Sunday, May 22, 2016

Omer 2016 Day 30: Zelophehad's daughters

Day 30: Gevurah in Hod, Justice in Glory

Zelophehad's daughters appear three separate times in the Tanakh, each time listing all five of their names: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. As we have seen from some previous days of the Omer, many women's names were not recorded, so it is remarkable in and of itself that Zelophehad's daughters were all named and that their names were repeated each time they were mentioned in the Tanakh.

But wait, there's more!

They are also remarkable for their contribution to Israelite society. Their father, Zelophehad, had died and had no sons, so according to Israelite law before Numbers 27, his property would have been divided among his clan, leaving his daughters with nothing and effectively erasing his name. Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah believed that to be unfair and petitioned Moses for the right to inherit their father's land. They won that right, not only for themselves, but for any daughter whose father died without a male heir.

So, they maintained their father's name and gained glory in their own right through their pursuit of justice. You can read their whole story in Numbers 27:1-11, Numbers 36:1-12, and Joshua 17:3-4.