Daughters of Zelophehad

The Bible, the greatest book of all time, has a way of touching the heart and mind of the reader and encouraging a response. I am often uplifted and sprung into action each time l read it.

One of the most compelling Scriptures l have come across is the story of the daughters of Zelophehad. Each time l am sinking, l am often reminded of what these five sisters did.

Their names are first mentioned in Numbers 26:33 and we are told that their father had no son. The next chapter further elaborates how they refused to be invisible. They refused to have their rightful possessions passed over to another who did not deserve them.

These sisters could have simply folded their hands and let society and its laws determine the fate of their father’s name. If it were not for them, his name would have been blotted out into oblivion and so status quo had to be questioned! Numbers 27:4a says, “Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son?” (NRSV).

Let’s face it: gender inequality has always manifested itself since time immemorial and if not questioned it will definitely swallow us. This is why the daughters of Zelophehad inspire me. By questioning, they helped lay down new laws and statutes from the heavenly throne itself. God totally agreed with the sisters too! Now that’s something! Their boldness and courage righted the wrongs and injustices that others before them had suffered.

Let’s take a leaf from these remarkable women and question notions and practices that seek to suppress and oppress our species. If five women could upset this society’s oppressive custom, imagine what a hundred, a thousand or even a million women can do. This should be named the Zelophehadic movement, a questioning and upsetting of all things oppressive.

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