Bamidbar Thirty-Six: Finishing Bamidbar

In this final chapter, we have a flashback to the story of Zelophehad’s daughters. The head of their clan comes to Moses as the land is being divided, and reminds him of his promise to them. “They said, ‘The Lord commanded my master to give the Land as an inheritance through lot to the children of Israel, and our master was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother to his daughters. Now, if they marry a member of another tribe of the children of Israel, their inheritance will be diminished from the inheritance of our father, and it will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry, and thus, it will be diminished from the lot of our inheritance (Numbers 36:2-3).” With this, a precedent is set. Any daughter who inherits from her father because he dies without sons should marry within their own tribe so that the ancestral lands remain within the tribe. The daughters of Zelophehad agree, and “Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah married their cousins (Numbers 36:11).”

The chapter, and the book, ends. “These are the commandments and the ordinances that the Lord commanded the children of Israel through Moses in the plains of Moab, by the Jordan at Jericho (Numbers 36:13).” With that, we are done with Bamidbar. The fourth book is complete, and I’m so eager to continue with this project. This was one of the books that I didn’t have much experience with coming in, and was worried that it would get dry or repetitive, but I really enjoyed learning something new in each chapter. Project 929 has made me look at each chapter, each verse, of Tanakh, through nothing more than the lens of my own thoughts, without commentators to shape my views. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next, as I begin the final chapter of the Torah.

Four books and 153 chapters down, 776 to go!


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