Dave Burnette's Commentary

Numbers Chapter 36

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: A Record of A New Generation (c 27-36)
Theme: A Second Approach to the Promised Land (c 22-36)
Message: The Inheritance of Each Tribe (v 1-13)

Numbers 36 Commentary

(36:1-9) The Tribes were to Stay Contained - Zelophehad had five daughters but no sons. After he died, his daughters made an appeal to Moses. Because the inheritance normally passed only through the male line, the family property of Zelophehad would no longer have had official ownership, and his daughters would have been without property to support them. God told Moses that if a man died without sons, then the inheritance would go to his daughters (27:1-8). But the question of marriage arose. If the daughters were to marry outside their tribe, the land would belong to another tribe at the Year of Jubilee. So Moses commanded that in such cases the women should marry men in their own clan and tribe so that each tribe would retain its original inheritance. Later, when the tribes received their land under Joshua, the daughters of Zelophehad received their inheritance as God had instructed (Joshua 17-3-6). We don't have to look far to find those who want to be considered "special cases" and "exceptions to the rule," but wise leaders will sort out those who have legitimate concerns and make sure that justice is done.

(36:13) Learning from Past Mistakes -  The book of Numbers covers 39 years and closes with the Israelites poised near the banks of the Jordan River with the Promised Land in sight. The wanderings in the wilderness have come to an end, and the people are preparing for their next big move- the conquest of the land. The apostle Paul says that the events described in Numbers are examples that warn us and help us avoid the Israelites' mistakes (†Corinthians 19:1-12). From their experiences we learn that unbelief is disastrous. We also learn not to long for the sinful pleasures of the past, to avoid complaining, and to stay away from all forms of sexual sin. We must not weaken our biblical beliefs by compromising them with our culture's values. If we choose to let God lead our lives, we should not ignore his message in the book of Numbers.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

The Right Path

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue the book of Numbers with Chapter 36 and in today's text we see the end of the book of Numbers. This book covers 39 years and closes with the Israelite's poised near the banks of the Jordan River with the Promise land of Canaan in sight. This book covers 2 Numberings of the People of Israel thus the name Numbers. The book is here for us to learn from the mistakes that were made by this nation and the consequences of disobedience to the Lord as well as the blessings of obedience. In making application we see the need to learn from the mistakes of others and our own mistakes as well. I see this in even trivial items in my life. In my life I have tried to assemble many of my kids toys to find that I have missed a step that makes me start over. You think after my mistakes that I would learn and read the directions remembering the errors of the past. I find myself just as stubborn as the Israelite's. This study has reminded me of this principal of reflecting on the mistakes of others in the Bible to map out a better path. How about you? Do you learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others? Let us learn from this book of the Bible to remember the path of others for us to choose the right path.  


Numbers 36

Numbers 36

 1And 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:

 2And 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.

 3And 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.

 4And 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.

 5And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying, The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well.

 6This 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.

 7So 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.

 8And 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.

 9Neither 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.

 10Even as the LORD commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad:

 11For Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married unto their fathers brothers' sons:

 12And 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.

 13These 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.