Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 17:3

However, Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Daughter;   Gilead;   Heir;   Hepher;   Hoglah;   Israel;   Milcah;   Noah;   Tirzah;   Women;   Zelophehad;   Thompson Chain Reference - Tirzah;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Children;   Manasseh, the Tribe of;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Zelophehad;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Manasseh, tribe of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Machir;   Noah;   Tirza;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Hoglah;   Pentateuch;   Tirzah (1);   Zelophehad;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Mahlah;   Milcah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Hoglah;   Joshua;   Mahlah;   Manasseh;   Milcah;   Tirzah;   Zelophehad;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gilead ;   Hepher ;   Hoglah ;   Machir ;   Mahlah ;   Milcah ;   Noah ;   Tirzah ;   Zelophehad ;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Hog'lah;   Mil'cah;   No'ah;   Tir'zah;   Zelo'phehad;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abiezer;   Hoglah;   Machir;   Mahlah;   Milcah;   Noah (2);   Tirzah;   Zelophehad;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Hepher;   Machir;   Tirzah;   Zelophehad;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Zelophehad - had no sons, but daughters - See this case considered at large in the notes on Numbers 27:1-7; (note); Numbers 36:1; (note), etc.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 17:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-17.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. And they came near before Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, Jehovah commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren: now therefore according to the commandment of Jehovah he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father. And there fell ten parts to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is beyond the Jordan; because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons. And the land of Gilead belonged unto the rest of the sons of Manasseh."

This episode regarding the daughters of Zelophehad presupposes the prior existence of Numbers 26:33; 27:1-7. Also, the fact of Ephraim's receiving his inheritance first, and likewise the fight of Manasseh as the firstborn of Joseph presuppose and prove the prior existence of the Book of Genesis. The whole Book of Joshua, in fact, is written in the shadow of the entire Pentateuch!

Holmes, a man who actually bears the title of "Reverend!" calls this incident regarding Zelophehad's daughters "legal fiction," declaring further that, "The writer of Numbers 27:1ff (where is recorded the story of Zelophehad and his daughters) gave effect to it (a law announced by Moses) by the imaginary instance of Zelophehad and his daughters."[2] This kind of blatant infidelity masquerading as `scholarship' is still prevalent and has been widespread throughout the current century. The Samaritan ostraca, uncovered by archeologists, and dated about 770 B.C. "show tax payments in kind carry the names of districts such as Abiezer Helek, Shechem, Shemida, Noah, and Hoglah."[3] As Sizoo stated, "This adds further to our confidence in the history of the allotment of the land."[4] We are glad to add that such examples of the absolute integrity of the Bible are discovered by us almost daily in our long studies of the Bible, firmly grounding us in the conviction that the Holy Bible is THE MOST DEPENDABLE BOOK ON EARTH; THE MOST ACCURATE HISTORY ON EARTH; AND THE ONLY BOOK OF GOD'S WORD ON EARTH. He is a fool who dares to CONTRADICT a single declaration of the Holy Bible.

"The ten portions ..." of Joshua 17:5 were for the five living sons and the five daughters mentioned here. The mention of the High Priest in Joshua 17:4 has no significance whatever except that he was a part of the high court that distributed the land. It was his office that led to his being mentioned first. Boling's assertion that this passage is the "contribution of a later redactor,"[5] is grounded on nothing more substantial than the destructive IMAGINATIONS of critics. Why cannot they identify the alleged "redactor"? It has long ago become apparent that every appeal to an "editor" or a "redactor" is a confession that, as the Bible stands, it does NOT support their theories!

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 17:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-17.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters,.... The descent of this man is particularly given, to show the truth and reality of it, upon which his daughters made their request, and that granted and now claimed:

and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah,

Milcah, and Tirzah; by the same names, and in the same order they are called in Numbers 26:33; the order is a little different in Numbers 36:11.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 17:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-17.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 17:3 But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these [are] the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

Ver. 3. But Zelophehad.] These daughters of his are commended by their names, by their masculine faith, and by their modesty in suing for their portion. See their plea and success in Numbers 27:1-3, &c.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 17:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-17.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 3. But Zelophehad, &c.— Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, having no male issue, his share was subdivided between his five daughters. They had claimed it in the wilderness before the conquest; and God having approved of their plea, they might well plead their right, and assuredly succeed. Note; If in the wilderness of the world we secure a title to glory under the Divine promise, we shall not fail, when the conquest, at death, is completed, to possess our inheritance.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 17:3". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-17.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

No sons, but daughters; of whom see Poole "Numbers 26:33"; see Poole "Numbers 27:1".

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 17:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-17.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters. And these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.’

We note first that in Joshua 17:2 it is made clear that Hepher was not necessarily the direct descendant of Machir, and the connection may be tribal, although it is always possible for there to be two or more bearing the same name. This inheritance of daughters where men had no sons was confirmed by YHWH to Moses at an earlier time when these forthright daughters of Zelophehad had approached Moses about their position (Numbers 27:1-11). But in this case they were required to marry within the tribe so that their inheritance would not pass outside the tribe (Numbers 36). To inherit directly brought tribal responsibility. The names of the daughters are represented elsewhere, but if actual women, princesses of the sub-tribe, had not been directly involved there would have been no reason for inventing an artificial situation. See for Mahlah a family of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 7:18), for Hoglah compare Beth-hoglah (Joshua 15:6), for Tirzah see Joshua 12:24. This merely demonstrates a similar environment with similar names in use.

The whole situation is interesting in bringing out the fact that the subject of dividing the land did not just begin here. It had been under serious consideration for a considerable period of time. Preparatory land surveys had probably already taken place under Moses, and information recorded ready for when the time came.

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Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 17:3". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-17.html. 2013.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Zelophehad. Compare Numbers 26:33; Numbers 27:1; Numbers 36:2.

but = but [only]: or "but [he had]".

Milcah. Some codices, with three early printed editions, Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "and Milcah".

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 17:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-17.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
Numbers 26:33; 27:1; 36:2-11
Reciprocal: Numbers 36:1 - Gilead;  Joshua 17:5 - ten portions

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 17:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-17.html.