Christ and the Daughters of Zelophehad

Posted: February 15, 2020 in Christian
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I am fairly certain everyone that has done more than a cursory reading of the bible knows that there are prophecies all through this holy tome. Some events and prophecies in the bible are straight forward and generally self-explanatory…then there are some events or prophecies or things mentioned in the scriptures that appear to have no purpose and are seemingly insignificant in their importance except for historical reference or record-keeping. However, I personally believe everything mentioned in the scriptures is put in there by the Holy Spirit for a purpose, and Peter confirmed that in his second letter…2 Peter 1:20-21: knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.(NKJV). I am going to highlight two apparently separate events that occurred centuries apart and demonstrate how one utterly innocuous request and the subsequent ruling, coupled with another almost completely unknown and insignificant event, helped set the stage for the coming Messiah.

The first event we read of has a strange request by five daughters of a cursed Israelite named Zelophehad wandering in the Median wilderness. This odd request is a passage that is easy to pass over without a second glance, but upon inspection, we find that it subtly opened the door to Jesus Christ legally being able to claim ties to David’s Throne, Subsequently we find that the ruling by Moses accepting their request to allow them to inherit their father’s land, opens the door to another almost totally insignificant event that allowed a loop-hole around a curse by God upon King Jehoiachin that has caused some commentators to want to pull their hair out because of the apparent implications of this curse on the royal line of David in regards to the coming Messiah.

The daughters of Zelophehad and Jehoiachin’s curse

I imagine that the events of Zelophehad’s appeal to Moses and Jehoiachin’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?

Let’s begin with a summary of the wilderness wanderings. At the end of about two weeks travel from the Red Sea, the Israelites were camped in the Median wilderness at the border of Canaan. The Lord had Moses send twelve spies to sneak in to inspect and report on the land. Most of us know that only two of the twelve spies came back without fear of the inhabitants and demonstrated their trust in our Lord by giving a good report and suggested they attack immediately while the other ten spies spread fear and indecision with scary stories of the giant inhabitants of Canaan. We know the rest of the story about how the people swiftly ignored all the miraculous stuff the Lord had just demonstrated a few weeks back and started murmuring against Moses. This, coupled with the evil influence by Korah that roused up the people against God’s plan of invasion, caused the Lord to curse the adults of the congregation, resulting in a relatively short trek through this wilderness to suddenly turn into a 38 year wandering with the intention of making sure all the grumbling adults would die, save for Joshua and Caleb (the two faithful spies). At the end of the thirty eight year wilderness wandering, only the these two adults, as well as the those that were children almost four decades earlier were allowed to enter Canaan, according to the record in Numbers chapter 14. However, if we go back to the early portion of the wanderings, we read in Numbers 26 about an obscure man by the name of  Zelophehad, of the tribe of Manasseh, that had five daughters. Other than the fact he was part of the cursed adult congregation that died many years before they were to win the land of Canaan for the Lord and enter into it to claim it as their own, why would the scriptures highlight this seemingly innocuous man?

To begin with, according to God’s decree in Numbers 26, only each one of the male members (for the census only counted the males of each tribe) 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 to appeal the law so his namesake would continue within 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 second somewhat related event I want to bring to mind is the curse of Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah and Coniah) by the Lord. Jehoiachin seemed to follow the footsteps of a string of evil kings of Judah, as listed in II Kings chapters 22, 23 & 24 (most of the research I did referred to this king as Jehoiachin, but in this particular translation of the passage below, the Lord uses the name of Coniah). The Lord had all he could take of these evildoers and pronounced a curse on Jehoiachin 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 Jehoiachin 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 descendants through the legal line, (Joseph’s father Jacob) even though that line was cursed by God after Jehoiachin 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 an interesting theory about these magi, 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 Bussell

2-15-11 (02-15-20)

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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