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Who Was Zelophehad In The Bible

The Name Noah In The Bible

5 daughters of Zelophehad

In English translations of the Bible, there are two characters named Noah, one man and one woman. In Hebrew, however, these two names are totally different, and their meanings are exact opposites.The Noah first mentioned in Numbers 26:33 is one of the five daughters of Zelophehad her sisters are named Mahlah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah.The Noah mentioned in the Book of Genesis is the main character of the great flood cycle, and father of Shem, Ham and Japheth. Well call him Noah I:

What is the meaning of the name Noa?

Noa is both a feminine givenname and a surname. The Hebrew: is a popular name for girls in Israel, meaningmovement or motion.

The Daughters Of Zelophehad


The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right you shall surely give them a possession of inheritance among their fathers brothers, and cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them .

Zelophehad, a man of the tribe of Manasseh, died while the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness. He had no son, but only five daughters, Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah .

According to the Hebrew law of inheritance then, only the sons were entitled to their fathers inheritance. Women were denied inheritance.

Because Zelophehad had no male child inheritor, the five daughters went to Moses, their leader, with a demand to inherit the land due to their father. There was no provision of the law that addressed this particular situation.

The Bible says, And they stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and before the leaders and all the congregation, by the doorway of the tabernacle of meeting, saying: Our father died in the wilderness but he was not in the company of those who gathered together against the LORD, in company with Korah, but he died in his own sin and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our fathers brothers .

They looked at themselves and wondered what would happen to their fathers name in his clan. They, therefore, demanded the inheritance due to their father, more so that their father didnt die as a rebel.

Have You Ever Had To Take A Stand For Justice

Theres a wonderful story in the Bible about five sisters, the daughters of Zelophehad, who made a courageous appeal for justice.

When it appeared they might not get their fathers inheritance in the Promised Land, they took bold action to claim their rights.

We can learn from their example:

  • They spoke up for themselves
  • They went together
  • They went to the top authority, Moses
  • They presented a logical and reasonable plan that appealed to a higher sense of justice

Also in this episode:

  • What to do you do when there is no justice
  • Be alert when others dont get the justice they deserve, even if you got yours
  • How to act when youre in a position of authority

I hope this episode has been helpful. Please share this with a friend.

Id love to hear how you have worked and prayed for justice. Please share your thoughts, questions, or experiences in the comments below.

Thanks so much for your support.


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P.P.S. Here are the Bible references mentioned in this episode:

Numbers 26:29, 3329. The sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the clan of the Machirites and Machir was the father of Gilead of Gilead, the clan of the Gileadites.33. Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters. And the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

Numbers 36:1-13

Psalm 119:149

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The Daughters Of Zelophehad: Power And Uniqueness

Zelophehad’s daughters call to us to take hold of life with our own hands.

Commentary on Parashat Pinchas, Numbers 25:10 – 30:1

The story in Parashat Pinchas about Zelophehads five daughters Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah encapsulates the challenges that women faced and what they had to do in order to affirm their rights with dignity.

Numbers 26 describes a census taken of all males over the age of 20 . As part of the list of the various clans, we read that Zelophehad had no sons, only daughters . As the census was concluded, God instructs Moses: Among these shall the land be apportioned as shares . Among these refers to the males listed in the census hence, we can conclude that Zelophehads daughters were not counted in the census and also were not to receive any land as inheritance.

We might expect that women, heirs to Egyptian slavery and then put under law that frequently favors men, might react by keeping silent, by accepting as natural the rule decreed for them to follow. We might expect women in those days to stay close to their tents, remain out of sight, and not go far from their families. So how and why did Zelophehads daughters write a new chapter in history? First, they dared to go out from their living place, from their social space, from the destiny imposed on them. The text states:

Reprinted with permission from , edited by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Andrea L. Weiss .

The Name Hoglah In The Bible


Theres only one Hoglah in the Bible and she is the daughter of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh .Of this Zelophehad its written that he had only daughters, and when he died his daughters realized that their fathers name would disappear on account of him having no sons. They take their concern to Moses and ask for land probably so that those who live there could be called the sons of Zelophehad a common occurrence in Hebrew Scriptures.God hears the daughters and has Moses institute the rule that if a man dies without having sons, his possessions have to be transferred to his daughters . Another rule, however, confined the daughters marital options to the descendants of Manasseh .The names of the daughters of Zelophehad are: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah .

What is the meaning of the name Hoglah?

In regard to the names of the daughters, scholars largely are in agreement Mahlah means fat/infirmity, Noa means movement, Milcah means queen, Tirzahmeans pleasing, Hoglah means dancing .

To sum it all up:

  • Mahlah means sickness
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    Who Were The Daughters Of Zelophehad

    These women not only caused a law to be changed for generations to come but modeled how to pursue change. They didnt victimize themselves with despair and attempt to manipulate the situation. No, the daughters of Zelophehad were women of courage, faith, and honorable action.

    The daughters of Zelophehad are found not once, but five times in the Bible. Its a curious thing that their story isnt more well-known because these five women were responsible for changing the Old Testament law.

    What Is The Historical Context

    Israel has been wandering in the desert for the last forty years after escaping from Egypt. That generation has mostly died off and the nation of Israel is preparing to enter into the promised land.

    In Numbers 26, God commands Moses and the high priest, Eleazar, to take a census. The census will determine how many men above the age of 20 are fit for war. The census will also determine how much land each tribe will inherit, traditionally passed on from father to son.

    Enter the five daughters of Zelophehad.

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    A Womans Perspective Matters

    The leadership structure in this account is made up of only men. Moses, the priests, and the chiefs from each tribe and clan are all male. They are gathering together to make decisions that pertain to Israel, but they are missing the female point of view. It is doubtful, that on their own, any of them would have considered how to divvy up the land when a man had only daughters.

    It is not necessarily a fault of their own. Men and women approach problems from a different point of view because their experiences are different. However, this account should serve as an example for church leaders made up of only men.

    Even if church doctrine dictates that only men are to serve as elders, at the very least women should be invited to these meetings to provide a female perspective. Decisions that affect an entire congregation will undoubtedly be biased in favor of men if the female point of view is not considered. And it is clear from this account that God is deeply concerned about the needs of women.

    Your thoughts matter! Please comment below!

    Lessons From Five Brave Women In The Book Of Numbers

    LESSONS FROM WOMEN IN THE BIBLE: Daughters of Zelophehad

    Today we are going to examine the lives of 5 brave women the daughters of Zelophehad.

    The name Zelophehad means protection against fear.

    What protects us against fear?

    Theres just one thing.


    Imagine this scene from Numbers chapter 27 with me.

    The five daughters of Zelophehad boldly approached Moses, Eleazar the priest, the chiefs and all the congregation at the Tent of Meeting.

    This was unheard of in this day in age! Women going before the male leadership to question the law of inheritance just did not happen.

    If you look back at Numbers chapter 26, you will see that God called Moses to take a census of the new generation of Israel, who were about to enter the Promised Land. Within this list you will find all the names of the males who were the heads of the tribes, clans and families.

    The women were not numbered.

    So this took great faith for the five daughters to approach Moses before all of the congregation of Israel!

    The five daughters wisely made their plea to Moses.

    Once the leaders and congregation were listening, they made their plea. I am sure they had butterflies in their stomachs and a tinge of fear, but these women were very wise.

    First, they cleared their fatherss name by declaring he was not a rebel.

    Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah.

    Moses took their case before the Lord.

    The Lord declared:

    The daughters of Zelophehad are right.

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    Inheritance When There Are No Male Children

    In the Biblical account, earlier regulations had specified that property was to be inherited by heirs who were male, but the daughters were the only children of their now deceased father, and so they came to the door of the Tent of Meeting and asked Moses, Eleazer, the tribal chieftains, and the rest of the congregation, for advice on what was to be done, as there were no obvious male heirs in the Talmud, opinions vary as to whether this means that the daughters petitioned all of these groups at the same time, with them gathered together, or if it means that the daughters first petitioned the congregation, then the chieftains, then Eleazar, and finally petitioned Moses.

    The biblical text states that Moses asked Hashem to rule on the issue the Zohar argues that Moses had presented the case to Hashem, rather than deciding it himself, because Moses was modest. The biblical account continues by stating that Moses was told by Hashem that the daughters should be considered their father’s heirs, and that the general case holds – if there are no sons, the daughter should inherit – and if there are no children at all, the inheritance should pass to the man’s brothers, and if there are no brothers it should pass to the nearest relative in his clan.

    Bold Women Of The Bible: The Daughters Of Zelophehad

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    If youve never heard of the The Daughters of Zelophehad, you are not alone. These obscure young ladies are mentioned in the Old Testament book of Numbers.

    If there is one book thats harder to read than Deuteronomy , its Numbers.

    The whole book is about, well, numbers. But there are a few valuable bits for us in there too.

    First of all that name. Zelophehad. Pronounced zuh-loh-fe-had, in case such things interest you.

    So, we learn about the Daughters whilst a census is being taken. God had instructed Moses to figure out exactly how many men there were amongst the twelve tribes because they were about to take the promised land and it was time to start planning who was getting what.

    In those days, a census involved men only. But Zelophohad was dead, and all that remained of his ancestral line was his five daughters.

    They would marry, and become part of their husbands line but their fathers line would vanish from the face of the earth.

    The girls did not like this. So they decided to confront the leaders about it.

    That sounds like an intimidating thing to do in our modern times but you have no idea how big of a deal this actually was.

    There was no precedent. They werent challenging the laws of men, but the actual laws of God. They believed that Gods laws were just but this omission left them in a lurch, so by pointing it out, they hoped that He would realize it and fix it.

    Yet they walked right up and explained their predicament.


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    Speculating On The Future

    It is worth noting that this story takes place while the Hebrews are still in the wilderness, on their way to the Promised Land. At this point in time, nobody owns the rights to any land. All they have is faith that their sojourn in the desert will come to an end soon, and that as they conquer the land of Canaan, property will be divided among the people. Sue and Larry Richards explain, Land would be given to each family and was to be held by that family in perpetuity as a gift from God . So what Zelophehads daughters were seeking was not the passing on of what their father had owned during his life, but their participation in Israels future.

    The Five Daughters Of Zelophehad Advocated For Their Rights And Changed Israel’s Laws Of Inheritance

    Pinchas: The Rewards in Honoring God

    Do you know the story of the daughters of Zelophehad?

    They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and they said, Our father died in the wilderness he was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our fathers brothers.

    Numbers 27:24

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    The Name Tirzah In The Bible

    There are two Tirzahs mentioned in the Bible, a woman and a city:The woman named Tirzah is one of five daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher of Manasseh, who together with her sisters Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah and Milcah famously brings about a change in Mosaic hereditary law .Tirzah the city is located near Samaria and is conquered by Joshua . King Solomon praises her beauty and king Jeroboam moves his seat of power to there . Israels kings down to Omri rule from Tirzah . Omri buys a hill from a man named Shemer, and builds the city Samaria on it . When his son Ahab becomes king, he rules from Samaria. The last we hear of Tirzah is that its the scene of a massacre instigated by the cruel king Menahem of Israel . Judging from 15:14, king Menahem was a native of that town.

    What is the meaning of the name Tirzah?

    Tirzah is a Hebrew word meaning she is my delight.

    What Bold Actions Did The Daughters Of Zelophehad Take

    Remember that at this time the people of Israel are nomads. They have been wandering the wilderness for 40 years. Therefore, important meetings were held in front of the tent of meeting. These meetings would be comprised of Moses, the high priest, and the chiefs of each clan. Now, each of the 12 tribes had several clans. That was about 55 clans in total.

    For all intents and purposes, this was the seat of government. And it was during one of these meetings that Malah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah decided to go before these 57 men who hold the power within Israel. The text mentions that the congregation was also present.

    Imagine the courage?!

    It would be intimidating enough to go before the pastor and all the elders of a church, but what these women did was more courageous than that. It is akin to them approaching the US President after the state of the union address in front of the entire congress while it is broadcasting on live TV. It was no small feat.

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    Which Year Should Grapes Not Be Gathered In Bible

    For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines.

    What Did The Daughters Of Zelophehad Ask For

    The Daughters of Zelophehad


    In todays economy, land is not necessary to achieve economic independence. One goes to college or learns a trade and finds a job that will help them pay the bills. However, in agricultural economies, such as was the case with Israel in biblical times, land was the key to financial well-being. Anything that one would produce to barter, trade, or sell was closely tied to the land.

    Land was also tied to lineage. The intention behind inheritance rules was for the land to remain within families and its generations that would follow. Since Zelophehad did not have any sons, his family name, per se, would be lost.

    Therefore, when Israel entered into the promised land and divided up each territory, the daughters of Zelophehad asked to be included in the inheritance.

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