Joshua 17 Commentary
It isn’t a small matter to have your name printed in the holy script. But to have your name show up three times as the main character should be something special. That is the story of Zelophehad’s daughters, Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. There should be something important about their story.
In the Book of Numbers, they had pressed Moses for an inheritance seeing that their father didn’t have any sons. Under the traditions of the community, only sons could inherit land. Their strange request was brought before the LORD. The LORD ruled against cultural norms and granted the 5 five daughters their request. Their victory changed history.
Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah were a formidable team. Their names survive to this day. Later on, Tirzah would be the capital city of the Northern kingdom of Israel before Samaria became the capital. Was it meant to honor the legacy of the Tirzah we have read about in this chapter?
Chapter 17 has value for individuals and groups who find themselves in disadvantaged positions. Daughters can approach the throne of grace and find justice. The LORD of the universe stands ready to listen and change the rules to accommodate justice seekers. But there is more.
Inheriting the land (as in the case of Zelophehad’s daughters) involves petitioning the LORD to act on His own word. “The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our relatives,” they quoted. And so it was. It is easier to pray this way. Is this pointing us to the importance of prayer in battle? Yes, absolutely. Countless blessings flow by simply asking. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
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