Epistles of Thomas

March 16, 2009

Numbers 34-36

Filed under: Old Testament — Thomas @ 22:48
Tags: , ,

In chapter 34 the boundaries of the land are laid out and the land is split up into sections for the 9 ½ tribes that remain, with Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe Manasseh already settled on the other side of the Jordan. Each tribe was assigned a leader in charge of land distribution. In the next chapter, the Levites are assigned towns to live in and towns of refuge are selected. These refuges are for those who have killed someone without malice. After the assembly determines they are not guilty of murder they can live in a town of refuge without fear of retribution and may return home when the high priest dies. It is made clear that no payment can be made to escape the punishment for murder and even those who have accidentally killed someone cannot leave their city of refuge before the high priest dies. God takes the killing of another human very seriously.

This section ends by addressing a concern regarding the promise made earlier to Zelophehad’s daughters. They are to be allowed to inherit their father’s share of the land and this policy was made applicable to all similar cases in the future. The concern is that once they marry, the land will belong to their husband and children and thereby it may belong to another tribe. Manasseh, their tribe, would therefore lose part of their share of the land. A policy was instituted whereby any time daughters inherited land they had to marry within their own tribe. This preserved their tribe’s land and in that culture they would not have been concerned about marrying “for love.”

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