Scripture reading for February 18: Numbers 26-30
I sometimes teased my daughters that I strongly considered the biblical name “Hoglah” for naming them! My wife and I raised lots of hogs in our early years so this would fit our past life! Somehow, they never have thought that was funny! But in today’s reading, Hoglah is a daughter to be proud of! She is a pioneer in the “women’s rights” movement, way ahead of her time!
In Numbers 27 we have a record of five daughters of a man by the name of Zelophehad. This man had died during the march through the desert. His daughters went before the Tent of Meeting and petitioned Moses for an unusual request. They wanted to be allowed to inherit the property of their father. One of their talking points was that their Dad had not been a part of Korah’s rebellion. He had simply died as a result of his own sins. (Numbers 27:2-3) Up to that time, no ruling had been made and it was tradition that the sons got the inheritance. These godly daughters felt that was unfair! They wanted equal rights to an inheritance in the promised land! (Numbers 27:4-5) God agreed!
This is a breakthrough for women’s rights and spiritual equality that God has established! Roles for men and women are defined by God and we must accept those roles. But some things are open for negotiation. These women teach us some important lessons. We must all appeal to the Lord and to His established leadership when we need answers. We should abide by the decision of leadership. Some problems in the community of believers must be worked out through prayer and interaction. God will help us.
Their story continues at the end of Numbers, where another question arises concerning their inheritance of property. What if they marry outside of their family? Will that land transfer out of the tribe? God’s answer was that they must marry within the clan to keep the property! These godly women responded in obedience and faith and married their cousins. They kept their property and inheritance! Oh, for daughters like Hoglah! (Numbers 36:1-12)