Daughters of Zelophehad

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{god, call, give}
{law, state, case}
{land, century, early}
{area, part, region}
{group, member, jewish}
{woman, child, man}

The Daughters of Zelophehad (Hebrew: בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד‎) were five sisters in the Hebrew Bible who lived during the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and who raised before Moses the case of a woman's right and obligation to inherit property in the absence of a male heir in the family. Zelophehad (possibly meaning "first born"), a man of the Tribe of Manasseh, had five daughters: Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah; but no sons, and thus no male heirs. (Num. 26:33 27:3, Josh. 17:3.) The text tells little of Zelophehad himself, save that he died during the 40 years when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness. (Num. 27:3.)

Contents

Biblical account

Zelophehad's daughters petitioned Moses, Eleazar the priest, the chieftains, and the whole assembly, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for their right to inherit his property rights in the Land of Israel. (Num. 27:2–4.)

Zelophehad's daughters noted that their father Zelophehad had not taken part in Korah's rebellion, but only died in his own sin. (Num. 27:3.) Zelophehad's daughters argued that were they not to inherit, then Zelophehad's name would be lost to his clan. (Num. 27:4.) Moses took their case to God. (Num. 27:5.) God told Moses that the plea of Zelophehad's daughters was just, and that they should be granted their father's hereditary holding. (Num. 27:6–7.)

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