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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 36

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-4


The previous reference of the daughters of Zelophehad, in Numbers 27 (Numbers 27:1-1 Kings :), is an homage to their faith. Here, in Numbers 36, it is about guarding the original inheritance part in the hands of the tribe to which it is given. The glory of God requires the avoidance of confusion about what He has given to His people.

Question About the Loss of an Inheritance

A question has arisen in connection with the regulation of the hereditary possession of the daughters of Zelophehad. This question is about what happens to the inheritance when one of the daughters of Zelophehad marries someone from another tribe. Family heads do not ask the question to challenge what has been said in Numbers 27. They have thought about this and also come up with a question. They have no doubt whatsoever about the correctness of the former statement.

Here comes the side of responsibility, while Numbers 27 is about the position. Now it’s about how to deal with what we got. All the children of God may enjoy the blessings, daughters and sons. That is Numbers 27. But believers who enjoy should never forget the tribal bond.

What we have in common with all believers, we experience especially in the local church. For example, we should not see large conferences or private meetings as the only opportunity to enjoy the inheritance, but rather what happens in the local church. Our concern must be not only to take possession of our inheritance, but also to keep it.

The heads of families are worried that their tribe in case of a marriage with one of the daughters of “Zelophehad our brother”, will lose a part of the inheritance. We too must locally be busy to ensure that we do not lose anything of what is entrusted to us. We can easily slide down, for example to the wilderness side of the Jordan. We must all make sure that we keep what we have. We are all involved in this.

The inheritance is enjoyed by each person personally. It consists of the part of the knowledge of Christian truth that the Lord has shown us and that we have absorbed into our hearts. It is important that our personal blessings, that what we enjoy from them, run parallel to what we have received and enjoyed together.

We do not choose our brothers and sisters ourselves. A church with only spiritual believers is not the church of God. In the church of God there are spiritual and fleshly believers, strong and weak believers. Those in danger of losing their inheritance should be involved in thinking about what we have in spiritual blessings. These blessings must be presented to them vividly, so that they too may long to enjoy their inheritance.

Verses 5-9

Only Marrying Within One’s Own Tribe

As in Numbers 27, the questioners get the desired answer. The answer is that the daughters of Zelophehad can only marry within their own tribe. As an extra incentive it is said that “the sons of Israel shall each hold to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers” (Numbers 36:7). We also need this incentive, because we are quick to give in to the tendency to wander and change. This spirit of restlessness, no longer adhering to an assigned work or designated place, characterizes society.

The spirit of change did not stop at the church door. The desire and urge for change in the church is great and is breaking out everywhere. It seems difficult for everyone to “remain in that condition in which he was called” (1 Corinthians 7:20). We must be sure that we are where God wants us to be. If we can say so, we should stay there in His power and honor until He gives us a clear indication from His Word that we should change, for “He chooses our inheritance for us” (Psalms 47:4). We must be in the inheritance He has chosen for us. His Word is the touchstone for this.

The call sounds not for nothing, especially in view of the last days of the church on earth: “Hold fast what you have” (Revelation 3:11). And there it is especially about acknowledging that we have little power, about keeping the word of the Lord Jesus and about not denying His Name. This means that we do not think highly of ourselves and that we give Him His full authority over our church life through His Word. Then we will be able – personally and collectively – to continue to enjoy all the blessings He has given us.

Verses 10-12

The daughters of Zelophehad

The daughters of Zelophehad show obedience to the LORD’s statement. They marry within their own tribe. With that, this book, so full of revolt of the people, closes hopefully.

Verse 13

Final Word

The final word is a summary and underlining of what the LORD has said. In His goodness He emphasizes once again that not Moses, but He Himself has spoken. God knows where we are and what is the goal of our way. With this in mind He gives us His directions in the form of commandments and ordinances. He teaches us to make us fit for the road ahead.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Numbers 36". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/numbers-36.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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