I have just finished reading, Desert to Destiny : the daughters of Zelophehad by Wendy Yapp which was a Christmas present. The daughters of Zelophehad were fatherless and brotherless so they went to Moses when he was working out the inheritance for each of the tribes of Israel and asked for their father’s inheritance (Number 27:1-11). Pretty gutsy thing to do in a male orientated society. Nevertheless without an inheritance they could well have entered the promise land destitute. Later there was a condition added which said they must marry within their own tribe. Since God didn’t want the land to transfer ownership between tribes (Numbers 36). (Wendy Yapp seems to think because of the time gap between Numbers 27 and Joshua 17 when they actually took possession of the land that the girls were probably married, which seems to me to defeat the purpose of them being given an inheritance?)
Anyway it is a very interesting story. Wendy Yapp sends a fair bit of time discussing the meanings of their names which does get a bit long winded but considering the girls are mentioned by name four times in the Old Testament (which is unusually high for a woman), it seems that their names were very important. The name I found most interesting was Tirzah which was the name of his fifth daughter. I mean to say the father has got to be hanging out for a boy to carry on the family name and he gets another girl. (He didn’t know that they would be granted an inheritance.) Yet he calls her Tirzah which means, “delighted with, pleased with, favoured and object of affection” so there’s absolutely no sense her father is disappointed with her and as Yapp points out, we are all “Tirzahs” as far as God is concerned.