"The heads of the fathers' houses of the clan of the people of Gilead the son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of the people of Joseph, came near and spoke before Moses and before the chiefs, the heads of the fathers' houses of the people of Israel. 2 They said, “The Lord commanded my lord to give the land for inheritance by lot to the people of Israel, and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother to his daughters. 3 But if they are married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the people of Israel, then their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our fathers and added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry. So it will be taken away from the lot of our inheritance. 4 And when the jubilee of the people of Israel comes, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry, and their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.”
5 And Moses commanded the people of Israel according to the word of the Lord, saying, “The tribe of the people of Joseph is right. 6 This is what the Lord commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: ‘Let them marry whom they think best, only they shall marry within the clan of the tribe of their father. 7 The inheritance of the people of Israel shall not be transferred from one tribe to another, for every one of the people of Israel shall hold on to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. 8 And every daughter who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the people of Israel shall be wife to one of the clan of the tribe of her father, so that every one of the people of Israel may possess the inheritance of his fathers. 9 So no inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another, for each of the tribes of the people of Israel shall hold on to its own inheritance.’”
10 The daughters of Zelophehad did as the Lord commanded Moses, 11 for Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married to sons of their father's brothers. 12 They were married into the clans of the people of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of their father's clan.
13 These are the commandments and the rules that the Lord commanded through Moses to the people of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho."
What are the spiritual lessons for us, in all this? The question of inheritance as such is not a living issue with us today in any sense that was important for the Israelites, but the story does point some significant lessons, for all that. For one thing, here is what we might call marriage by the will and guidance of God. Some marriages would be suitable and right, and others would be unsuitable and wrong. The lesson therefore for us as Christians is what relationships are unwise and unsuitable and harmful for the furtherance of the purposes of God in our lives and in His kingdom. This is a subject on which not a little is said in the Scriptures, and in the New Testament in particular, and it is one that we do well to consider with particular care. One of the lessons we are to learn in this connection is that the prime consideration for the believer, should be the kingdom of God and His purposes in the gospel, just as in this case the primary concern was the preservation of the divine pattern for the division of the land in Canaan. Nothing was to be allowed to interfere with that, and the marriage of Zelophehad's daughters was to fit in and harmonise with it accordingly.