In the 26th chapter of the book of Numbers, The Lord tells Moses to take a census of everyone who is at least 20 years old and able to serve in the army.
After the plague, the LORD said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, 2 “Take a census of the entire Israelite community by their ancestral houses of those 20 years old or more who can serve in Israel’s army.”
After the census, The Lord says that the land is to be divided fairly.
52 The LORD spoke to Moses, 53 “The land is to be divided among them as an inheritance based on the number of names. 54 Increase the inheritance for a large tribe and decrease it for a small one. Each is to be given its inheritance according to those who were registered in it.55 The land must be divided by lot; they will receive an inheritance according to the names of their ancestral tribes. 56 Each inheritance will be divided by lot among the larger and smaller tribes.”
Then in Numbers 27:1-4 we have this situation –
The daughters of Zelophehad approached; Zelophehad was the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh from the clans of Manasseh, the son of Joseph. These were the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 2 They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and the entire community at the entrance to the tent of meeting and said, 3 “Our father died in the wilderness, but he was not among Korah’s followers, who gathered together against the LORD. Instead, he died because of his own sin, and he had no sons. 4 Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan? Since he had no son, give us property among our father’s brothers.”
Women are standing up and asking for their inheritance. Moses doesn’t know what to do, so he wisely asks The Lord.
5 Moses brought their case before the LORD, 6 and the LORD answered him, 7 “What Zelophehad’s daughters say is correct. You are to give them hereditary property among their father’s brothers and transfer their father’s inheritance to them.
I always thought that these verses were a great argument for standing up for your rights. The Lord agreed with the women and included them in the inheritance. This could be used as a justification for women having greater roles in the church – (if you ignore that Jesus said that we should all be equal and have no one above us other than God – which means that all ordained people are going against Jesus’ express commandments).
But then in reading it again, I noticed that The Lord at no point said to count only the men. That was assumed. By men.
How much else has been assumed, and how much else of women’s rights have been taken away because someone ignored what was said by God?
Just like the daughters of Zelophehad, we have to stand up for our rights both in and out of church, or we will be left out of what is rightly ours.
(All Bible translations are HCSB)