Woman's Rights in Ancient Times
1 Chronicles 7:15
And Machir took to wife the sister of Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister's name was Maachah;) and the name of the second was Zelophehad…

The condition and the disabilities of Eastern women should be explained, described, and duly contrasted with the position won by women in all Christian countries. Especially deal with their secluded lives in their harems, or private apartments; the utter neglect of their education and culture; their disadvantages in never going out into society; and their utterly dependent position, involving the crushing of their personal wills, or the leaving them undeveloped and unexercised. And yet among them some women made for themselves spheres, by force of their character and ability. Give Bible illustrations, such as Sarah, Rebekah, Moses' mother, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Jezebel, Athaliah, etc. Always women have found spheres among the children and dependents, but sometimes wider and public spheres have opened to them. Women have little recognized legal or public rights in the East. Woman has no standing apart from her husband, and this makes the lot of the Eastern widow so inexpressibly sad. The name Zelophehad recalls a remarkable exception - a case in which women, having no male protector, succeeded in securing and maintaining their own rights; and the story is detailed in the Scripture as affording important instructive features. Compare the modern assertion of woman's legal and governmental rights, and tell how modern legislation has aided in removing women's disabilities. This Zelophehad was a descendant of Manasseh, who died during the wilderness wanderings, leaving no sons, only five daughters, who, by the custom of the time, would be treated as unable to inherit his estates. These five daughters appealed to Moses (Numbers 27:1-7), on the ground that their father had not died under any such judgment as disabled his children, and they asked to be authorized to stand as his heirs. The matter was a new and difficult one, and Moses took it directly to God, and by Divine direction established the new rule that when there were no sons the daughters might claim the rights of heirs. A remarkable illustration of the wise adjustment of law in its practical application to new and unanticipated cases. Bishop Wordsworth says, "It seems to have been God's design in the Levitical dispensation to elevate woman from the degradation into which she had fallen, and to prepare her gradually for that state of dignity and grace to which she is now advanced in the gospel by the incarnation of the Son of God, the Seed of the woman."

I. WOMAN'S PLACE IN FAMILY LIFE. There she properly takes a headship, bearing rule over both children and dependents. Illustrate by the interesting picture of the "virtuous woman and wife" given in the Book of Proverbs. If the woman be but a member of the family and not the head, still there is the due and honourable place of childhood, sisterhood, and friendship. No woman lacks a sphere of kindly useful service save the woman who wants none, because life is for her a mere low self-sphere. Plead for the nobility of womanly duties and relations in the home. Martha and Mary could even prove ministers to the bodily needs of a Friend who was the world's Saviour; many a woman since has "entertained angels unawares."

II. WOMAN'S PLACE IN PUBLIC LIFE. Home, in most cases, provides ample and satisfying spheres. But for women who are free from family ties suitable public spheres are found among other women, among the suffering, the poor, and the children; and where there is endowment literature finds work for woman. These spheres are daily enlarging. They should be fully detailed, and an earnest plea should be made against the wasting of woman's powers when such broad spheres claim her abilities and energies, and on them she may enter into the joy of "serving Christ." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Machir took to wife the sister of Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister's name was Maachah;) and the name of the second was Zelophehad: and Zelophehad had daughters.

WEB: and Machir took a wife of Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister's name was Maacah; and the name of the second was Zelophehad: and Zelophehad had daughters.

The Need for Preparation
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