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NUMBERS CHAPTER 36
The inconvenience of daughters inheriting is remedied by a general command that all such marry in the tribe of their fathers, to which of them they shall think best, Numbers 36:1-9.
They obey, Numbers 36:10-12.
These commands God gave by Moses to Israel in the plains of Moab, Numbers 36:13.
The chief fathers of the families, who had the care and management of the public affairs of that tribe committed to them.
Our brother, i.e. our kinsman, one of our tribe, Joshua 17:2,Joshua 17:3.
For their inheritance will pass to their children, who will be of another tribe by their father’s side, which alone is considered in this place.
Which God appointed principally for this end, to preserve the inheritance in the hands of the tribes and families to which they were first given.
Their plea is just and reasonable. God did not take particular care about every occurrence that happened, or might happen, but left divers things to be found out by human prudence, which being his own gift, it was meet there should be opportunities left for the exercise of it; and God thought fit to approve and ratify the prudent and profitable inventions of men by his own law or sanction; as in the case of Jethro, Exodus 18:0, of Zelophehad’s daughter, Numbers 27:0, and here of their brethren. But it is observable, that God allowed this only in civil affairs, but never in the matters of his worship, where he utterly forbids it.
They seem hereby to be confined not only to the same tribe, trot also to the family of their tribe, as appears from the reason of the law, for God would have the inheritance of families as well as tribes kept entire and unmixed; and this was one reason of that law of marrying the brother’s wife, Deuteronomy 25:0. And although the next verse may seem to thwart this interpretation, the reason of this law being there given that inheritances might not go from tribe to tribe, Numbers 36:8 confirms it, where the very same phrase is repeated, and that more emphatically, that such shall marry one of the family of the tribe of her father; and this further reason and restriction is added, that they may enjoy every man the inheritance (not only of his tribe, but) of his fathers, to wit, belonging to his father’s family.
By which clause it seems that this law was not general to forbid every woman to marry into another tribe, (as may be reasonably concluded from the practice of so many patriarchs, kings, priests, and other holy men, who have married women of other tribes, yea, sometimes of other nations, which it is not likely they would have done, if this had been a transgression of God’s law,) but restrained to heiresses, or such as were likely to be so. See 1 Chronicles 23:22. But if they had brethren, it is probable they were free to marry into any tribe, yet so that, if their brethren died, their punishment was, that the inheritance went from them to the next akin of their father’s tribe and family. And the principal reason why God was solicitous to preserve tribes and families unmixed was, that the tribe and family too out of which the Messiah was to come, and by which he should be known, might be evident and unquestionable.
It is certain whether brothers or sons be taken strictly and properly, or more large, as those words are oft used in Scripture.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Numbers 36". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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