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The Laws about Married Women and Land

36 One day the family leaders from the Gilead clan of the Manasseh tribe went to Moses and the other family leaders of Israel and said, “Sir, the Lord has said that he will show[a] what land each tribe will receive as their own. And the Lord has commanded you to give the daughters of our relative Zelophehad[b] the land that he would have received. But if they marry men from other tribes of Israel, the land they receive will become part of that tribe’s inheritance and will no longer belong to us. Even when land is returned to its original owner in the Year of Celebration,[c] we will not get back Zelophehad’s land—it will belong to the tribe into which his daughters married.”

So Moses told the people that the Lord had said:

These men from the Manasseh tribe are right. I will allow Zelophehad’s daughters to marry anyone, as long as those men belong to one of the clans of the Manasseh tribe.

Tribal land must not be given to another tribe—it will remain the property of the tribe that received it. 8-9 In the future, any daughter who inherits land must marry someone from her own tribe. Israel’s tribal land is never to be passed from one tribe to another.

10-11 Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah the daughters of Zelophehad obeyed the Lord and married their uncles' sons 12 and remained part of the Manasseh tribe. So their land stayed in their father’s clan.

13 These are the laws that the Lord gave to Moses and the Israelites while they were camped in the lowlands of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho.

Footnotes

  1. 36.2 that he will show: See the note at 26.55,56.
  2. 36.2 Zelophehad: See also 26.28-34; 27.1-11.
  3. 36.4 Year of Celebration: This was a sacred year for Israel, traditionally called the “Year of Jubilee.” During thisyear, all property had to go back to its original owner. But here, the property was not sold; it became part of the other tribe’s land when the daughter who owned it married into that tribe. So the property could not be returned even during this year.