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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Numbers 36



Verses 1-3

Numbers 36:1-3. The chief fathers of the families, &c. — We read before of a provision made for the family of the heiresses of Zelophehad, a branch of the tribe of Manasseh, chap. 27.; and though Moses had secured them a distinct inheritance, yet some of the chief heads of that family, foreseeing that a great inconvenience might possibly happen in the marriage of these women, made a new petition to Moses, in the presence of the princes, or chief fathers of Israel, for a proper law to prevent it. They represented to him, that in case these heiresses should marry into other tribes, the estates they were invested in would, of course, be alienated from their own tribe, and be incorporated into that in which they married, by the right of their husbands.

Verse 4

Numbers 36:4. When the jubilee shall be, &c. — The jubilee itself, they remonstrate, though designed, among other purposes, to preserve a perfect distinction of estates, tribes, and families, would afford no remedy for this inconvenience, since these inheritances would descend, at the jubilee, by the common right of marriage, to the heirs of these women, should they marry into another tribe.

Verse 6

Numbers 36:6. Only to the family — They were not confined to any particular person, but might have their choice among such as solicited their consent, who were descended from the same stock. But they were restrained from marrying men of another tribe or of another family of the same tribe; for God would have the inheritance of families, as well as of tribes, kept entire and distinct. And accordingly they actually did marry their cousin-germans, Numbers 36:11.

Verse 8

Numbers 36:8. The inheritance of his fathers — 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; but restrained to heiresses, or such as were likely to be so. But if they had brethren they were free to marry into any tribe, yet so that, if their brethren died, 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.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 36:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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