I don’t know why feminists haven’t discovered this story, but Zelophehad’s daughters could be their poster children, all five of them: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. (Off the record, my godchild’s name is Tirzah, named for the fifth daughter.)
The five female offspring of Zelophehad (Numbers 27) had a problem. As the conquered Canaanite territory was being settled by the 12 tribes of Israel, they realized their portion would be lost forever because they had no brothers to carry the family name of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh. They argued to Moses that they should be given a land inheritance even though they were women. Moses was stumped but said he would ask God and get back to them. God agreed with the women: “The daughters of Zelophehad are right” (Numbers 27:7). Put that on your car bumper.
But then another problem occurred to the men of the tribe of Manasseh: What if some of our women start marrying outside the tribe of Manasseh. What if they start falling in love with those cute guys from Asher by the sea? Then our inheritance will go to the husbands of these woman and we will eventually become extinct as a tribe.
They had a good point, too. So the Lord made a special rule for the daughters of Zelophehad:
“Let them marry whom they think best, only they shall marry within the clan of the tribe of their father. The inheritance of the people of Israel shall not be transferred from one tribe to another …” (Numbers 36:6-7).
I was thinking about the cultural situation we find ourselves in today in America, and I was thinking about the daughters of Zelophehad. These five gals had more restrictions put on them than the average Israelite, who was merely commanded not to marry outside of Israel but was allowed to marry across tribes. And the ladies bowed to God and trusted it would be well with them.
What we have in our nation, by contrast, is not only an unwillingness to submit to God in the unburdensome traditions our parents did, but a frenzy to cast off all bonds and all restrictions that people have willingly operated within for centuries. The Word of God says:
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).
But, by golly, that’s what they want to do.
Blessed are those who live within the designs the Creator has set. To disdain His boundaries is to be as smart as a fish jumping out of the sea to its freedom.