As I read Numbers 27, I can see how God breaks through the false thinking of that time when women were considered part of a man’s belongings and wealth. Women didn’t own anything – they were ‘sold’ to men in marriage.
Zelophehad’s 5 daughters stood in front of Moses and the Israelite leaders saying, ” Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no sons? Give us property among our father’s relatives.” Numbers 27:4. This wasn’t done. Women did not inherit from their fathers. Moses was wise by not automatically following what is normally done when he took this question to God.
God is always right and fair so he said, “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.” Numbers 27: 7.
By doing this, God revealed what he really thought about the current cultural norms of treating women less than men. That isn’t how he sees things.
Sure, the head of the family clan (male) didn’t like it. But he obeyed God and let the daughters inherit their father’s land. The women were instructed to marry within their clan so that the land would stay within their group.
Just imagine this – 5 young unmarried women who would normally lack any kind of position in the community are now land-owners! God’s love and care for his daughters is shining through – challenging this male-dominated culture.
And, I’m sure, as landowners, these young women had no trouble finding husbands. I wonder if these marriages were a little different because they began in a more equal position?
This culture did not treat women equally, but God did. He always does.
Thank you, Abba Father.