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The Rights of Women to Inherit Land

36 The heads of the households whose families were descended from Gilead, son of Machir and grandson of Manasseh, (families of Joseph’s descendants) came and spoke to Moses and the leaders of the other Israelite households. They said, “Sir, the Lord commanded you to give the Israelites their land by drawing lots. The Lord also commanded you to give the land of our relative Zelophehad to his daughters. Suppose they marry men from the other tribes of Israel. Their land will be taken away from that of our ancestors and added to the land of the tribe they marry into. Then we will have lost part of our land. When the Israelites’ jubilee year comes, their land will be added to that of the tribe they married into. Then part of the land of our ancestors’ tribe will be gone.”

So Moses gave the Israelites a command from the Lord. “The tribe of Joseph’s descendants is right. This is what the Lord commands for Zelophehad’s daughters: They may marry anyone they want to, but only within a family of their ancestor’s tribe. In this way no land of the Israelites will pass from one tribe to another. Every Israelite must keep the tribal land inherited from his ancestors. A woman who inherits land in any of the tribes of Israel may marry a man from any family in her ancestor’s tribe. In this way every Israelite keeps the land inherited from his ancestors. No land may pass from one tribe to another. Each Israelite tribe must keep the land it inherits.”

10 Zelophehad’s daughters did as the Lord commanded Moses. 11 Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah married their cousins on their father’s side of the family. 12 They married within the families of the descendants of Manasseh, son of Joseph. So their land stayed in the tribe of their father’s family.

13 These are the commands and rules the Lord gave the Israelites through Moses on the plains of Moab near the Jordan River across from Jericho.

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