So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the LORD commanded Moses. Zelophehad’s daughters—Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milkah and Noah—married their cousins on their father’s side. Numbers 36:10-11

This is an encouraging note to conclude the book of Numbers. This new generation were prepared to do as the Lord commanded, even when it required a sacrifice on their part.

As Israelites, God had commanded them not to marry anyone from the seven Canaanites nations who occupied the land prior to their arrival (Exodus 34:15 and Deuteronomy 7:3-4). This further prohibition was not to marry someone from another Israelite tribe. This wasn’t binding on everyone, but on daughters with an inheritance. It limited their choice to 1/12 of Israel. However, this may not have been as restrictive as it appears. Generally speaking, people didn’t travel very far in that day, so young women may not have been in the habit of meeting young men from other tribes.

Nevertheless, these girls made a decision, that even if the opportunity presented itself, they would not marry outside their tribe, and thus preserved the land for their own tribe.

These days we don’t have these kind of issues, yet the passage teaches us to be wise and thoughtful about who we form an alliance with. Relationships can be difficult between people who value from different things and believe different things. We may feel we aren’t influenced by the belief systems of others, yet if the arrangement becomes a marriage and children are involved, then our decision will have ongoing repercussions.

There are other situations where we would be wise to voluntarily restrict our choices, such as the movies we watch, the books we read, and the internet sites we visit.

May it be said of us, that we honoured the Lord in the choices we made.