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Adam Clarke Commentary

Numbers 36

Introduction

The inconveniences which might be produced by daughters, inheritances, marrying out of their own tribe, remedied on the recommendation of certain chiefs of the tribe of Joseph, who stated the case of the daughters of Zelophehad, Numbers 36:1 -4. The daughters of Zelophehad are commanded to marry in their own tribe, Numbers 36:5 , Numbers 36:6 ; which is to be an ordinance in all similar circumstances, Numbers 36:7 -9. The daughters of Zelophehad marry their father's brother's sons, and thus their inheritance is preserved in their own tribe, Numbers 36:10 -12. The conclusion of the commandments given by the Lord to the Israelites in the plains of Moab, Numbers 36:13 .

Verse 2

To give the inheritance of Zelophehad - unto his daughters - See this case spoken of at large on Numbers 27 (note).Either the first eleven verses of Numbers 27 should come in before this chapter, or this chapter should come in immediately after those eleven verses; they certainly both make parts of the same subject.Here Moses determines that heiresses should marry in their own tribe, that no part of the ancient inheritance might be alienated from the original family.

Verse 6

Let them marry to whom they think best - Here was latitude sufficient, and yet a salutary and reasonable restraint, which prevented a vexatious mixture of property and possession.

Verse 8

Every daughter that possesseth an inheritance - This law affected none but heiresses; all others were at liberty to marry into any of the other tribes. The priests and Levites, who could have no inheritance, were exempt from the operation of this law. Jehoiada had the king of Judah's daughter to wife, 2 Chronicles 22:11 . And another priest had for wife one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, Ezra 2:61 . "By reason of such marriages," says Mr. Ainsworth, "there might be kindred between Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, who was of the daughters of Aaron, and Mary the virgin, the mother of our Lord, who was of the lineage of David, and tribe of Judah;" Luke 1:5 , Luke 1:36 ; Luke 3:23 -31.

Verse 11

Mahlah, Tirza, etc. - For a curious account of these names, see the notes on Numbers 27:7 .

Verse 12

And their inheritance remained in - the family - "By this example, and the law of inheritances in the Holy Land, the people of God," says Ainsworth, "are taught to hold fast their inheritance in his promises, and their right in Christ, which they hold by faith; that as the Father hath made them meet to be partakers of the inheritance among the saints in light, Colossians 1:12 , so they may keep the faith and grace which they have received to the end."

Verse 13

These are the commandments, etc. - See these different terms analyzed and explained, Leviticus 26:15 (note).Thus ends the book of Numbers, containing a series of astonishing providences and events. Scarcely any piece of history in the sacred writings is better calculated to impress the mind of a serious reader with a sense of the goodness and severity of God. In every transaction his holiness and justice appear in closest union with his benevolence and mercy. From such a Being what have the wicked not to fear! From such a Father and Friend what have the upright not to hope! His justice requires him to punish iniquity, but his mercy inclines him to pardon all who truly repent and believe in the Son of his love.The journeyings of this people, from the time they left Egypt, exhibit a series of providential wonders. Every where, and in every circumstance, God appears: and yet there is no circumstance or occasion that does not justify those signal displays of his Grace and his Justice. The genuine history of God's providence must be sought for in this book alone; and as every occurrence happened as an example, we have authority to conclude that in every case where his own glory and the salvation of man are interested, he will interfere and give the fullest proofs that he is the same to-day that he was yesterday, and will continue unchangeable for ever and ever. Reader, are these matters ensamples to thee? Art thou, like the Israelites, come into the plains of Moab, on the very verge of the promised land? Jordan alone separates thee from the promised inheritance. O, watch and pray, that thou come not short of the glory of God. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death; see then that the sting of death, which is sin, be extracted from thy soul, that, being justified by Christ's blood, thou mayest be made an heir according to the hope of an eternal life. Amen, amen.Sections In the Book of Numbers, carried on from Leviticus, which ends with the Thirty-Third.The Thirty-Fourth, called במדבר bemidbar, begins Numbers 1:1 , and ends Numbers 4:20 .The Thirty-Fifth, called נשא nasa, begins Numbers 4:21 , and ends Numbers 7:89 .The Thirty-Sixth, called בהעלתך behaalothecha, begins Numbers 8:1 , and ends Numbers 12:16 .The Thirty-Seventh, called שלח shelach, begins Numbers 13:1 , and ends Numbers 15:41 .The Thirty-Eighth, called קרח korach, begins Numbers 16:1 , and ends Numbers 18:32 .The Thirty-Ninth, called חקת chukkath, begins Numbers 19:1 , and ends Numbers 22:1 .The Fortieth, called בלק balak, begins Numbers 22:2 , and ends Numbers 25:9 .The Forty-First, called פינחס pinechas, begins Numbers 25:10 , and ends Numbers 30:1 .The Forty-Second, called מטות mattoth, begins Numbers 30:2 , and ends Numbers 32:42 .The Forty-Third, called מסעי masey, begins Numbers 33:1 , and ends Numbers 36:13 .

Numbers 36


  1 And the chief fathers of the families of the children of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near, and spake before Moses, and before the princes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel:
  2 And they said, The LORD commanded my lord to give the land for an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel: and my lord was commanded by the LORD to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother unto his daughters.
  3 And if they be married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then shall their inheritance be taken from the inheritance of our fathers, and shall be put to the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received: so shall it be taken from the lot of our inheritance.
  4 And when the jubile of the children of Israel shall be, then shall their inheritance be put unto the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received: so shall their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.
  5 And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying, The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well.
  6 This is the thing which the LORD doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry.
  7 So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe: for every one of the children of Israel shall keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.
  8 And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy every man the inheritance of his fathers.
  9 Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance.
  10 Even as the LORD commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad:
  11 For Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married unto their father's brothers' sons:
  12 And they were married into the families of the sons of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father.
  13 These are the commandments and the judgments, which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.

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