3 Now Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons but only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. 4 They went to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders and said, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our relatives.” So Joshua gave them an inheritance along with the brothers of their father, according to the Lord’s command. 5 Manasseh’s share consisted of ten tracts of land besides Gilead and Bashan east of the Jordan, 6 because the daughters of the tribe of Manasseh received an inheritance among the sons. -Joshua 17:3-6
To say women have not been treated with equal dignity throughout history is a gross understatement. Even in the Old Testament, women appear to often receive secondary treatment. I will not attempt to reconcile every concern in this post, but Joshua 17 does highlight a strong positive treatment of women that is often overlooked.
The daughters of Zelophehad were at risk of losing their family’s inheritance. According to the law, since their father had no sons, the land could be lost to others. They had brought up this case long ago and Moses had ruled in their favor, declaring God commanded their case to set a precedent for women left with land where no son was available to inherit it. Joshua honorably kept this ruling, along with the other leaders.
This scenario speaks deeply regarding God’s desire that men treat women with dignity and respect. While most give lip service to this idea, many men neglect it in practice. To the men out there who read this, here’s a brief reminder that God expects you to treat women with respect. No exceptions. If you do and I do and others join us, women will be treated the way God desires and lives will be changed. Let’s join in the cause to treat every woman with dignity, today and from this day forward.
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Dillon Burroughs is the author and coauthor of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of all 31,173 verses of the Bible at HolyWritProject.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook.com/readdB or readdB.com.