Numbers 36 – Making Decisions by God’s Revealed Will

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

In the sovereignty of God, Zelophehad, of the tribe of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters. As land would pass from father to son, this posed a problem which was solved in chapter 27 (his daughters would receive the inheritance). There were still some remaining unknowns amid God’s declared will (vv. 2, 4). If Zelophehad’s daughters married men from other tribes, then by the inheritance laws the land they inherited would go to the other tribe to which they were joined by marriage.

Thus, leaders from Manasseh brought this issue to Moses and Israel’s leaders for direction. Moses agreed with their assessment of the situation and relayed God’s will for these women: They must marry men from their own tribe so the inherited land remained within their tribe. These women could “marry whom they thought best,” but within the boundaries of their own tribe. This freedom to choose a husband had to be controlled by God’s revealed will.

Zelophehad’s daughters complied, choosing husbands from within their tribe, and the land they inherited from their father remained within their family.

There seems to have been some growth among Israel from the first generation–instead of murmuring and rebelling against the Lord and his appointed leaders, they brought the issues forward and submitted to their direction (27:1-2; 32:12; 36:1).


  1. God’s wisdom must be sought to know how to apply his commands to life. There can and will be questions about how to apply God’s commands, even seeming conflict. Such are never solved by man’s wisdom, only and always by the Lord’s.
  2. God provides spiritual leadership to help learn and know how to live according to God’s will. When there are difficulties, bring them to God ordained leadership, rather than act as you think best. Furthermore, God ordained leadership must counsel and act according to God’s word.
  3. Personal choices must be governed by God’s revealed will. Zelophehad’s daughters had the ability/freedom to marry husbands they believed were best for them, as long as such were from the tribe of Manasseh. God’s revealed will must direct and control the decisions we make, so that God’s desired ends are accomplished.
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