Christ and the daughters of Zelophehad

Posted: July 4, 2011 in Christian

There are events and prophecies in the bible that are forthright and straight forward and plain. Then there are some events or things mentioned that appear to have no purpose and are seemingly insignificant in their importance except for historical reference or record-keeping. I believe everything mentioned in the scriptures is put in there by the Holy Spirit for a purpose. I am going to highlight two apparently separate events and demonstrate how that one utterly innocuous event coupled with another almost completely unknown and insignificant event, set the stage for the Messiah.

First, we have a strange request by five daughters of a cursed Israelite wandering in the wilderness that opens the door to Christ legally being able to claim David’s Throne, and secondly how this strange and almost totally insignificant event allows an end-run around a curse by God that has thrown some commentators into a tizzy because of the apparent implications of the curse on the royal line of David.

The daughters of Zelophehad and Jeconiah’s curse

I think the events of Zelophehad’s appeal to Moses and Jeconiah’s curse by the Lord are just a couple of the thousands of strands of prophecy that is woven throughout the bible to form proof of the power and the majesty and of the unmistakable and irrefutable fact the The Lord is the only true God and the Creator of all things.

How do these seemingly unrelated events that happened many centuries apart relate?

Zelophehad, of the Tribe of Mannasseh, was alive during the first attempt by the Lord to get his people to conquer the Land of Canaan. The Lord had Joshua send twelve spies to inspect and report on the land of Canaan. Most of us know that only two of the twelve spies came back without fear of the inhabitants and trust in our Lord and wanted to attack immediately while the other ten spies spread fear and scary stories of the giant inhabitants of Canaan. Because ten of the twelve spies sent to inspect the land came back afraid of the inhabitants and because of the evil influence by Korah that roused up the people against God’s plan of invasion, The Lord cursed the whole congregation, save for Joshua and Caleb (the two faithful spies) and the small children, according to Numbers chapter 14. Therefore Zelophehad died some time before they were to win the land of Canaan for the Lord and enter into it to claim it as their own.

Each one of the male members of the different tribes of Israel could inherit land but their daughters could not inherit according to the law. Therefore, the daughters of Zelophehad found themselves in a bad situation; their father has five daughters and no son, therefore their family name would pass without inheritance or land grant and die with him. They decided to petition Moses, Eleazar and the council to appeal the law so his name would continue in the tribe and his heirs could claim their tribal inheritance. Moses took it to The Lord and The Lord told Moses to grant the tribal exception (Numbers 27: 1-8). Years later, after the Israelites conquered Canaan and the tribes were set to divide the land, the daughters of Zelophehad went before Joshua and reminded him of the exception granted by The Lord through Moses and they received their inheritance which stated as long as they marry within the their tribe, their husband would be adopted into their family as a legal son, and their tribal line and inheritance would be preserved (Joshua 17:3). This seemingly insignificant event however, will have major ramifications several hundreds of years in the future as it helps to fulfill a very significant prophecy first mentioned in Genesis 3: 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”(NKJV).

The curse of Joconiah (also called Jehoiachim and Coniah) by the Lord came after a string of evil kings of Judah as listed in II Kings chapters 22, 23 & 24. The Lord had all he could take of these evildoers and pronounced a curse on Jeconiah and his descendants in Jeremiah 22: 24-30 As I live,” says the LORD, “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off; “and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear—the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans. “So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die. “But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return. “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol— A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.”(NKJV). This in itself is bad enough, but when you consider the implications of the Lord’s Covenant with David that the Throne of David would be established forever as was written in II Samuel 7:16 “And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”‘(NKJV), it seems to throw a wrench into the works. While researching this, I found several discussions pointing to the curse of Jeconiah as proof the Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah because of the curse, for after the Babylonian captivity, no descendant of David sat upon a Throne of Israel. I also saw many sites with discussions trying to prove that the curse was later lifted and all was forgiven. All of these discussions and all of these websites totally miss the point of the virgin birth that was prophesied in Genesis 3 and the ancestry of Mary (even though it says Joseph)1 laid out in Luke 3 beginning in verse 23.

What ties these two otherwise unrelated events together is the lineage of Mary provided by the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of Matthew and in the Gospel of Luke. Luke 3:23 states: , And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was [the son] of Heli,(KJV). Matthew’s account of the lineage of Jesus say this in chapter 1:16: And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (KJV). Matthew covers the descendancy through the legal line, (Joseph’s father Jacob) even though that line was cursed by God after Joconiah that no direct descendant would sit upon the Throne, Luke covers the descendancy through the untarnished, royal line from the Messiah’s mother, (Joseph’s adopted father through his marriage to Mary, Heli) back through David, which means God’s promise to David is secure through his mother’s ancestry and legal through his earthly father’s line.

This all sets the stage for the prophecy of Christ to rule on David’s Throne in the end-times. Something I have read all my life and never understood were the direct, simple statements that began and ended Christ’s earthly existence. Matthew 2:1-2 says: Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem (I have a cool theory about these magi HERE), Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.(KJV) While Matthew 27:37 states: And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.(KJV). I have read these verses all my life and never understood the simple plain logic that Jesus has yet to fulfill this destiny…to Rule as KING OF THE JEWS.

God Bless, Jim

2-15-11 for Koinonia Institute

1 Mary’s father was Heli, but for the most part, Jewish ancestries only lists male descendants. Joseph was the adopted son of Heli according to Jewish law established with the agreement with the daughters of Zelophehad.

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