Numbers 27:1-11 – Women Are Just As Important to God as Men Are!

Posted: October 22, 2016 in 04-Numbers

Numbers 27:1-11

The Daughters of Zelophehad


The Bible is sexist! The Bible is out of step with modern times, especially the Old Testament! Women were treated like dirt in the Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament was a sexist God and I don’t believe in Him. You hear these claims all the time.


What then do the post-modernist worldview proponents then do with this passage? Here, you several things that jump out of the page at you that makes you wonder if the post-modernist dismiss the Old Testament rather abruptly with a broad brush. First, you have these daughters being given an audience with the leaders of the nation – Moses, Eleazar, the tribal leaders, etc. and second there was a solution that was very beneficial to all females in Israel. Then, there is the faith that they showed coming forward. Let’s read through it now:


27 The daughters of Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, belonged to the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. The names of the daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. They came forward 2 and stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders and the whole assembly at the entrance to the tent of meeting and said, 3 “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among Korah’s followers, who banded together against the Lord, but he died for his own sin and left no sons. 4 Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.”


5 So Moses brought their case before the Lord, 6 and the Lord said to him, 7 “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them.


8 “Say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance to his daughter. 9 If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 If his father had no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan, that he may possess it. This is to have the force of law for the Israelites, as the Lord commanded Moses.’”


The first thing that I notice is that there is a debunking of the myth that the Bible and thus Christianity is sexist by the world’s standards of today. The world sees the word submission as uttered by Paul and they think slavery. What the world does not realize is that God has a higher calling and standard for men in that we are called to be leaders of our households and we are to care for our wives in the same way that Christ cared for and loved his church. Christ was willing to die for us, His believers, His church. He loved to the point of being willing to die on the cross for us. Thus, we as husbands have that as our standard when it comes to our wives. We are to create an environment in which they feel secure, protected, and free to become the beautiful, wonderful creatures that God intended women to be. Therefore, to broad brush Christianity, to broad brush the Old Testament as archaic and out of step and just dismiss is wrong. Here you see that women are valued in this scene. They were given an audience with the leadership of the nation and not simply dismissed away. You would think that the worldview of the Old Testament that they would have just been dismissed because they were women. There is evidence here that women in the Judeo-Christian tradition are valued and are held in respect. Sure, there are those who bastardize relationships with women. Treat women poorly and think of them as toys to be played with rather as the wondrous gifts from God that women are to us. However, that is not in keeping with the principle that we are to treat the women in our lives as Christ treated His church. Here, you see that women were given an audience to discuss an extremely important matter to them but it was also an extremely important matter to the whole of Israel. Just because you are woman as a Christ follower does not mean you give up your rights. You were made in God’s image just as we men were. You have great value in the eyes of God. A godly man is worth following and worth praying that He will be to your family as Christ is for His church. If a man is after God’s heart, then, he will treat you with the respect that in God’s eyes you deserve.


The second thing that you will notice is that God gave a solution that is respectful to women. Up to this point, Hebrew law gave sons the sole rights of inheritance. The daughters of Zelophehad, having no brothers, came to Moses to ask for their father’s inheritance. God told Moses that if a man died without sons, his inheritance would to his daughters (Numbers 27:8) and what to do if a man had no children at all. This solution shows that God does indeed care about women, even in the Old Testament. Women are of great value to God. It is not in His nature to make women less than men. Certainly, the Bible teaches about the orderliness of marriage is working by His design when the husband is the true leader of his family and the wife and children follow him, but that in no way means that God devalues women. Men are actually held to a higher standard by God when it comes to women. Thus, God entrusts us as men to ensure that our women are protected, defended, made to feel secure and able to become what God intended them to be. This passage demonstrates God’s great care for women. This passage demonstrates His great love for His most delicate and beautiful of all His creation, women.


The final thing about this passage is that the faith shown by the daughters in this passage is something that we should aspire to regardless of whether we are a woman or a man. They saw a problem that was enormously important and had the faith that God would open the eyes of the men to see it. They did not simply accept the status quo. They saw a problem and had the faith to take it on. They did not care that they might be laughed at or ridiculed right out of the Tabernacle. They had faith that God would grant them their fervent prayer. They had faith enough in God to guide their arguments that the men would see the logic and necessity of what they were proposing. They had faith in God that they were right and that they would convince the elders of the nation. They had faith to take on a problem without fear of being banished, ridiculed, or even punished. It was an important issue and they knew that it was in keeping with God’s plan for the Promised Land for the people of Israel. As a woman, do you have that kind of faith? As a man do you have that kind of faith? Are you convinced through prayer that what you are about to fight for is consistent with biblical standards? Do you have the faith to stand out? It doesn’t matter that you are a woman or man? Be bold about that which is consistent with God’s Word! Stand up! God will be with you even when the world is not.


Let us remember that God has as much honor for women as He does for men. Let us remember that this passage is an example of the fact that the Bible demonstrates God’s love for women just as much as men and that He values women greately. And, let us remember, that women can have just as great an impact on God’s Kingdom as men do. Let us remember to look at this women in this passage as examples of great faith when a seemingly insurmountable problem is put before where we have to decide what to do. Let these women be examples to us of bold faith.


Amen and Amen.

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