Bible Study & Devotional (with audio)
By Detria Moore
🔴 Faith, Courage, and Honor: The Daughters of Zelophehad
Tradition is a beautiful way of recognizing time-honored customs, cultural beliefs, and practices. But tradition is sometimes meant to be broken, and it takes courage to go against societal norms, even when it’s done for the right reasons and with the best of intentions.
Are you willing to go against culture to get what God has for you?
Five courageous women were willing to do just that.
In Numbers 26, the people of Israel undergo a critical second census to establish the size of each tribe. The allocation of their portion in the promised land of Canaan depended on it. While women were not included in the census numbers, the five daughters of Zelophehad are mentioned individually by name (Numbers 26:33) to establish that they were from the tribe of Manasseh.
Next, in Numbers 27:1-11, we read more about the five daughters of Zelophehad and how they courageously went against cultural norms.
Tradition stated that if a man had no sons, his inheritance went to his nearest male relative, but NOT to his daughters. Rather than receiving an inheritance, daughters were given a dowry upon marriage. Well, Zelophehad died having no sons. And because the Children of Israel had an extended wilderness experience, it was challenging to find his nearest male relative. Having land solidified a leader’s legacy, no male heirs, meant no record of Zelophehad.
Realizing that their silence could mean the extinction of their father’s name, these sisters operated in faith, courage, and honor. Their actions eventually changed the course of tradition!
First, these daughters operated in FAITH by believing that Israel’s children would inherit and possess the promised land. Earlier, in Numbers 13, Moses sent 12 spies to scout out the land. Ten of these spies pronounce doubt and defeat at the very prospect of trying to conquer the people. But these five sisters, while still in the wilderness, had faith that they would walk in God’s already stated promises and possess what He’d already said they would have. What faith!
Like Caleb and Joshua, the daughters of Zelophehad knew it was a matter of WHEN and not IF God would fulfill his promise. That is faith! These five sisters had faith enough to ask for an inheritance while they were still in the wilderness!
Next, they COURAGEOUSLY approached Moses and Eleazor, right at the tent of meeting. In front of Moses, the high priest, the chiefs, and the congregation, they boldly requested their inheritance, completely ignoring tradition, which said they could not.
Let’s think through this.
At that time, women weren’t allowed to inherit property, and as they were unwed at that time, their status was not very high. It would have been easy to say nothing. It’s not like when moving day came, they would have been left on the outskirts of Canaan and not allowed to enter. They could have easily crossed into the promised land, set up their tents within Manasseh’s territory, and lived happily ever after, not worrying about anything or anyone past their generation.
But that wasn’t enough for them.
With courage, they went to the male leaders in front of all the congregation and made their requests known. It wasn’t just about securing their futures; they wanted to HONOR their father and make sure his legacy remained. Understand this was revolutionary in many ways.
We must have faith that will move beyond the here and now. Faith that will set in motion blessings for future generations. And sometimes, this will take a measure of courage.
Because these women had faith to request their father’s inheritance and honor his legacy courageously, they not only received it but a new statute and rule are declared, allowing future daughters to receive their father’s inheritance.
If you’re following the one-year Bible plan, you’ve read these incredible chapters. The Bible is a deep well of wisdom- take a moment and read Numbers 27 and 36 and see how faith and courage changed generations.
Ask yourself the following questions for personal application:
- Am I operating in faith?
- Do I think about how my actions might affect my legacy? Both in the good and the bad?
- Are there areas of my life where I need to ask for courage?
- What am I doing that’s going to set in motion change for generations to come?
Detria Moore, J.D. is a believer, wife, mother, college professor, intercessor, community servant, writer, speaker, and volunteer of all things. Above all else, she is enamored with her Savior. Her main goal is to serve the Lord, walk in a manner worthy of her calling, and bring glory to her Savior. Detria enjoys reading and teaching the Bible, praying for others, and walking the Lynchburg trails.
This devotional was submitted by Detria Moore, a loving contributor to Our Given Purpose. Edited by Torrie Slaughter the founder of Our Given Purpose® in the Commonwealth of Virginia.