them — They were to enjoy what would have fallen to their father’s share, had he been alive; because they stood in his place, and represented his person. Accordingly they had their portion in the land, Joshua 17:1-3, &c.Give them: in Hebrew it is of the masculine gender, to show that women in this case should enjoy the man’s privilege, and that the heavenly Canaan, whereof this was a type, did belong no less to women than to men, Galatians 3:28.
The inheritance of their fathers, i.e. which belonged to their fathers in case they had lived.
thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; their uncles, or rather the children of them; for it is reasonable to suppose their father's brethren, or their uncles, were dead also: or "in giving thou shall give" (u); which, according to Jarchi, denotes two parts or portions they should receive; the part of their father, who was of them that came out of Egypt, and his part with his brethren in the goods of Hepher: in the Misnah (w), from whence he seems to have taken it, it is;"the daughters of Zelophehad took three parts for inheritance; the part of their father, who was with them that came out of Egypt, and his part with his brethren in the goods of Hepher, and because he was the firstborn he was to take two parts:''and though this strict command was given to Moses, yet it does not respect him personally, who lived not to enter into the land to see it divided; but him who should be his successor, and chief magistrate at the time of the division of it, which was Joshua, and of whom these ladies claimed their part, and had it, Joshua 17:3,
and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them; that is, that part which would have fallen to him by lot, had he been living, these were to take, they standing in his place; and so the portion of the land he would have had was to be divided between these live daughters of his.The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Numbers 27:1-4. The divine instructions which were given at the mustering of the tribes, to the effect that the land was to be divided among the tribes in proportion to the larger or smaller number of their families (Numbers 26:52-56), induced the daughters of Zelophehad the Manassite of the family of Gilead, the son of Machir, to appear before the princes of the congregation, who were assembled with Moses and Eleazar at the tabernacle, with a request that they would assign them an inheritance in the family of the father, as he had died in the desert without leaving any sons, and had not taken part in the rebellion of the company of Korah, which might have occasioned his exclusion from any participation in the promised land, but had simply died "through his (own) sin," i.e., on account of such a sin as every one commits, and such as all who died in the wilderness had committed as well as he. "Why should the name of our father be cut off (cease) from the midst of his family?" This would have been the case, for example, if no inheritance had been assigned him in the land because he left no son. In that case his family would have become extinct, if his daughters had married into other families or tribes. On the other hand, if his daughters received a possession of their own among the brethren of their father, the name of their father would be preserved by it, since they could then marry husbands who would enter upon their landed property, and their father's name and possession would be perpetuated through their children. This wish on the part of the daughters was founded upon an assumption which rested no doubt upon an ancient custom, namely, that in the case of marriages where the wives had brought landed property as their dowry, the sons who inherited the maternal property were received through this inheritance into the family of their mother, i.e., of their grandfather on the mother's side. We have an example of this in the case of Jarha, who belonged to the pre-Mosaic times (1 Chronicles 2:34-35). In all probability this took place in every instance in which daughters received a portion of the paternal possessions as their dowry, even though there might be sons alive. This would explain the introduction of Jair among the Manassites in Numbers 32:41; Deuteronomy 3:14. His father Segub was the son of Hezron of the tribe of Judah, but his mother was the daughter of Machir the Manassite (1 Chronicles 2:21-22). We find another similar instance in Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 7:63, where the sons of a priest who had married one of the daughters of Barzillai the rich Gileadite, are called sons of Barzillai.
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